Using Our "Bear" Hands for an Experiment
March 2020


The preschoolers are working on a project about bears. We are filling our curiosity by learning about different types. When the children showed an interest in polar bears, we looked to see if we could find an experiment on the subject. What we found was information and a science activity, “Why polar bears don’t feel cold?”


We collected the following materials to be used: a bowl, big enough to put both hands in, zipper type plastic bags, ice cubes, shortening and food colouring (optional)


The children were very curious about the items that were collected but first we had to ensure that those who had a turn washed their hands. Sweety explained to them how the experiment worked. Janelle was the first one to try the experience. She placed her hands in the bowl that contained cold water and ice cubes. Sweety asked, “How does that feel?” To which she responded, “Cold!” She then dried her hands awaiting the next step which was to put one hand in a bag filled with shortening and the other hand in an empty bag. Janelle was then instructed to put both hands in the bowl at the same time and tell how this feel. Janelle shared the following observations, she said her right hand (which was in the bag with the shortening) was not feeling cold at all and her left hand was feeling cold. Anthony took a turn next and had the same comment. Asher, Alexander and Manal followed them and felt the same way. Their right hand in the shortening bag did not feel cold, where the left hand was cold.


After this experience, it was time for us to do some research to find out why polar bears don’t feel cold and how we can connect this with our experiment. Before doing any research Sweety asked the children what they thought. Anthony said: “Polar bears don’t need coats they are too big.” Janelle said: “they might be a little bit cold but can’t wear coats because of their paws.” Looking on the iPad using the Wikipedia website we found out that polar bears won’t feel cold because of their body structure.


This hands on activity allowed for meaningful exploration by focusing on investigation of the topic that is the current interest in the classroom. The children were able to practice communication skills of listening and asking questions, sharing information by making observations and sharing their knowledge. They were actively engaged by watching each other and taking turns. Through our research we discovered a concept we didn’t know before, which fills our sense of wonder.


What more will we learn about bears? We can “bearly” wait to tell you.



A child taking a turn at putting her hand in the cold water

Child experimenting with temperature by putting his hand in a bag full of shortening

Child feeling the water with her bare hand


Preschool child testing the temperature in a bowl of ice water