Milli's Insulation Investigation

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In this activity on page 2 of the PDF, learners test different materials to find out which is the best insulator. Learners use aluminum foil, newspaper, plastic wrap, and wax paper to insulate ice cubes and compare the melting rate of each ice cube. Use this activity to introduce learners to heat transfer (conduction) and insulation materials. Safety notes: Adult supervision required. Do not eat or drink any of the materials in this activity. Follow Milli's safety tips, which are listed on the left hand side of page 2.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil or pen
  • Aluminum foil
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Wax paper
  • 5 identical ice cubes
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper towels
  • Baking tray
  • Watch or timer
  • Wire rack (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Architectural Engineering
      • Civil Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
    • Technology
      • Construction
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Office of Community Activities, American Chemical Society


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2006