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Selling Our Insulated Long Undies

data | hook | main | background & resources | student

Author Contact Information

Peter M. Amati, Jr.
Holliston High School
Holliston, Ma. 01746
School Phone 508-429-0677

In this activity students will use information from the previous four activities ("What Makes Good Long Undies", "Warm and Toasty", "Suck It Up" and "Who is Average") to decide which type of material would be best for designing insulated underwear for a trip to Antarctica. and to determine the mass and cost for each set of male and female underwear. Marketing of the underwear will also be looked at.

The students will:

  • determine the mass of a set of underwear (made from each material type that student tested) needed to fit the average sized female and male.
  • determine the cost of a set of underwear (made from each material type that student tested) needed to fit the average sized female and male.
  • come to a consensus as to which of the 16 samples of materials investigated, from three different parameters, will be the best to make insulated underwear to sell to the US Polar Program's support contractor, A.S.A. (Antarctic Support Associates).
  • formulate a marketing "catch phrase" for their parcticular material.
  • produce a poster designed to sell the insulated underwear made from the materials they found to be the best for use as insulated underwear.

Grade Level/Discipline
Grades 9-12, but may be adapted to middle school Physical science and general science classes.

National Standards

  1. Strand 1 Inquiry #'s 1 - 34
  2. Strand 2 Domains of Science
  3. Physical Science #'s 20
  4. Earth and Space Science #'s ,63, 65
  5. Strand 3 Technology #'s 2, 6, 10, 15, 16, 18, 19, 27, 32, 37, 38, 40, 53, 54, 56, 60, 61, 62, 63, 78,
  6. Strand 4 Science Technology and Human Affairs #'s 2, 3, 10, 11, 15, 16

Pre-activity set-up

  • have a representative from the class go to a local piece goods shop and get the cost, per squared yard, of each of the materials used in class
  • obtain a balance
  • obtain a meter stick


Time Frame
Two class periods (approximately 55 minutes per period)

Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity)
Have kids look at the following web site. HTTP://www.goremilitary.com/1stgen.html

This site shows the physical requirements that the US military has set up for its contractors to meet in the designing extended cold weather gear, This site should show the kids that what they investigated is not only real; but, is also only a small portion of the "characteristics" that go into making clothing.

Have the PIs take charge of the discussion, there has to be a leader Discussion should center around how the mass of a set of underwear and how the cost of a set underwear, for an average sized female and male, can determined.

Have PIs , using a consensus of groups, lay out one protocol that is to be followed by all groups. A protocol that works is:

  • mass the piece of material they have been working with.
  • measure the length and width of the material sample and determine its area.
  • calculate the mass/unit area and multiply by the total area of the average female and average male to get the mass per set.
  • convert cost per square yard to cost per square centimeter.
  • Multiply the cost per square centimeter by the total area of the average female and average male.

(N.B. Lots of math here. But, great mileage! This demonstrates to the kids the need to do conversions from one system to another, as well as to apply math skills.) This will give the cost of materials.

Allow class to run the protocol that was agreed upon.

Tabulate data sets showing mass per set of underwear (male and female) and cost per set of underwear ( male and female)

Explanation (Discussing)
Have the class present their advertising posters that promote the underwear designed from the material they found to be the best for the purpose at hand. Use the best individual poster as a model for the sale of the material that the entire class found to be the best. Individual research teams will try to sell their best material and a consensus will be reached as to which is the best marketing scheme. This scheme will then be used to market the best material from the entire class.

Elaboration (Polar Applications)
Have kids check out the following web sites to see how professional companies market their insulated underwear. These will provide kids with some insight into marketing strategies.




Exchange (Students Draw Conclusions)

Evaluation (Assessing Student Performance)
Rubric dealing with the marketing scheme. that each team presents. Look for originality, neatness and overall marketability.

data | hook | main | background & resources | student