Heat and Animals

Heat and Animals

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This term the topic is heat, and I’ve gone through some concepts that relate to physics, chemistry, and geology. Now I’m moving on to biology!

Earth’s Temperature


The first thing I went through in this class was the reason that Earth has seasons. The seasons are due to the tilt of the earth. I used this ball of yarn with a knitting needle in it to represent Earth.

This knitting needle came from a Moulin Roty sewing kit. It is a really cute kit that I like very much, but if you don’t want to buy the whole kit, you can just buy wooden knitting needles like the ones shown above. I like these as opposed to just a stick, because you can easily see the ball pointing away or towards the sun.

I showed that as I walked around the ball representing the sun holding the ball of yarn, that the southern hemisphere pointed at the sun for a fourth of the orbit and for another fourth of the orbit the northern hemisphere is pointed towards the sun. When this happens the hemisphere pointing towards the sun experiences summer. The opposite hemisphere experiences winter because it is pointed away from the sun. The rest of the time the hemispheres experience fall and spring.


Earth’s temperature has a very large range, but a human’s body temperature must stay very close to 37 degrees. Birds and mammals have very narrow body temperature ranges, but some animals like fish can live with a much wider range of body temperatures. Animals are grouped as endotherms, which mostly use physiological processes to regulate their body temperature and ectotherms, which use mostly behavior to regulate their body temperature.

Body Temperature Regulation

For this part of class, I asked the kids for some ways that animals can warm up or cool down. Then we went over behavioral and physiological methods. I had slides with pictures on them to help the kids remember the different methods. At the end of class I called kids up in groups of four. I chose an animal, like dogs for example, and then told the kids to pretend they were that animal. I told them they were very hot or very cold and asked them what they would do to cool down or warm up.


Move to a warm spot like a rock that has been heated by the sun or move to a cool spot underground

Go into the water to cool down

Change shape to alter surface area to volume ratio/Huddling up with other animals

Hibernation / Estivation

Diurnal/ Nocturnal


Move muscles

Put on clothes


Sweating (horses, gorillas, chimpanzees, humans) / Panting

Goosebumps/puffing up feathers


Grow more fur in the winter

For more STEAM ideas, click on the STEAM tab above, and take a look at my Pinterest board.