What's an Insulator?

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Students will be able to define insulator.

Big Idea

Students will identify different materials that can be used as insulators.


1 minutes

Warm Up

10 minutes

I will begin the lesson with a class discussion. I will ask the students to share what they know about insulators. I will encourage students to think of when they have heard the word insulator or insulation. I will ask students to explain how a winter coat works as an insulator. I will remind students that an insulator is a material that does not allow a lot of heat to pass through it. I will reference our Jacket for Frosty Experiment

I will ask students to share the outcome of that experiment.  How did the "coat" affect the frozen water bottle? Did it serve as an insulator? Activating the student's background knowledge from a previous lesson will allow the students to recall the data. I will assure the students that the coat did serve as an insulator because coats trap the heat that you give off and keeps it close to your body. The coat (glove) kept the snowman (water bottle) cold during our investigation earlier in the week because it prevented the cold air from the frozen water bottle from escaping. The glove also kept out heat from the air in the classroom. 


25 minutes

To begin the Explore section, I will remind students that insulators work to keep cold items cold and hot items hot; for example a thermos that one would use to put soup in for their lunch or a cooler that one would put ice in to keep drinks cool. 

Students will complete the Insulators I Use worksheet. This worksheet allows students to identify insulators that they use often in the real world. I will encourage students to think about insulators that they use at home, school, etc. Students will share their thinking in the Wrap Up section of the lesson.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

To conclude the lesson, students will be given the opportunity to share their ideas. As a whole group discussion, students will share their examples of insulators that they use and how they use them. Allowing students to share their examples allows students to gain a better understanding of what an insulator is. It also promotes a learning environment where new ideas are welcomed and respected.