Do your students have a hard time relating to science concepts? My kiddos have a hard time with concepts that don’t directly relate to them. To help them better understand, we do experiments to help them apply it to their lives. Here is a fun way to help students understand how animals like polar bears keep themselves warm enough for the harsh environments.
We began our study of polar bears by reading the book, Powerful Polar Bears by Elisabeth Bennett. We talked about the body parts of the polar bear and wondered how they could stay warm when the weather is so cold in the Arctic. It has been very cold here in NY and they could relate with having to put on snow gear just to walk to the bus.
For the experiment, we used Crisco to represent blubber. Before putting the Crisco in the bag, we took time to explore how it felt, looked and smelled. Then we put Crisco in one bag and stuck another bag on one of our hands before putting it into the bag filled with Crisco. Both hands went in the ice water… one with a Crisco glove and the other bare.
All of the students were able to identify how the “blubber” kept our hand warm while our other hand couldn’t stay in the ice water for more than a few seconds.
Afterwards, we wrote a group summary of what we did. This shared writing activity is great for allowing all of the students to participate. Students can pick a picture for the next word, use word wall cards to spell a word for another student, help identify sounds of words we are stretching, etc.
Here is what they came up with. The word wall cards are from our Polar Animals theme unit.
I write in black and students used the orange dry erase marker. You can see how, as we went along, the students were doing more and more of the writing. I do frequently draw a line for them to write on. This helps give them a visual of where to write and how much space they get.
They did such a great job! This activity is great for practicing writing, reading, recalling information, sequencing, letter identification, writing on vertical surfaces, etc.
This is just one of the many hands on science activities we do. To meet the needs of my students’ learning style, we need to keep things engaging and hands on. Click the picture below for more ideas on teaching science concepts to students with disabilities: