Can you really fry an egg on a hot sidewalk?
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Can you really fry an egg on a hot sidewalk?
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Discuss: (1/2)

What would you use to get a hot dish out of the oven?

food_in_oven

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Discuss: (2/2)

coffee_without_sleeveWhat would you use to hold a cup of hot chocolate that’s too hot for your hands?

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Discuss:
How can you find out which of these materials are insulating (can protect your fingers from a hot pan)?
materials_to_test

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.

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Video Demonstration — Polar Bear Hands

Polar bears, whales, and seals stay warm in icy Arctic water because they have a layer of fat or blubber that insulates them from the cold.

In a short video, Carmelo the Science Fellow demonstrates how this works with two sandwich bags and some vegetable fat.

If you want to try this cool (in more ways than one) activity in your classroom, here are the New England Aquarium’s instructions for making a “blubber mitt.”

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Activity: The Mitten Experiment

Selina Smith combines science and literacy in a wonderful lesson exploring mittens. She begins with Jan Brett’s picture book, The Mitten (available at Amazon and as an online video).

Then she asks her students — “Are mittens warm?” To find the answer, students measure the temperature of the room, of an empty mitten, and of a mitten on someone’s hand. Results show that mittens alone are NOT warm. The wearer's hand is warm, and the mitten traps the heat.

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Distance Learning: Substitute Activity

Read or assign the Epic! book Do You Really Want to Burn Your Toast?.

Review the vocabulary words insulate and conduct.

Ask students to draw an invention that will insulate ice cream on a hot day so that it doesn't melt.

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Image & Video Credits

Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

Exploration
island by Christopher Michel , used under CC BY
rooster by DIAC images , used under CC BY
nest by D. Gordon E. Robertson , used under CC BY-SA
eggs by Mnolf , used under CC BY-SA
palms by Katy Warner , used under CC BY-SA
fire by arwen57 , used under CC BY
pan by Juan de Vojníkov , used under CC BY-SA
fried egg by Helga Birna Jónasdóttir , used under CC BY
burns by John Stone , used under CC BY
coffee by Nirzar , used under CC BY-SA
oven mitt by Lymantria , used under CC BY-SA
aluminium foil by Lewis Ronald , used under CC BY-SA
sand by Chris Oatley , used under CC BY
socks by Scott Bauer
styrofoam cups by NOAA's National Ocean Service , used under CC BY
cast iron pan by Douglas Paul Perkins , used under CC BY
cookware by Cooks Standard , used under CC BY
Frying egg in Phoenix by Kirk Erickson , used under CC BY
toes by Purpleblue , used under CC BY-SA
Activity
seagulls by Ruth Ellison , used under CC BY
pencil by Charm
Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students consider the insulating and conducting properties of different materials. In the activity, Feel the Heat, students test different materials and determine which would make the best oven mitts.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Feel the Heat worksheet 1 per student
Feel the Heat Answer Key worksheet 1 per class
Coolers
One for the hot water bottles and one for the cold water bottles. You can line 2 cardboard boxes with bath towels to create homemade coolers.
Details
2 coolers per class
Aluminum Foil
20" per pair
Plastic Bottles (8oz)
2 bottles per group
Socks
We suggest you ask students to each bring in one pair of socks. You’ll still have enough if half the students forget!
Details
1 pair per pair
Styrofoam Cups (6 oz)
2 cups per pair
Prep Instructions

We recommend students work in pairs and share water bottles in table groups of four. Homeschool students can work on their own.

You will need access to hot water for this activity. You can fill bottles an hour or two ahead of class if you have a cooler (or a cardboard box and a bath towel) to keep the water bottles hot.

Prep Aluminum Foil

Tear aluminum foil into 10” squares. Each pair of students (or each homeschool student) needs two 10” squares.

Fill the Plastic Bottles

Each group of four students (or homeschool student) needs two plastic bottles. Half of the bottles will be filled with cool or cold water and the other half will be filled with warm or hot water. The difference in temperature between the two bottles has to be enough to feel easily with bare hands. You can use ice water and warm water or you can use very hot water and cool water. You just need to make sure there is a definite difference.

You can keep your hot bottles hot (or your cold bottles cold) for a couple of hours if you put them in a cooler or in a cardboard box with bath towels as insulation.

Extensions
Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: