The Polar Insulation Investigationby: Juanita Urban-Rich

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

In this article an oceanographer discusses her development of an activity to help students explore polar-related questions more fully. "The Polar Insulation Investigation" builds on students' natural interest in "things polar" and introduces them to animal adaptations in a unique way. The aim of the exploration is to determine the role of animal coverings (e.g. blubber, fur, and feathers) and to see which is the best insulator. It also provides an opportunity to develop and practice skills for measuring temperature.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 328 Libraries

Reviews (3)
  • on Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:50 PM

Great article and lesson on polar animal adaptations that can be easily adapted for multiple grade levels.

Jarrod Decker  (Fairbanks, AK)
Jarrod Decker (Fairbanks, AK)

  • on Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:07 PM

This is a great experiment idea on animal adaptation. Every child is enthralled with polar bears and penguins and this inquiry taps into that excitement. Having the students reflect on varied outcomes for the same adaptations (i.e. students that used feathers had different temperature changes) was a great way to get students to teach the need for experimental consistency. What a great idea.

Beth Eisentraut  (Ellicott City, MD)
Beth Eisentraut (Ellicott City, MD)

  • on Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:34 PM

This article shows how you can take the tried and true blubber experiment and give it real context by making it just one part of a terrific investigation of polar animal adaptations. Ms. Urab-Rich details how to engage students and provides lesson cues for different age groups as well. I will always use this richer lesson when I work on this unit and I'll never just do the "blubber test" again!

Caryn Meirs  (Smithtown, NY)
Caryn Meirs (Smithtown, NY)

Free - NSTA Members

$1.29 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.