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Hold Everything! Comparing Insulators

Experiment #12 from Elementary Science with Vernier

Education Level
Elementary School


Do you ever put a hot drink in a mug to keep it warm? When it is cold outside, do you put on a hat to keep warm? We do these types of things because mugs and hats are insulators, materials that keep heat in. Other materials, such as metal, are good conductors, materials that transfer heat from the source very well. You may have experienced the conductivity of metal if you’ve touched a spoon that had been in a very hot bowl of soup, or sat on a metal seatbelt that had been in the sun.


In this activity, you will

  • Compare temperature readings from two different cups when hot or cold water is added to them.
  • Determine which material is a better conductor, and which is a better insulator.

Sensors and Equipment

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

Option 2


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This experiment is #12 of Elementary Science with Vernier. 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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