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Daily Classroom Special: Pop Pop, Fizz Fizz: Soda Can Insulation
About this Daily Classroom Special: 
Science to Go
provides easy yet meaningful science activities for grades k-8. Science to Go was written by Barbara Smith, Magnet Coordinator at Harvard Elementary, Houston (TX) and former Teachers Network web mentor.

Soda Can Insulation 

Objectives: 
Taking measurements. 
Using standard and non-standard measurements. 
Making observations and recording data. 
Graphing. 
Making hypotheses. 

Problem: 
Which insulation method will keep our soda coolest? 

Hypothesis: 
I/We think insulating our soda can with ____ will keep our soda
coolest, because.... 

Materials: 

  • 4 identical cans of soda 
  • 4 thermometers (must fit through opening in soda can) 
  • paper 
  • 2 rubber bands 
  • newspaper 
  • commercial foam-type can insulator (such as a Koozie TM) 
  • aluminum foil 
  • watch or clock 
  • method of refrigeration 
Procedure: 
  1. Refrigerate sodas for several hours, so they will be identical in
    temperature. 
  2. Remove sodas from refrigeration. 
  3. Wrap one in newspaper and secure with rubber bands. 
  4. Wrap one in aluminum foil. 
  5. Insert one in commercial foam-type can insulator. 
  6. Place all four cans of soda in one area not susceptible to drastic
    temperature fluctuation (out of sunlight and drafts), so that they are
    not touching. The unwrapped can is the control. 
  7. Open all four cans of soda, insert thermometer in each, and take
    baseline temperature reading. 
  8. Take soda temperature at half-hour intervals. 
  9. Make graph of temperature changes; make conclusions
    about insulation methods. 
Results: 
Record temperature data; graph the temperature change results. 

Conclusion: 
Was your hypothesis right or wrong? 
Which insulator kept the soda coolest? 
What does this have to do with "real life" ? 

Extensions: 
Design, construct, and test your own ideas for soda can insulators. 
Test coolers for insulation performance. 
Test different variables: amount of handling, thickness of insulating
layers, etc. 

Websites to try: 
About Science and Nature for Kids 
Current events in science, links to different science disciplines,
related sites, interesting facts. 

ARS Science 4 Kids! 
Created by the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture. Simplified explanations of farm research,
nutrition, soil science, environmental issues, insects, careers, space
and urban agriculture, fish farming, chemistry, high-magnification
photos and activities to try. 
My favorite: page that lets you ask questions of a scientist . 

 

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