Snow and Cold Weather Science (Part 2)

How do arctic and antarctic animals stay warm?  In many cases it’s blubber.

Can blubber really be that insulating?

Yesterday we investigated the effect of melting ice on water levels.

Today we added more ice and made a “blubber” glove to test the effectiveness of blubber.


"Blubber" Glove Experiment


  • Solid vegetable shortening or fat - like Crisco
  • 2 large ziploc bags
  • Duct tape
  • Large container of ice water
  • Stop watch or timing device
  • Thermometer (optional)


  1. Fill one of the ziploc bags with the vegetable shortening, making sure to leave some space around the top.
  2. Try to make sure to smash the fat into the corners and coat both sides of the bag.
  3. Turn the other bag inside out and insert into the bag of fat. If you can zip the two bags together.
  4. Use the duct tape to seal the bags together. Make sure the fat is fairly evenly distributed.
  5. Measure the temperature of the water.
  6. Place an unprotected hand in the cold water and time how long until it feels cold.
  7. Protect the other hand inside the blubber glove and place in the water making sure to keep the top of the glove above the water level.
  8. Place thermometer in glove and measure the temperature each minute.

We’ve read that vikings may have coated themselves in fat as protection against cold waters.  So, the boys coated a finger with fat and one without to feel how much difference it would make.

Check out  National Geographic Education for an explanation of the ways blubber benefits arctic and antarctic animals.

Have fun making this experiment your own.


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