Frosty Fun: Cold Weather Science Activity
Time melts away during this cool activity!
- Grades: PreK–K
During one of the coldest weeks of winter, students can hypothesize how long it takes a snowman to melt inside.
- Recording data
- Basic math and science concepts
- Jar of small pebbles
- Pie tin
- Tiny twigs for arms
The coldest two months of winter are a good time to play with snow. Let your students experiment and predict how long it will take for a snowman to melt inside.
Step 1: Tell students that they will build a small snowman. This snowman will have only two sections, a body and a head. Show them what the first ball looks like and build a snowman with them watching. Explain that they need to be able to bring the snowman inside in a pie tin. (You can have children work in groups and build several snowmen, if desired. You will need additional pie tins, twigs, and pebbles.)
Step 2: Once your students have made their snowman, have them decorate it with the small pebbles and the tiny twigs.
Step 3: Ask students how long it will take before the snowman completely melts. Time is a difficult concept for children to grasp at this age. Accept all predictions. The purpose of this activity is for students to observe, record data, predict, and think in a scientific manner.
Step 4: Write down each hour that passes. Show students how each hour passes on the clock. Make references to what they have already done in their daily routine. This will help them make sense of the passage of an hour or three hours. Ask questions, such as: “What will happen to the pebbles and twigs as the snowman melts?”
Remember: Time is a difficult concept for children to grasp and younger students’ predictions may be way off. You might give students a time limit on the number of hours they can guess.
On a day when it’s snowing, take children outside to catch snowflakes on pieces of black construction paper. Observe the snowflakes through a magnifying glass. Invite them to count the points on each snowflake and discover that, despite being shaped differently, each one has six sides or points. Using white tempera paint or a white crayon on blue paper, suggest that students draw and record a snowflake they observed. If it doesn’t snow, show students enlarged photographic reproductions of snowflakes.