Frank's Phenomenon May 2020
Hello from home everyone! I hope you are all staying busy and finding ways to incorporate science and nature into your days of isolation. I have been valuing the extra time I get to spend with my dog, practicing new recipes, spending time in my yard, and trying to fix things around my house.
I am going to share the next activity related to the one that I wrote about last month.
We are going to look at how different materials work as shade.
You will need three jars of water, making sure they all have the same amount of water. You will be placing these in the sun but first you will make three different types of shade covers: one made of aluminum foil, one made of plastic wrap (or clear, flexible plastic from your recycling), and one from white paper or cloth. Get enough of each material to completely wrap each jar of water and keep it secured with with tape, rubber bands, or string.
Leave your three jars in place where they will get lots of sun for 4-6 hours and have your student make predictions about what they think will happen.
After 4-6 hours, take the three jars somewhere to make observations. Open up the three jars and feel them (or better yet, use a thermometer if you have one handy) to sort them from hottest to coldest. Which shade kept their jar the coolest? Which one did not do a great job? Why do you think that might be? If you were to try to make an even better shade what material might you use?
Clear plastic lets light through which can make things warmer. It probably was not a very good source of shade.
Aluminum foil is shiny and does a good job reflecting light away from the jar, but metal can get hot easily with very little thermal energy. Some of this may have transferred to the water in the jar.
White cloth or paper is also good at reflecting light away from the jar this could have been a good shade depending on how warm the material became. Have a great day enjoying science and nature from home!