Remarkable Idea – Staying Warm Like Penguins Do

In this Remarkable Idea, students simulate the insulation of a penguin and how they keep warm in the cold. They can then go on to make observations about the outcome and discuss the outcome they observed.

This activity addresses:
  • Cause and effect
  • Visual follows
  • Anticipation
  • Group work
  • Alternative methods of access
What you need:
Preparation:
1. Create two-inch pictures/symbols of “cold” and “no.” Place the pictures/symbols on the iTalk2 communicator and record “This feels cold” and “No, this does not feel cold” on the respective locations of the iTalk2 with Levels.
2. Record the science script on the Step-by-Step.

  • “Penguins can stay warm in places that are very cold.”
  • “We are going to do a science experiment to find out how penguins are able to stay warm in very cold temperatures.”
  • “First, we’re going to find out what it feels like when our skin touches ice.”
  • “Everybody, grab a plastic bag, but don’t fill it. Put it on your arm or on your hand.”
  • “Now take a plastic bag that’s filled with ice, and set it on top of the plastic bag on your hand. Does your hand feel cold? Each of you will have a turn to tell the class if your hand feels cold.”
  • “Now we’re going to find out what a penguin feels when it touches the ice.”
  • “Penguins have little straws under their feathers that hold air. We are going to put a bag of air on our hand. Everybody, grab a bag that has air inside, and put it on your skin. Now pick up a bag of ice and set it on the bag filled with air.”
  • “Does your skin feel cold? Everybody will get a turn to tell the class if their skin felt cold or not.”
  • “Our experiment is all done now. Who can remember why penguins stay warm on the ice and in very, very cold weather?”

3. Fill plastic bags with ice, one bag per student.

What to do:
1. Show students the pictures of a penguin and the penguin climate.
2. Explain that penguins are animals that live where it is very cold all the time.
3. Ask if anybody knows how penguins are able to keep from freezing in the cold weather.
4. Reads the science experiment script using the Step-by-Step or follow the instructions of the teacher.
5. Students place an empty plastic bag on their hand, then a bag of ice on top of that.
6. Each student uses the iTalk2 with Levels to say if their hand feels cold or not. Explain that this is how our skin feels when it touches ice – ice makes our skin feel cold.
7. Explain that now they are going to experience what a penguin feels when it touches ice.
8. Connect the hair dryer, PowerLink and Switch. Use these to blow air into the resealable plastic bag and seal them. Make one for each student.
9. Place the bag with air inside of it on the back of the students hand. Explains that penguins have little straws under their feathers that keep air inside them, just like the bag keeps air trapped inside of it.
10. Place a bag of ice on top of the air-filled plastic bag.
11. Uses the iTalk2 with Levels to say if their hand feels cold or not. Explain that this is how a penguin feels when it’s feathers touch ice.
12. Explain that the bag with the air in it keeps the cold ice away from our skin, so it does not make our skin feel cold. Remind students that penguins have little straws under their feathers that are like pockets of air that keep the cold away from their skin in the same way.
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About Remarkable Ideas
Over the course of more than 30-years, we have discovered amazing ways people use AbleNet products to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Remarkable Ideas take these amazing discoveries and provide activities that incorporate alternative methods of access to ensure each student can participate, learn important educational and life skills, and have fun.