Science fairs seem minor to many people, just a way to allow students to toy with the basics of science, but they are much more important. They stimulate the imagination, demonstrate basic principles and show the students that science can be fun, interesting, and in many cases useful. And one useful Science Fair project is investigating which natural products are most effective at insulating the body!
Why this topic and what can the student learn? It is something practical and can be applied. There is, and has been for a long time, move to find natural solutions to problems facing the world today. Ways that aren’t expensive and don’t cause pollution. This project lets the student learn how science can be used to solve issues that face the world today.
It also involves learning a lot about scientific principles. The physics of heat and energy transfer is one obvious principle, but there is also biology involved as what can be put on the body without damaging it is important. Also chemistry comes into play as will temperature effect the product, causing it to degrade or even work better. These are all things that need to be determined, and determined in a scientific way.
What are the products that should be tested? How readily available are they? How should they be tested? Thus the science fair project begins, with a problem needing to be solved, questions to be answered, and answered using science, now the student has to decide how to best investigate the issue for answering the question!
Several products that can be economically obtained and that are natural include wood, paper and cotton. Asbestos is also natural, but not safe for the human body. Dirt can also insulate! Then there are other natural products such as silk, kapok, or even dandelion fluff. Interestingly enough, all can work for insulating the human body, but which is best.
Procedure is simple. Put a thermometer on one side and a heat source on the other, measure the change over time. The student should also try different thicknesses, and then vary the conditions. What happens when the products get wet? Are they only good for a certain range of temperatures? Can they be a fire hazard? How quickly do they break down and can something in nature increase this rate?
That is what science fair projects are all about, learning and education. Using a project that demonstrates which natural product is most effective at insulating the human body is a simple, yet good, one.