A 60 minute lesson in which students will investigate how blubber works as an insulator.
Prior to conducting the lesson, review the procedure and equipment required for the experiment.
- Large buckets
- Ice cubes
- Latex or rubber gloves
- Vegetable fat (such as copha)
This lesson contains a link to an external video. Please watch the video prior to presenting this lesson to ensure that the content is appropriate for your students.
- Watch the How Do Whales, Penguins and Polar Bears Keep Warm? video on YouTube. After watching, ask the students:
- What is blubber and why is it helpful to animals who live in freezing temperatures?
- What are some other animals that have blubber to keep them warm?
- What other adaptations have animals developed to help them survive in the coldest environments on Earth?
- Explain to the students that they will be working in small groups to investigate whether or not blubber is an effective insulator (that is, can trap heat).
- Provide the students with a copy of the Animal Adaptations – Blubber Me Experiment. Read through the experiment step-by-step and answer any questions the students may have about the task.
- Support the students to complete the introduction, hypothesis, materials, variables and method sections of the experiment.
- Assist the students in collecting and preparing the equipment required for the experiment.
- Allow the students to conduct the experiment in small groups. Monitor and support the students as required.
- Support the students to complete the results, discussion and conclusion sections of the experiment.
- Encourage the students to share their results from the experiment. Ask the students:
- What did you discover?
- What can you learn from your results?
- How might this information be useful for scientists?
- Encourage more capable students to present their results as a graph.
- Allow less confident students to work on the experiment at their own pace, providing additional time where necessary.
Suggested Assessment Strategies
- used strategic whole class or individual questioning
- observed student participation during learning activities
- recorded student progress on a checklist
- annotated student work samples
- collected and reviewed student work samples
- facilitated whole class or peer feedback sessions
- encouraged student self-reflection
- administered formal assessment tasks.
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