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mammals developed blubber to provide insulation against the cold and
to provide an energy reserve for periods when food cannot be found
in abundance. To prove how blubber works in protecting against the
cold try this experiment.
bucket or other container
or other time recorder
shortening (such as Crisco)
Divide students into teams of three. Each student is assigned a
task: a) researcher b) technician c) recorder
The technician fills the bucket with enough water to immerse an
Add ice, enough to make the water icy cold. Ice can be added to
Have the researcher immerse his/her left index finger in the icy
water and have the recorder time how long it takes before the
researcher pulls the finger away because of the cold.
Have the technician wrap the researcher's right index finger with
a thick coating of vegetable shortening. Have the researcher immerse
his/her right index finger in the icy water and have the recorder
time how long it takes before the researcher pulls the finger
away because of the cold.
Which finger gets cold first?
How does a whale use blubber to protect itself.
How do other animals protect themselves from the cold.
Have the students rotate roles.
Instead of using just a finger, have the researcher place on a
surgical glove first, then add a layer of shortening, and put
a dishwashing glove over the shortening. Then immerse the whole
hand rather than just a finger.