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How Effective is Perspiration at Cooling?
Task with Student Directions
Contributed by: New York State Alternative Assessment in Science Project (NYSED)

Task: At this station you will collect and analyze data on a model of the perspiration process.

  • test tubes
  • hot water in styrofoam cups
  • timer or clock
  • eye dropper
  • paper towels
  • test tube rack
  • room temperature water
  • thermometer
  • 4 rubber bands
  • funnel


You know that when you get hot you perspire. This is your body's way of maintaining normal body temperature. But how effective is perspiring in doing this?


  1. Examine the apparatus at this station.

  2. Place the test tube rack on a paper towel. Prepare your test tubes by wrapping each one with a strip of newspaper. Use two rubber bands to hold the paper on the test tubes.

  3. Quickly fill both test tubes with hot water. Taking care not to spill any on the newspaper.

    Place one thermometer in each test tube. Record the starting temperature for each test tube on the data table. In the next step one (1) test tube will become the wet test tube and one (1) will remain dry.

  4. Use the eye dropper to quickly wet the newspaper of one(1) of the test tubes with hot water. The newspaper on the test tube should be completely saturated.

  5. Measure and record the water temperature in each test tube at intervals of one minute for the next twelve (12) minutes.

  6. Make a line graph of your data and answer questions 3-9.

  1. Record your data in the data table below.



    Wet Tube

    Dry Tube



























  2. Plot your data on the graph below.

  3. From your table, what was the temperature of the water at 6 minutes?

  4. In the dry tube? ___________ In the wet tube? ____________

  5. From your graph, what was the temperature of the water at 9/5 minutes?

  6. In the dry tube? ___________ In the wet tube? ____________

  7. Use your graph to predict what the temperature would be in the dry tube after 15 minutes.

  8. Using complete sentences, suggest an explanation for your prediction.

  9. Using complete sentences, describe and compare the cooling patterns in the test tubes.

  10. Using complete sentences, explain what causes the difference in water temperature between the water in the two tubes.

  11. Using complete sentences, describe what comparison you could make between the effect of perspiration on the skin of the human body and the newspaper on the wet test tube. Relate your answer to body temperature control.


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