Tuesday, September 29, 2015

// //

Penguin Science Experiment

How do you bring a penguin science experiment into a penguin theme?  With this super easy and very visual, very fun, hands-on science project!

We've been reading Mr. Popper's Penguins as a read aloud book this month.  Of course, it has brought up all sorts of penguin questions!  Do they really like to toboggan?  Do penguins have feathers? Do they really build nests? Can they actually drink salt water? And, of course, how do they stay warm?

Our penguin science experiment demonstrates one facet of staying warm.  Penguins, like most birds, have a special oil gland (officially called the uropygial gland or the preen gland) that secretes oils and waxes to cover the penguins' feathers.  Wet feathers would make the birds much colder than dry feathers!  When the penguins feathers are covered with oils and waxes, they feathers are "water-proof," and the penguins stay much warmer.

To demonstrate how oil can keep feathers dry, we did this

Penguin Science Experiment!

Simple Supplies:

(for each child)

* plastic baggie

* water

* blue food coloring (optional)

* oil

* duct tape (optional)

Easy How To:

1- Fill the plastic baggie about 1/4 full with water.  Add blue food coloring to make a "blue ocean."  We might have had some green and clear oceans too.  Optionally, duct tape the baggies closed.

2-  Carefully add oil to the water.  Put in enough that you can see an oil layer on the top.

3- Talk about how they are not mixing.

4-  MIX THEM UP!!!  This is the best part!  Your kids will love mixing oil and water!!  After mixing them for a minute, hold the baggies still and watch the oil and water separate again.

5- Talk about how the ocean does not mix with the penguins feathers when they are covered with oil.

That's it!  Super easy, very hands-on, and a great experiment to demonstrate how birds keep their feathers dry!  To make it even more of an experiment, you can let your kiddos toss a few other items and/or liquids in their baggies and see if they mix with both water and oil, or just one.

One More Easy Penguin Science Experiment:

While we had the oil and water out, my kids wanted to try dipping their own finger in oil first, and then in water.  They were curious if they could feel the water through the oil.  They hypothesized that the oil would stick to their fingers...and they were right!

And remember their other questions?   Do they really like to toboggan?  Do they really build nests? Can they actually drink salt water?  Well, here are a few fun penguin facts for you...YES!  Penguins do have feathers, they do like to toboggan, they do build nests, and they can actually drink salt water!  They're amazing!!

Do you love penguins?  Be sure to check out this penguin feather STEM activity, my {FREE} LEGO Penguin Counting page, my penguin art project, my craft stick penguins, my {free} penguin mini book, our adorable Peek-a-Boo Penguins, and the Penguin Preschool Packet!  They all go great with this penguin science experiment! 

This post is part of the Poppins Book Nook!  This month, everyone is sharing science projects and activities based on Newberry Award Books.  Mr. Popper's Penguins was named a Newberry Honor book in 1939.

This was such a fun book to read aloud!  All my kids loved the story and enjoyed being read to!  And while you're reading, you may want to make these adorable corner bookmarks!  Such a cute idea from my friend Maggie at Red Ted Art!

For more activities based on Newberry Books, check out these other blogs:

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom – 3 Dinosaurs – ABC Creative Learning – As We Walk Along the Road – Brain Power Boy – Chestnut Grove Academy – Embracing Destiny –Every Bed of Roses – Farm Fresh Adventures – Growing in God’s Grace – Kathys Cluttered Mind – My Bright Firefly – Peakle Pie – Preschool Powol Packets – Pray Species– SAHM I am – Stir The Wonder – Sunny Day Family – Sweet Silly Sara – Teach Beside Me – To the Moon and Back – Tots and Me – Tree Valley Academy – Witty Hoots

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!