Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We have been studying Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day for science this year. We did a chapter about seals and sea cows in which we learned why seals, walruses, whales and others have layers of blubber under their skin. It's insulation. Many of them live in polar regions. They can swim about comfortably in water that is below freezing temperatures. So, we did an experiment at the end of the chapter to give the kids a better idea of how well blubber works. What you see below is each child with two latex gloves on each hand, the right one with gloves only and the left one with a 1 inch thick layer of vaseline in between the gloves (simulated blubber). We filled a bowl full of water and lots of ice. Good and cold. Then they each stuck in their hand that only had gloves. We watched the clock to see how long they could keep it in before it became too uncomfortable. The one who held it there the longest only lasted around 60 seconds.
Next, we tried the other hand. We discovered that they could keep their hand that had the layer of vaseline on it in the water indefinitely. It was such good insulation we finally had to just decide we were ready to clean up this experiment and be done. I think we waited about 7 minutes before quitting.
Doesn't that look like fun?
I think they were a little surprised that I had been willing to get so messy with that oozy vaseline. When I reached my hand in the container, removing huge globs and applying it all over their hands, their eyes got pretty wide. They were thrilled to get to do something "hands on." Also, in the end, I think it actually did make an impression on them about how WELL blubber works. It's amazing.
Science for the glory of God. He thinks of everything!


Laffing Dawg said...

Great lesson Julie. I would think that school would become more and more fun as the children get older. Hey it must have been fun for them to learn that adults like to play in the ooze too.

Good job.

Love, Kathy

Lora said...

Very cool :)