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Activity Teacher Notes 2.5

2.5 Is it warm enough? - Testing the warmth of fabrics

Levels: P, S, SS
Focus curriculum areas: Health and well-being
Supporting curriculum area: Science
Key concepts: Insulation, experience


Click on the movie above to view [1.2 MB]

Understanding goals

Students cooperate in groups to test the warmth of fabrics. They compare and contrast the insulation properties of various fabrics.

You Will Need

  • fan
  • bucket of water
  • ice cubes
  • synthetic tops
  • woollen jumpers
  • cotton tops
  • thermal tops
  • and/or fabric samples


woolclothing and a backpack

1. a. Wrap your fist and lower arm in one of the tops. Hold it in front of a fan set on cool. Note how your hand feels. Does it feel insulated? Rate how warm your hand feels on a scale of 1–5. (Only the first students will be able to do this part.)

b. Dip your hand, wrapped in the top, in the bucket of icy water. Rate how warm your hand feels on a scale of 1–5.

c. Hold your hand in front of a cool fan. Rate how warm your hand feels on a scale of 1–5.

d. Repeat with the other fabrics.

e. What did you notice? Which fabrics were warmer?

2. Write a scientific report on this experiment. Include your aim, materials, method, results and conclusions.

3.a) Imagine you may be caught out in the rain on a cold day – what clothes would it be best to wear? List each item from head to toe, and the reason why you chose each of them.

b). Compare your list with other students in the class and discuss.

4. List other important things you need to take when you go walking in the bush.

Going further

Design a practical exercise to investigate the waterproof properties of various fabrics.

Design a practical exercise to investigate the insulation properties of various building materials.

To learn about what clothes to take, see planning your walk.

Related activity

2.4 Staying alive