Dry Lab Activity

Unit C - Chapter 9

Investigating Science 9

Inquiry Activity

Space Spinoffs

Skills Reference 2

Skills you Will Use

  • Using appropriate equipment and tools
  • Drawing conclusions


  • Apron
  • Goggles


In this lab you will be using glassware and hot water.

Use goggles to protect your eyes and an apron to protect yourself from any potential breakages.

Traveling to space creates many special challenges; often the challenges are so great that it necessitates the invention of something brand new. Space programs around the world have risen up to meet these challenges head-on, as a result, many new inventions have been developed, which have had the additional benefit of benefiting everyone, not just astronauts. The following list is just a few of the inventions that have been made possible by space programs and research:

  • satellite dishes
  • freeze-dried food
  • ear thermometers
  • fire resistant suits
  • smoke detectors
  • cordless rechargeable appliances
  • battery-heated thermal gloves and boots
  • and many more!

In this activity, you will investigate one particular space invention, the foil "space" blanket, to determine if it is more effective than traditional thermal materials.


Which blanket protects better against heat loss?

Materials and Equipment

  • piece of foil "space" blanket
  • piece of cloth blanket
  • three thermometers
  • 600-ml beaker
  • ice
  • 3 small test tubes
  • 3 large test tubes
  • hot water
  • cotton balls
  • tap water
  • cellophane tape or rubber bands

Dry Lab

A "dry lab" activity includes collected data and/or a video solution for your convenience. You can simply watch the following video and use the provided data, or if you wish to perform this lab for yourself, follow the procedure steps 1 through 6 described in the video. The same steps are included in written form in the documents available for download on the bottom of this page.

Analyzing and Interpreting

  1. A student performing the procedure steps 1 through 6 recorded observations and graphed her results (below). What do these results indicate about which blanket was the best at retaining heat? Explain your answer.

Forming Conclusions

  1. Based on your results, would you recommend a foil "space" blanket in every situation where someone wanted to keep warm? Explain your answer.