Hairy activity

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Hairy activity
Age Range 8-11 (grades 3-5), 11-14 (grades 6-8)
Group Size medium (6-20), large (21+)
Setting indoors
Setup Time short (0-5 min)
Duration medium (11-30 min)
Subjects mammals, adaptation
Key terms insulation, fur
Materials box (at least 2 inches taller and wider than one of the jars or cups) with a lid, cotton balls, 2 jars or cups with lids, measuring cup, water, 2 thermometers
Presentation Style demonstration

Brief Description

Plastic jars and cotton balls are used to represent the effect of mammals' fur on their temperature.


Students will be able to explain how hair keeps mammals warm.

This Is How You Play

  1. Cover the bottom of the box with a layer of cotton balls.
  2. Set one jar in the box.
  3. Fill the box with cotton up to the top of the jar.
  4. Use the measuring cup to add 2 cups of warm water from the faucet to each jar.
  5. Stand a thermometer in each jar of warm water for one minute.
  6. Read and record the temperature of the water in each jar.
  7. Remove the thermometers and seal each jar with a lid.
  8. Quickly cover the jar in the box with a layer of cotton balls.
  9. Close the lid on the box.
  10. Leave the jars undisturbed for ten minutes.
  11. Uncover the jars and stand a thermometer in each jar.
  12. Allow the thermometers to stand for one minute.
  13. Read and record the temperature of the water in each jar.
  14. Results: The water in the jar that was placed in a box and surrounded by cotton stayed warmer than did the water in the uncovered jar.


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