What would it feel like to be a polar bear? Well now kids can find out! I love the idea of kids being able to feel the protection that a bear has when it builds up its layers before hibernating. I really try hard with my classes to be able to give all students a chance to feel and try it out vs. one or two volunteers demonstrating it for the class. Science experiments for kids are always a hit so as students studied winter and hibernating, I did this activity with them.
I modelled how I made one of the blubber bags/gloves in front of students and let them feel the lard before I put it into the baggie. I filled one baggie with about half a block of lard and then pushed another baggie into the full bag and flattened it out. I used duct tape to secure the edges, but I still reminded students not to push/squish/pick at the bags. That was one mess I did not want to clean up!
Each group got a glove and a bowl filled with ice water (I used snow and water because it was available to me at the time). Students thought of a hypothesis and then put one bare hand in the ice water and the other hand in with the glove. They had a blast seeing how long they could keep their hand with the glove, in the water and then understanding, how polar bears, who are covered with a similar insulation, are able to survive the cold.
This activity worked well with my grade 2 group as we studied animal adaptations. Another bonus – the gloves freeze well, so you can use them again and again.