Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Science - Leafy Insulation


The children had a fantastic time raking up a small pile of leaves...


...for playing...


...and jumping...


...and burying each other in.






While they were taking their respective turns in the leaves, they noticed it was very warm inside the pile.  So, never one to miss an opportunity for science, I ran in and grabbed a couple of thermometers for them to experiment with.


First, they left one thermometer on top of the pile of leaves, and buried the other in the leaves.


After about fifteen minutes, they checked both thermometers.  The temperature outside was about 69°F.  Inside the pile it was only 60°F.


The children thought that was because when they were inside the leaves, the leaves were holding in their body heat, but on their own, the leaves were not generating heat.  To test this, A (age 14) offered to let the younger sibs bury her again, but this time with one of the thermometers placed on top of her...


...with the other, again, on top of the leaf pile.


This time around, she didn't think it was as warm inside the pile - until we removed the leaves, and the cooler, outside air, hit her.  According to the thermometer, she had been wrapped in a toasty 80°F blanket of leaves...


...while the air outside remained a nice, but slightly chilly 69.


It turns out leaves work very nicely as insulation for keeping heat in, or out - depending on what you're going for.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

7 comments:

Kylie said...

oh what a cool experiment. If only we had that many gorgeous leaves in our backyard!

Ticia said...

Very fun experiment.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I know they used to use straw as insulation sometimes in houses, so this makes a lot of sense to me! Very cool science experiment.

Angelic Scalliwags said...

You do think up great ways to sneekily include education into your children's days. This is brilliant. It simply would not have occured to me!

Camie Madsen said...

I wish we had fall leaves to play in and experiment with!

raventhreads said...

That is actually quite a fascinating experiment :-)

Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

How interesting! Love that the older kids are not above jumping into and burying themselves in leaf piles :)