Have you ever been to an outdoor sports stadium? Most stadiums have either wooden or metal benches. Which type of bench do you think would keep you warmer?
Wood is a good insulator, which means heat doesn’t flow through it easily. When you sit on wood, most of your body heat stays in your body. Metal is a good conductor, which means heat travels through it easily and fast. When you sit on metal, your body heat travels into the bench and away from you. This project from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Science and Everyday Experiencese_SCrt (www.deltasee.org) teaches kids how to make an insulator.
• Two paper or plastic cups
• Ice cubes
• Construction paper
• Notebook paper
• Plastic wrap
• Scraps of cloth
• Glue or tape
1. Try to keep an ice cube from melting by insulating a cup. Test materials such as paper, cloth, plastic wrap and cardboard for their ability to insulate the cup.
2. Try any combination of materials as an insulator. Use tape or glue to hold the materials in place on the cup.
3. Tear a small piece of plastic wrap to cover the top of the cup.
4. Now, take two ice cubes that are the same size. Put one in the insulated cup and cover it. Take the other ice cube and place it in the other cup and leave uncovered. Wait five minutes and observe what happens.
5. Compare the ice cube in your insulated up with the ice cube in the uninsulated cup. Which one is taking longer to melt?
6. Can you think of other insulating materials to use? Try other materials and compare the rate at which the ice cubes melt. Which material was the best insulator?