When we were reading about penguins and creating a KWL chart, one question we “wondered” is:
Do penguins get cold?
Upon further reading and investigation we discovered, no! Penguins stay warm–even in the coldest place in the world–because they have blubber. But what does that mean? How does blubber keep penguins (and other arctic animals) warm?
To illustrate, enter the “blubber mitten” experiment!
How to Make a Blubber Mitten
- Vegetable shortening
- Two sandwich- or quart-size bags
- Duct tape
- Container of ice water (colder, the better!)
First, fill a zip-top bag with a big scoop of shortening.
Then place another bag inside the shortening. (This is where your hand will go to keep it clean.)
Fold together the top of the bags and tape to seal (so the shortening doesn’t ooze out.)
Squish the shortening around to create an even(ish) layer of “blubber” around the bag.
The Blubber Mitten Experiment
Fill a bowl with some cold water, and add lots of ice–so it’s really cold. Let the kids test the temperature of the water with their bare hands.
Big brother thought he’d be tough and try it out. “It can’t be as cold as they claim!”
30 seconds later he was eating his words! Hahaha
But the best was when the girls all ran to get daddy and “made” him test the ice water as well!
Next, have them dry their hands and place them inside the “blubber mitten.” Then place the gloved hand back in the ice water.
The shortening (fat) acts as an insulator and helps keep their hands from freezing in the ice water. Many other cold-climate animals (like polar bears), whales, and walruses also have blubber to keep them warm, so this fun “hands on” blubber glove experiment can be done during a variety of animal studies!
To sum up our penguin learning, a Penguin Printable Craft Project seemed in order. This template can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers or in the Craft Template ARCHIVE along with many more free craftivity templates available to subscribers. Simply add your email to the list and check your e-mail to receive the link to download the penguin printable craft template.
Now, raise your hand if you’re like me and think you could live without a bit of your extra blubber ;).