The Olaf Challenge!

My frozen ice cube buddies want to come to school, but they’re worried that they will melt in the hot classrooms!  Can you help them?

In your teams in class and over the next 2 weeks, we’d like you to design and make something which will keep Olaf’s ice cube buddies frozen for as long as possible.  You can use any materials you want, but it must be made by you, as a team!  If you need some ideas, you could look at the things you have at home which keep things cold.

  • Research which materials are better and why-use links on the blog, books, own knowledge, other’s knowledge
  • Test out your ideas
  • You need to present findings
  • Design and make your team’s invention
  • Be as creative as you like
  • Use your problem solving skills
  • Work as a team!


We will be holding a competition at the end of the 2 weeks to see which invention keeps the ice cubes the coolest!

Useful Links:-

BBC Science clips


What does a conductor do?

Insulating a beaker

Testing an ice cube

Suggestions for materials

How to make your own Thermos

The science behind a good thermos


What materials are good cold insulators?

The Science:

Heat passes through some materials easily and these materials are called thermal conductors.

Metals usually feel cold to the touch. Metals are good thermal conductors, because heat passes through them quickly.

Heat does not pass through some material such as plastic, oven glove, thermal underwear, cork board and wood. These materials are called thermal insulators.

These thermal insulators are good for keeping heat out as well and in. Some examples of good insulators are – a thermos – keeps hot things hot and keeps cold things cold, cooler – keeps the heat out and keeps the inside cool, and a polystyrene cup keeps the heat in and keeps it hot.

Remember that a good insulator is a poor conductor. 

Insulators often contain pockets of trapped air like feathers on a bird and fur on animals to keep them warm. 

Heat loves to travel and will travel from a warmer material to a colder material. The heat will only travel from hot things to colder things and never the other way around.

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