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Chilling Out

Youth explore how well different materials insulate against cold.

Youth Will Know
  • A space glove must protect astronauts from extreme temperatures in space. 
  • Some materials are better than others at protecting against the cold.

Activity Downloads

Chilling Out Educator Guide
pdf 600 KB
Chilling Out Engineering Journal (English)
pdf 275.02 KB
Chilling Out Engineering Journal (Spanish)
pdf 1.13 MB
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The Educator Guide has a script, materials list, and prep directions. Be sure to have it open and ready to help guide you through every activity. It will take about 30 minutes to prepare for this activity. 

  • Post the EDP Poster. 
  • Get the Message from the Duo ready. 
  • Transcribe Testing Results. 
  • Set up the Materials Table. 
  • Cut two model hands (Educator Guide p. 41). 
  • Set aside 2 bags for demo. 
  • Review Cold Test Procedure (Educator Guide p. 40). 
  • Set up testing stations (6 cups ice, 10 cups water, digital thermometers, cardboard hands, stop watches). 
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Guiding Question

Which materials are good at protecting against cold?

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Youth Will Do

  • Test and compare different materials to see which ones work best to protect against cold temperatures. 
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Did You Know?

Outside the space station temperatures are 120C (250F) in the sun, and -155C (-250F) in the shade. Space suits have water circulating through to help with the extreme temperatures.

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Quick Tips

  • Group management strategies: 
    • Make bold labels for Materials Table. 
    • Make bags of materials for each group rather than a Materials Table. 
    • Rotate groups through stations. 
    • Designate a volunteer to help other groups with testing and reset. 
    • Use the cardboard model hand so that your warm-blooded hand does not affect the thermometer reading. 
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Insulator: a material that does not allow heat to move through it quickly 



Related Videos

Extreme Temperatures in Space
How to Design a Space Glove
Extreme Temperatures in Space
How to Design a Space Glove

Activity Timing

5 min
Present the Message from the Duo
10 min
Set the Stage
20 min
Ask: Which Material Is Best?
10 min
45 min