This simple blubber glove is a hands-on learning lesson about marine mammals. It can be done inside or outside and doesn’t require many supplies.
We, humans, need to dress like this to keep warm in cold weather.
How do marine mammals keep warm? Imagine swimming in the icy waters of the Arctic!
What is their jacket-less secret?
What is Blubber?
Blubber is the thick layer under the skin of marine mammals like seals, sea otters, whales, and walruses. It covers the entire body except for fins, flippers, or flukes.
Blubber stores energy, insulates, and increases buoyancy (floatiness!)
Did you know? Blubber is different than most types of fat. It’s much thicker and has lots more blood vessels than the fat in land animals, including humans. Why not do a little research project after doing this experiment and learn more about this unique insulator?
Want to make some blubber and see how it can keep you warm? Try this fun experiment!
blubber glove Supplies
- Two large ziplock bags of the same size (big enough to fit your hand inside)
- 1-2 cups shortening (vegetable or similar)
- Duct tape
- Ice (crushed/cubes or snow)
- An animal costume (kidding, but that could be fun)
Instructions to Make Blubber Glove
Fill a ziplock bag with shortening, maybe five huge spoonfuls
We used a large ziplock bag and ended up using an entire block of shortening
With your hand inside the other (clean) ziplock bag, slide it into the first ziplock bag that is filled with shortening.
Keeping your hand inside the second ziplock bag, squash the shortening so it spreads evenly.
You want a layer where you don’t see any big see-through spots, so add more shortening as needed.
To keep the shortening from squishing out, Fold the top of the inside ziplock bag over the outside ziplock bag (roll it down all the way around)
It will make a pocket that you can slide your hand into without getting shortening all over the place.
Tape it down all the way around with strong tape (like duct tape)
It will look similar to this.
Make your icy Arctic water.
Partially fill up a large bucket with cold water. Now add lots of ice
OR: Use a snowbank as we did 🙂
Slide your hand into the bag, and put your other hand into your icy Arctic water bucket (not too far, or the water will spill in the top!)
What do you notice?
Is your blubber hand even getting a little warm inside the ziplock bag? That’s blubber acting as a heat insulator!
For an adventurous experiment, put your non-blubber glove hand into the water, too! See how long you last before you take it out!
See how much blubber protects you against the cold??
Isn’t blubber cool… or wait, warm!!
Another Science Experiment for Kids!
How about watching cold water freeze into bubbles, forming really cool patterns?
The Big Sis