This lab has students exploring properties of heat transfer and insulators to design a thermos. Students are involved in the design process, build their thermos out of a water bottle and extra chosen materials, and compete against their peers to see who can keep their water from dropping in temperature over a period of time. Students must think about what a good insulator is in order to complete this task successfully!
The 3 page lab sheet guides students through the design process, testing their thermos, and answering post-lab questions about their design.
I use this activity with my 5th graders when learning about heat transfer in Physical Science. They love creating their own thermos and are excited for testing day to see how well their thermos holds heat. Students have said they remember this lab during the standardized test!
I usually make available: duct tape, bubble wrap, cardboard, paper, and paper towels. Students may bring in any materials from home as well.