Village Science - Teacher Edition



Teacher Edition Contents

Skill, Tools, & Craftsmanship

Cutting & Drying Fish
Nails, Pegs, & Lashings
Falling Trees &
     Small-Scale Logging
Chainsaw Clutch & Chain
Ice Pick


Wood Stoves
Wall Tents
Insulation & Vapor Barriers
Gas Lamps & Gas Stoves


Piloting A Boat
Boat Design
Magnetos & Spark Plugs
Outboard Motor Lower Unit

Outboard Motor Cooling System
Snowmachine Tracks
Snowmachine Clutch
Winter Trails


  1. Pour rubbing alcohol into your hand. Blow on it. Does it feel cold? Why? Try the same thing with a small amount of gasoline. Try now with water. Which cools your hand the most? What causes the cooling?

    It should feel cold from evaporation. Be careful with the gasoline, but it should feel cold too as it evaporates. Water will evaporate, but not as fast.

  2. Did/do people in your village whip themselves with brush in the steambath? If so, identify the type of brush used in your area.

  3. Bring a thermometer into the steambath. What is the temperature on the floor? At shoulder height? At ceiling height?

  4. Pour water onto the rocks. Does the temperature actually rise, or does it just feel hotter?

    The temperature rises, but most of the heat is released when the steam is condensed back to water, releasing it’s latent heat.

  5. Ask the people in your village about the best rocks for a steambath. Where do they get them? Ask them which rocks are not good, and why. Ask someone who knows about welding and cutting with an acetylene torch what they can tell you about cutting on concrete. Do you see any similarities?

    Concrete will explode if you heat it with a cutting torch. The water of hydration in the concrete is released, and turns to steam, causing the concrete to shoot in many directions.

  6. Try to clean grease from your hand with water. Try to remove it with soap. Soak the soap in water. Does it dissolve? Put the soap in a little stove oil, or vegetable oil. Does it dissolve? What can you say about soap dissolving in both oil and water?

    Soap is slightly soluble in both water and oil.

  7. Ask the oldtimers how they used to make steambaths when they were away from the village. They made a little hut from canvas or skins.

    They made a campfire and heated the rocks in the campfire, then shoveled the rocks into the steambath, removing them when they got cold, replacing them with hot rocks.

  8. Ask the oldtimers if there were other reasons for taking steambaths besides cleanliness.

    Steambaths were spiritual and social gatherings.

  9. Look up “igneous” and “sedimentary”. What is the difference in their formation?

    Igneous comes from fire, or volcanoes. Igneous rocks are generally ok for steambaths. Sedimentary rocks are formed when silt and gravel are deposited and pressed together. Sedimentary rocks often have a high water content, thus making them dangerous for steambaths.

Student Response

  1. How does perspiring help to cool us off in a steambath?

    Evaporation takes heat. When we perspire, the heat comes from our bodies

  2. Why do people whip themselves with brush?

    To increase circulation in the skin

  3. Why are rocks important in a steambath?

    They have enough mass to hold the temperature steady

  4. Why are white rocks desirable rather than black ones?

    White rocks have less moisture. They don’t explode like black ones

  5. Why is the bath hotter at the ceiling than on the floor?

    Warm air rises

  6. Why does soap work well to remove grease and oily dirt?

    It is partially soluble in both polar and nonpolar liquids

  7. What are polar and nonpolar substances?

    Polar substances have molecules that are out of balance electronically, like little magnets. Nonpolar substances are balanced


  1. My friend Joe takes a steambath every night of the week. From the time he makes the bath to the time he gets done it takes him about

  2. 1/2 hours. What fraction of his life is spent at the steambath.


Questions or comments?
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