Education Technology

Insulating Against the Cold

Published on 06/09/2008

Activity Overview

In this activity, students use a Temperature Sensor to test the insulating efficiency of different samples of fabric. They examine the properties that make a fabric a better insulator. They extend this to understand how animals adapt to their environment.

Before the Activity

  • Connect the TI-73 to the CBL™ unit
  • Connect the temperature sensor to Channel 1 in the CBL unit
  • Download the DataMate™ program on the calculator
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 199-205 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to your class.

  • Complete the Hypothesis section on the Data Collection and Analysis page and predict which material will work best


  • Follow the Activity procedures:
  • Pick one type of glove and place a rubber glove inside it
  • Pour 37 C water in the rubber glove and place the Temperature Sensor in it
  • Take a temperature reading every 20 seconds for a period of 10 minutes
  • Repeat the activity with the other sample gloves
  • Graph temperature versus time
  • Evaluate which glove material will keep the hand warmest
  • After the Activity

    Students will complete the Data Collection and Analysis Sheet.

    Review student results

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary