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How Do Arctic Animals Stay Warm?

December 8, 2021 | Kate Streelman

As we continue with our study of the Arctic and Antarctic, we have learned a lot about different animals that call those places their home.  But there was an important question to answer: how do those animals stay warm while swimming and living in freezing water?

Our science experiment today was about… BLUBBER!

Whales and Arctic mammals like penguins and polar bears, have a thick layer of fat under their skin called blubber. This fat can be anywhere from a couple of inches to a foot thick!  We used plastic bags and vegetable shortening to simulate this layer.


After sharing some of our observations, we started to wonder about what else (besides shortening) could be used as an insulator.  If you have time, try some things at home!  We thought about play-doh, pudding, felt, or maybe even cardboard!

You can also see more details on the experiment at this website: Little Bins, Little Hands


Kate Streelman

Lead Teacher, Fourth Grade

Kate Streelman is passionate about teaching. In second grade, she decided that when she grew up, she would be a teacher and she has written proof of this goal! She is a graduate of Eastern Christian Schools and Calvin College. Ms. Streelman grew up in suburban New Jersey and has greatly enjoyed moving closer to New York City. Prior to teaching at Mustard Seed, she taught in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Kate joined the staff as a first grade teacher in 2017. Every year brings new experiences, excitement, and challenges, and Ms. Streelman looks forward to them all. A shy student growing up, Ms Streelman loves the community of Mustard Seed and how easy it is to be a part of it. She also likes to find ways to help all students feel like they are a part of that community.

Outside of school, Ms Streelman loves to read, doodle and paint, and spend time with friends and family. She enjoys exploring the area, finding new places to eat and relax, and just going for walks.

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