Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Melting Ice Experiment

Here's a simple science experiment I tried with my 4 year old that you can also try out with your kids.  We setup a simple experiment to test how quickly ice cubes melt in different types of glasses/containers.  To start, you need a few ice cubes of the same size.  It's important to get ice cubes of the same size as different sized cubes will affect your results.  Then grab a few glasses of different sizes, shapes, and materials.  Put an ice cube in each glass/container and time how long it takes to melt.  Is there a difference?  If so, why might that be?  For example, we placed a cube in a glass and another cube in the same style of glass with foil wrapped around the sides.

The foil acts as a bit of an insulator, preventing energy (heat) from entering the glass and melting the cubes.  The cube inside the foiled glass lasted a couple of minutes longer than the regular glass.  Our next step is to cover the top of the glass with foil.  Does that make a difference?  We'll also place a cube in an insulated travel mug with and without a lid.  

For this experiment I recommend asking your child which glasses/containers to use.  Ask him/her to predict outcomes and then discuss/ask why the prediction came true or didn't come true.  A simple experiment such as this allows kids to see science in action, but also to make predictions and use their critical thinking skills. 

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