Science Experiment: Blubber Keeps Whales Warm

Before I had my boys, I taught science to groups of homeschoolers. We met one day a week for science (9:00-2:00), and it was so much fun! One year, we studied biomes, and this was an experiment we did when we learned about Arctic animals. I have no idea what book I got it from, or I would mention the source! We did the experiment this week to go along with the whale chapter in our Apologia science book. We learned that whales have a thick layer of blubber (fat) that keeps them warm in the icy waters of the Arctic.

The basic idea is to make a “blubber glove” out of two ziploc baggies and some shortening (we used Crisco). I scooped a generous amount of Crisco into a baggie, then used my hand to insert another baggie into the middle of the blob like this:

We set up a large bowl of ice water in the middle of the table, and the boys first stuck their hands into the icy water to see what it felt like…

Then, they put their hand into the blubber glove, and then back into the ice water. The results were pretty amazing – we couldn’t feel any cold at all through the glove! Now we know how whales, seals, and other Arctic creatures stay warm!

This would be a great activity for a fall or winter day! (Come on, fall!) All you need is a library book about Arctic animals, and you have a complete science lesson!

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  1. Angie Niles

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