STEAM Saturday – Don’t Melt The Ice! (1/27/2024)

If you’re looking for a simple, fun, and educational indoor activity this winter, we’ve got you covered!  Your scientist-in-training will learn about the states of matter, how heat can transfer from one material to another, and insulation.

What happens when you take ice out of the freezer?  The air outside the freezer is warmer than the air inside, and the heat from the air transfers to the molecules in your ice cube.  This causes the molecules to gain energy, and leads the ice to turn from a solid to a liquid (water).

If the ice melts because warm air is touching it, how can we keep the warm air away so that the ice stays solid?  This is called insulation.  Challenge your child to discover which materials from around the house will do the best job of insulating ice and keeping it from melting.

Some materials you might be able to try include:

  • Styrofoam packaging
  • Cotton balls
  • Packing peanuts
  • Pom poms
  • Felt or other fabrics
  • Bubble wrap
  • Small towels

These are only a few suggestions.  Look around your house – the possibilities are endless!  You’ll also need containers to keep your ice and insulating materials in for your experiment.  Small plastic food storage containers will do the trick.

Set up several containers.  Keep one as a control and place a single ice cube in an otherwise empty container.  Let your child decide what materials should go in each of the other containers.  He or she can try one at a time, or a combination of several together.  Wrap your insulation around an ice cube in each container, put the lid on, and move the containers away from heat sources or sunlight.

Check on your ice cubes every 10 minutes and record the amount of melting in each container.  Compare the results to the ice in the control container.  Which works the best?

Check out the full experiment, more of the science behind it, and get a printable recording sheet from Frugal Fun 4 Boyz 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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