In our continuing Life Science exploration, and as a segue to our unit on Endangered Species, we did a little experiment about keeping warm with fatty insulation!
First up: Pack a 5-gallon container with snow. Estimate how much water it will now hold (in addition to the snow). Then add water till it is 3/4 full with icy/snowy water. Our estimates ranged from 6-50 cups of water. The average was about 35 cups to an already packed bucket! Snow holds a lot of air!
Next we put one hand into a nitrile glove and immersed it in vegetable shortening (in a gallon zip-lock bag). We placed both hands, one bare and one immersed in a fatty later, into the ice water and reported how it felt three times: initially, after 30 seconds, and after one minute. There was much grimacing but no frostbite and the bare hands got very cold, red, tingly, burning, and stiff. The blubbery hands were cozy warm and comfortable.
That’s how polar bears, whales, seals, manatees, snow leopards, tigers, and many other animals keep warm!