Teaching science can be hard, and can be made even harder with limited budgets that so many schools have to deal with. This may be an ongoing segment where we explain how simple, inexpensive items can be used to help teach basic concepts.
So say hello to the Mylar Emergency Blanket:
The Mylar Emergency Blanket comes folded up but unfolds into a shiny, 52″ x 84″ blanket:
The blanket’s primary purpose is for emergency victims to have something to keep warm in, with a size so small several can be kept in a glove box:
These features make the blanket an excellent tool to teach things like reflectivity and insulation. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Cut the blanket up into smaller, but still large pieces – big enough that children can put 1 forearm underneath.
- Have the students place their arm under the blanket piece while keeping the other arm exposed. Ask them to wait a while for their body heat to build up.
- Try testing using this method in other ways, such as in sunlight, in cold weather, under a heat lamp, etc.
The Mylar is very good at reflecting infrared light (heat) from your body and if you don’t have any gaps or openings in the blanket it does a marvelous job of keeping you warm – even better than the blankets on your bed. However the blanket is more fragile and may not last more than a few usages.
Mylar maybe shiny but it is not the perfect reflector. But it can still be used for some solar collection experiments (Caution: Solar collection can be dangerous – avoid exposing body parts to collected sunlight). Try the following:
Find a cheap, deep cooking Wok you don’t care much about. Fit a piece of the Emergency Blanket Mylar into the wok, covering the surface. With a lot of care and patience, try to get the mylar as flat as possible. Keep in mind it will likely never be perfect. Remember what we said about keeping body parts out of in front of this contraption. Now take the mylar coated wok into sunlight and see if you have managed to make a solar collector out of it. Test the point where the light should be concentrated with a thermometer or piece of paper – never your finger.
You can also use the Mylar Emergency Blanket to make solar ovens. There are lots of experiments that will show you how – just use the mylar instead of the listed aluminum foil. It will work much better but will be harder to get in place.
Other uses: One of the biggest buyers of emergency blankets in our store is a teacher who works with special needs children. She told us the kids really like the feel and texture of the blankets. Would this work with other special needs kids? We cannot be certain but it might be worth a try!
Buy the Mylar Emergency Blanket