Antarctica: 90 Degrees South Western Reserve Public Media

Lesson Plans

Procedures for Using the Science Lesson Plans


Arctic vs. Antarctic

Food Webs



Cupcake Core Sampling

Wind Chill

Ozone Hole

Plate Tectonics




Students will perform an experiment to determine the best insulation material.


Standard Addressed

Physical Science
Grade 5

3-5 Benchmark

D. Summarize the way changes in temperature can be produced and thermal energy transferred.

Nature of Energy / Y2003.CSC.S03.G03-05.BD.L05.I01

01. Define temperature as the measure of thermal energy and describe the way it is measured.




  • Pieces of a variety of fabrics large enough to cover your jar

  • “Fat” from a local butcher or oil or Crisco in place of the fat

  • Jars to hold the water

  • Heated water

  • Thermometers

  • Rubber bands



  1. Brainstorm with the students about ways they could keep warm in the winter. Write contributions on the board.

  2. Divide the students into groups.

  3. Explain that some ways to keep warm might be better than others and explain that they will try to determine which things would be best to help them keep warm.

  4. Heat a pan of water and take the temperature of the water after it is poured into small jars (like baby food jars).

  5. Have the students make a hypothesis about which material they think will keep the water the warmest.

  6. Quickly, have each group wrap one of the jars in available material. Have cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, fur, fat and other materials available. Put rubber bands around the jar to keep the material on the jar.

  7. After about 15 minutes, unwrap the jars and take the temperature of the water.

  8. Have students record the material they used and the temperature after 15 minutes.

  9. You could then invite the students to see if they can come up with the best way to insulate using more than one material. Half of the class could try two materials to see if that makes a difference. The other half of the class should try three materials. They might also try items that are not material, like feathers, down or foam.

  10. Have students write a summary of their experiment and the results they achieved.

  11. After discussion of results, they will find that layering the material keeps the warmth better than a single layer.

  12. Finally, a discussion should be held about the best way to stay warm in very cold temperatures.



Points Criteria

0, 5, 10 Contains heading, title, problem and hypothesis.
0, 5, 10 A summary of procedure.
0, 10, 30, 50 Clear and concise conclusions. Conclusion addresses problem and states knowledge gained. Answers to all questions.
0, 5, 10 Overall- neatness, grammar, adheres to format, etc.


Students can go to the NASA Web site or other Antarctica sites to determine what they should wear if they were going to the Antarctic. Have them make a list of what clothes they would wear if they were taking a trip to Antarctica and why they selected them.

What We Wear

Dressing in the Height of Fashion: Just What Should the Well-Dressed Arctic Explorer Wear?

Antarctic Clothing



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