Sunday, January 16, 2011


One of my all time favorite--super easy--Winter science experiments is "Blubber."  It is a tradition in my classroom every year when we talk about Winter animal coverings....particularly those animals in an arctic habitat like the whale, walrus and seal....who need that thick layer of oily skin to protect them from frozen temperatures.

All it takes is a can of Crisco (or another brand of vegetable shortening),
an eye dropper and a cup of water.

Each child applies some of the shortening to their forearm.
Once the Crisco is applied, place a few drops of water on top.

The water beads up nicely on top of the Crisco shortening. 
This represents the insolubility of oil and water. 

I love this shot of my Kinders observing their arms up close. 
They remind me of little seal pups all in a row!

One of my Kinders wondered during the discussion if our own Florida manatee has blubber.  They actually don't.  But I was amazed at her critical thinking on the subject as it relates to our beloved sea cow (who looks a little like a walrus if you think about it).

A great expansion activity on "Blubber" is this experiment I found on the Gulf of Maine Aquarium's site. "Blubber Gloves" is super easy and way cooool, too!


Dan Gurney said...

Very cool! You can also put a thick layer of fat on a kid's hand and apply ice so they can see how it helps to insulate seals and whales (and other pelagic animals) from the cold, cold sea water.

Thanks for the tip.

Mrs. Pearce said...

Love the variation....I may need to get some more Crisco :-))