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February 1, 2010 Snow Day! Science Activities with Leftover Snow and Ice By Stacey Burt


    O.K., so school has been out for two days and everyone has cabin fever. Here are a couple of ideas for not only your students, but perhaps your own children as well. Just what the meteorologist ordered, some cool science experiments using all that left over snow and ice.

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    As I sat at home today wondering if school would be canceled again tomorrow, I thought I might spend some time investigating practical scientific uses for all the leftover snow and ice around my house and classroom. I actually found some pretty interesting ideas. Ironically, had I known about the first one I’m going to mention, I probably would have re-thought the picture I posted with this blog. So here they are, some neat stuff to do with snow and ice:

    1. How clean is snow? Really?

    Gather some snow, about 3-4 cups and melt it using a pan and a hot plate. Cover a bowl or cup with something porous like layers of paper towel and secure with a rubber band or tape. Pour the melted snow through the layers of paper towels. Look for sediment or other particles left behind on the paper towels. If doing this with students, instruct them to gather snow from different locations around the school and at various levels in packed ice and snow (just to change some variables). They can make predictions about which snow they think might be the cleanest and which they would be willing to consume before melting and straining. This idea was discovered on the following website, http://www.suite101.com/blog/elho2/snow_and_ice_experiments_and_fun.

    2. Growing your own snow crystals.

    I haven’t tried this one, so I am providing the link. It involves dry ice so there would be prep time involved. This one doesn’t use left over snow and ice, but was too cool not to mention. Check it out. http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/project/project.htm

    3. Comparing the density of snow, ice, and water.

    This activity infuses a lot of math into the experimentation. For the detailed lesson(s) I have provided the link: http://astro.uchicago.edu/cara/southpole.edu/flaky.html

    Finally, did you know that there is a National Snow and Ice Data Center? You probably did, but being a southern girl, I had no idea! On their site there are numerous ideas for activities and research, as well as “cool” facts all about snow and ice. Here is the link: http://nsidc.org/snow/index.html


    Warm Wishes-

    Stacey

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