Insulation Sensation

By Laura Hospitál on Sep 12, 2016

A student with visual impairments chose a science experiment testing different materials as insulators.

Question:

Which material is the best insulator, cardboard, styrofoam, or cotton balls?

Hypothesis:

The cardboard will be the best insulator.

Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Cotton balls
  • Styrofoam
  • Prent
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Leather
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • iPod
  • Decibel meter

Procedure

  1. Gather all of the supplies- cardboard, cottonballs, and styrofoam.  Also the decibel meter, scissors, glue, and iPod.
  2. Build a box for each material.
  3. Put iPod in the box and play the music.
  4. Measure the sound with the decibel meter from ten cm away.
  5. Record sound level.
  6. Repeat two more times with the same box.
  7. Repeat steps three through five for each box.
  8. Look at the sound levels recorded and see what material has the lowest sound level.
  9. Draw a conclusion.

Conclusion:

The hypothesis was incorrect because the Styrofoam was the best insulator.

Variations

Other materials could also be tested such as leather.

NGSS Standards:

Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly. (HS-ESS2-5)

 

Pinterest collage of insulator experiment

Image attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/electricity-technology-piping-tubes-1269204/

Read more about: STEM