STEAM Saturday – Christmas Snow Globe! (12/9/2023)

Snow Globe

We love the holiday season! For Thanksgiving, we had a super fun and silly lesson in physics with our Turkey Balloon Races, and last week, we learned about chemistry when we made Hanukkah Slime! This week, we’re getting in the Christmas spirit and exploring viscosity, light refraction, and gravity while making bubbly Christmas Snow Globes!

Snow GlobeThere is a world of science hidden inside your snow globe!! First, let’s talk about viscosity. Normally, snow globes are made only with water. You shake the globe and watch as the “snow” quickly falls to the bottom of the globe. Today, we are going to add a special ingredient, glycerin, to our snow globes. This increases the viscosity, or thickness, of the water, causing the “snow” to fall more slowly. You can experiment with the amount of glycerin you add to the water to get the perfect viscosity for your snowfall!

A snow globe is also a great opportunity to explore light refraction – the way light bends as it passes through an object. The shape of the snow globe causes the objects within the globe to look different at different angles.

Let’s start building our wintery, sciency wonderland! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Snow Globe or Globe Jar like this one
  • Mineral Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • Glitter
  • Small Plastic Christmas-Themed Objects (trees, presents, people, reindeer, etc.)
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Blue Food Coloring
  • Alka Seltzer Tablets
  • Water

First, glue your plastic objects to the floor of your globe (the lid) and sprinkle your glitter into your empty snow globe. Next, add your mineral oil, filling your globe about 5/6 of the way. Dye some water blue, and fill up the remainder of the globe with your blue water.

Now, for a little chemistry demonstration… Crumble up your Alka Seltzer tablet, sprinkle it in your snow globe, and quickly screw on the lid and turn it upside down. The Alka Seltzer will react with the oil and water, causing a cool lava lamp effect in addition to your falling snow! You can repeat this effect whenever you’d like – just add in another tablet.

Check out the full experiment and more of the science behind it from STEAMSational HERE.

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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