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Class Experiment Results

TopHat in Antarctica

Native Animals Experiment:

Mrs. Stroud's class of St. Paul, MN responds to the pre-experiment questions:

-What animals do you think live on or around Antarctica?

Class: We think the following live in Antarctica: seals, penguins, polar bears, white foxes, puffins, walrus, wolves, fish, deer.

Gwynne responds: Although all of these animals live in cold climates, few of them actually live within the Antarctic circle. You were right on for your guesses of seals, penguins, and fish. A lot of the other animals you guessed live by the North pole. You will never see a polar bear indigenous to the South Pole or a penguin to the North Pole.

-Do you think there are any animals common to both your area and Antarctica?

Class: We think dogs are common to both areas.

Gwynne responds: At one point, sled dogs were taken on expeditions across the continent. Nowadays, because of the Antarctic Conservation Treaty, dogs are no longer allowed here. In fact, all non-native Antarctic animals (excluding humans) are banned from here. This is an effort to keep Antarctica pristine and in it's natural condition.

-Which place do you think has more life? Why?

Class: We think that would be Minnesota because it is warmer here.

Gwynne responds: This is a tricky question. If you compare the life on land here with Minnesota, then Minnesota definitely wins. There is very little that lives on land on the Ice. However, if you take into account the marine life here, then Antarctica has more life. Almost all life must survive along the coast so in those areas, the amount of life per space (or density of life) is very, very high. Much more so than Minnesota.

-How would you expect the animals in your environment to be different from ones in an Antarctic environment?

Class: We think that warm weather animals couldn't live in Antarctica. They wouldn't need a lot of thick fur in Minnesota, only in winter.

Gwynne responds: Thick fur is a definite plus here. I consider my parka to be the equivalent of what several of the animals naturally have. Just to give you an idea of how well animals are adapted to the environment down here, I will mention some of peculiarities of the penguin. It has a large volume to surface area ratio (reduces the amount of heat lost through skin), it has thick feathers that make it windproof, it has a layer of blubber (more insulation), it has small appendages which are mostly covered by feathers (hard to keep the extremities heated), and it has nasal passages that keep heat from being lost through breathing out.

-What do you think the differences would be caused by?

Class: The differences would be caused by temperature and weather.

Gwynne responds: I think you are totally right. I might add that the environment (desert, mountains, plains, and coast here) causes differences to develop.

Mrs. Stroud's class of St. Paul, MN responds to the post-experiment questions:

- Why do you think the animals are different?

Class: We think they are different because the animals in both places must have weather that is different so they can live all year.

- What things are there in common between the animals of your area and of the Antarctic?

Class: There are birds and mammals in both areas. If the bird or animal is going to survive, their body must change or they will die.

- Why do the animals have anything in common?

Class: Birds and mammals are alike everywhere. The differences come in when the climate changes.

Gwynne adds:† Very true.† Birds and mammals are alike everywhere because they evolved from the same critters.† It helps to compare it to how human families work.† Think about your brothers and sisters.† You may or may not resemble your siblings, but there are usually some similarities.† This makes sense because you and your siblings share parents.† Now imagine your brothers and sisters and you way in the future with children of your own.† The children of your siblings would be cousins of your children.† All these cousins may look similar, but generally speaking, brothers and sisters resemble each other more often than cousins do.† Evolution works in a very similar way, but on a much larger scale and over a much longer time.

- How do the differences between the animals help them survive in their natural habitat?

Class: If the bears didnít have thick fur, they couldnít live in Antarctica. The birds need special kinds of feathers and seals need more fat so they could stand the weather.† If those animals came to Minnesota in the summer, they would die because it would be too hot.† We do have some animals here in our zoos that are the same kind of animals that live in Antarctica.

Gwynne adds:† You have the right idea, but there arenít actually any bears in Antarctica.† Polar bears live by the North Pole.Ē

These pictures are by some of the kids in Mrs. Stroudís class

Lee's Bird

Peter's Insect

Halston's Spider

Anthony's Squirrel


Balloon Experiment:

Balloon Experiment Pictures from Carlisle, Indiana


Results from Mrs. Hale's class in Carlisle, Indiana

Step 1, Maximum weight on balloon before sinking: 11 g.
Step 2, Maximum weight before point 1 became point 2: 6 g.
Step 3, Maximum weight on point 2 before sinking: 5 g.
Step 4, This equals the weight in step 1.
Step 5, Total % weight when point 1 is on top of the balloon: 55%
Step 6, Minimum weight on point 1 before flipping: 5 g.
Step 7, Weight before sinking to ground: 6 g.
Step 8, Total % weight when point 2 is top of balloon: 45% They thought the percentages were different because point 1 had more surface area.
Step 9, On average - it would take 3780 of our balloons to lift one student.
Step 10, It would take 313,740 of our balloons to equal the TopHat balloon.

Results for Webster Elementary School of St. Paul, MN

Balloon experiment

Dear Gwynne, We did the first experiment.
For step one we got 30 grams, for step two we got 13 grams, for step 3 we got 12 grams, for step four we got 25 grams and for step five we got 52%. We thought that the total shouldn't be 30 grams because there was weight on both sides. At the end our balloon popped. bye Peder, Jon, and Yer.