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Insulation is an important component of energy-efficient buildings. Insulation reduces both the energy required for wintertime heating and summertime cooling. Fiber glass, rock wool, cellulose, polyurethane foam, polystyrene foam, and foil-faced paper, polyethylene bubbles, and plastic film are common insulation materials. Basic insulation forms include blanket (batts or rolls), loose-fill, spray-applied, rigid insulation, and reflective systems.


In the Preliminary Activity, you will monitor the temperature of a bottle of warm water as it cools for three minutes and determine its cooling rate.

After completing the Preliminary Activity, you will first use reference sources to find out more about insulation before you choose and investigate a researchable question.

Later, you will use the class research results as you insulate the bottle in preparation for a contest to see which group can make the best-insulated bottle, as determined by lowest cooling rate.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #25 of Investigating Environmental Science through Inquiry. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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