With days below zero, snowflakes sprinkling from the sky and icy crystals on outdoor surfaces, it seems nature has provided the perfect outdoor classroom for ice experiments.
Right in their backyard are free opportunities for our children to develop hunches, theories and ideas about winter weather; Testing and journaling about their findings creating their own insightful observations.
First children need their own science journal, nothing expensive, just a pad to write and draw their hypotheses, their experiment and the conclusion they can draw from their experiment.
The following are easy science experiments with snow and ice that will get children interested in learning about nature's frozen wonders.
Growing and Exploding
When water turns to ice, it expands. There are a couple of simple experiments children can do that demonstrate this principle.
• For the first experiment take an empty can and fill it with water stopping about ½ to ¼ inch from the top of the can. Use a permanent marker to mark the water line on the outside of the can. Put the can on a tray or on aluminum foil and place it into the freezer, or right outside the back door. Leave the can in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. The ice will be higher than the water line and will appear to have grown overnight.
• Another experiment is an exploding bottle. Fill a plastic bottle (or paper milk carton) with water stopping about ¼ inch from the top. Replace the lid and sit the bottle in the freezer making sure the bottle is standing straight up. Leave the bottle in the freezer for at least a few hours. It will appear that the bottle has exploded because of the ice.
• Frost can be made with an empty can, crushed ice, and salt. First, fill an empty can (soup can, coffee can, etc) 2/3 full with the crushed ice. Spread about a teaspoon full of water on a piece of paper. Place underneath the can. Next, fill the remainder of the can with salt and mix with the ice. Keep mixing for a few minutes or until well mixed. Frost will start to appear on the outside of the can.
What you will need:
• black construction paper
• Magnifying Glass
Freeze your black paper and have it ready to go for the next snowfall. The frozen paper will keep your snowflake from melting. Next time it is snowing go outside and let some snowflakes land on the dark surface. Quickly, before they melt, examine the flakes with a magnifying glass.
What you'll need:
1 ice cube
A matchstick or small piece of yarn
Place an ice cube in the bowl, and fill the bowl with water.
Lay either a matchstick or a short piece of yarn across the ice cube.
Sprinkle salt on the ice cube. After a few seconds, grab the matchstick/yarn, and lift the ice cube out of the bowl like magic!
For more ice experiments see:
The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You! (Everything Kids Series) [Paperback]
Be sure to dress warm and wear gloves.