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    Some Penguin Experiments
    By cvolcteacher

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    Here are a few penguin experiments I usually do that I've collected over the years:

    Keeping Warm. Discuss how penguins have special down feathers to keep them warm. You will need 3 zip-lock bags, ice cold water and ice cubes for this activity. Fill one bag 1/2 way with water and ice and seal it shut completely. Zip the second bag almost all the way up but blow some air into it before you seal it completely. (it should be an air pillow) First put the bag with the air under the icecube/water filled bag. Then do the same with a flat bag. Which is warmer. Why do you think so?

    For the above "blubber glove" experiment, here's an image I found on the internet:
    http://www.mhcbe.ab.ca/St_Francis/gr1/Webquests/blubber.gif


    Explain to the children that a penguin has a special gland in its body that produces an oil which makes the penguins feathers waxy. The waxy feathers protect the penguin from extreme cold and icy waters in the South Pole. In order to show the children how the water repels off of the waxy feathers, draw a picture of a penguin. Have the children color the feathers of the penguin with black and white crayons. Pour a cup of water all over the picture. The water will soak the paper however will roll off the crayon. This science experiment will show the children that the water will roll off of the penguin because of the waxy feathers. The children loved this experiment.


    Talk about the five different types of penguins. Have a life-size drawing of an emperor penguin attached to the wall. Measure each child using a roll of adding machine paper, cut the paper at the child's height and attach it to the wall beside the emperor penguin. Now the children can compare their height with that of an emperor penguin.


    I also do a feather experiment to show the kids why baby penguins can't survive in the cold water until their adult feather grows in. You need to find two feathers... a downy one and another feather... I can always find crow feathers on the road! Put both in water and compare. The downy one stays soggy for a long time.... a bird would freeze with this type of feather. The other one, is basically unaffected by water... the water drips off. The bird dries quickly and so doesn't freeze.

    View the original thread this idea was posted on



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