PBS KidsZOOM Home Back to Activity
Science Rocks!

Heat Saving Device


your results

Sent in by:
Suzie of Ann Arbor, MI

Keep a tasty treat warmer longer.

Materials Needed

  • large plastic Ziploc bag
  • small plastic Ziploc bag
  • cup of pre-made instant oatmeal
  • three sheets of newspaper
  • three sheets of aluminum foil
  • thermometer



  1. Get an adult to make some instant oatmeal and put it in a paper cup.
  2. Use the thermometer to measure the temperature of the oatmeal.
  3. Put the cup inside a small Ziploc bag and seal it up.
  4. Fill the larger Ziploc bag with material that you think will save the most heat: either three sheets of newspaper or three sheets of aluminum foil.
  5. Put the small bag into the larger Ziploc bag. Seal the large bag.
  6. After fifteen minutes, use the thermometer to measure the temperature of the oatmeal to see how much heat was lost.
  7. Did you choose the aluminum foil or the newspaper? Why? Did it keep your oatmeal warm? If your invention didn't work, warm up your oatmeal and try using the material that you didn't choose. If your invention did work, just dig in!

Experiment by using other types of materials to insulate your oatmeal. Don't use anything that automatically adds extra heat or uses electricity, like a hot water bottle or a heating pad. Use our ZOOMsci feedback form to tell us what you did and how it worked out.

Some of your Results

Josh, age 11 of Tracy wrote:
the foil worked better than the news paper. put it under the sun.

Ryan, age 9 of Spokane, WA wrote:
well it's kind of diffrent then the one you have I came up with it when I felt the metal handl leave a metal char in the sun for 30 min. the tempitr sould be at least 85 degrees. then put smors on the char and wate 30 more min.

Sid, age 12 of Parkhill, ON wrote:
I tried the experiment, but I ate the oatmeal before 15 minutes were up.

Vivan, age 10 of Flushing wrote:
It was good and fun I liked it. I used it as a sience project. The alluminum foil worked better.

Sara, age 15 of Big Rapids, MI wrote:
The alumunm foil works better then the newspaper.

Kimberly, age 12 of Ottawa, ON wrote:
It was more warmer when I used aluminum foil and also the aliminum foil kept the cold air out of the Ziploc Bag.

Ivan, age 12 of Toa Payoh, Singapore wrote:
The newspaper had worked better than the aluminum foil because the newspaper is a poor conductor of heat. The aluminium foil did not save much heat as it conducted most of the heat away.

Briana, age 12 of Harvey, IL wrote:
What happen was that the aluminum foil had worked better than the newspaper because the aluminum foil actually hold more heat then the newspaper. Newspaper actually didn, t do any thing it stayed the same.

Tametra, age 13 of Holly Srings, MS wrote:
When I tried this experiment it made my cookies stay warm for about a two hours. Some of my friends tried it to.

Joey, age 9 of Beresford, SD wrote:
The aluminum foil holds more heat because it reflects heat onto the oat meal the newspaper doesnt work as well be cause white absorbs heat more so it cant reflect.

Sandy, age 14 of Orange County, CA wrote:
Well the aluminum foil worked! It was so cool! Like we put water instead of oatmeal, it worked better.

not yet implemented