How do animals that live in the Antarctic such as Polar Bears and Penguins stay warm? Let’s find out using the blubber science experiment!

You will need:
  • A large container (such as a bowl or bucket)
  • A bag of ice
  • Cold water
  • A self-seal/zip lock bag (big enough to put your hand inside)
  • Vegetable shortening or some sort of fat (such as butter or margarine)
  • A timer/stopwatch


  • First off, fill your large container with plenty of cold water and ice to be able to put your hand inside.
  • Next up, get your timer or stopwatch ready and challenge yourself to dip your hand in the water for as long as you can.
  • Don’t freeze yourself! Take your hand out if it’s getting too cold, because now we’re gonna do it again using our homemade blubber.
  • Put your hand in your self-seal/zip lock bag and fill it with vegetable shortening/fat so that you have a layer of it around your whole hand.
  • Finally, it’s time to challenge yourself again! Be sure to get your timer/stopwatch ready and with your new “blubber glove” and see how long you can keep your hand in the icy water this time.
  • Let’s compare the two times! How did your hand feel when it was in the water this time compared to the first attempt? Let’s explore the science behind the blubber science experiment.
The Science Bit: Imagine that this “blubber glove” applied to your whole body – it would keep you much warmer, like wearing a huge coat when you’re cold. The same logic applies here, animal blubber is just a thick layer of fat underneath the skin that helps animals that live in cold places (like the Antarctic) keep warm! Therefore, they can bare to live in such freezing environments where the water reaches beyond sub-zero.

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