Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snow Pal Experiment

Want to make a snow pal, but it's still too warm this winter? Don't worry, you can try this snow pal experiment at home.  In this experiment, children explore the properties of water as they discover why snow pals melt. 
 Materials:  2 dishes or pie tins, crushed ice, baby carrots, small rocks, red sour punch straws/twizzlers/or pipe cleaners.
 Fill both dishes with crushed ice.

 Add two rocks to each dish to represent eyes.

 Add a baby carrot to each dish to represent the snow pal's nose.
 Add a sour punch straw for his smile.  (This would also be a good time to talk about symmetry, since you will be making both snow pals identical.)
 Explain to your child/ren that they will be putting their first snow pal in the freezer.  Questions to ask: Where should we put the snow pal so he can stay cold? How does it feel in the freezer?  Why should we put him in the freezer?  What do you think will happen to our snow pal when we take him out in a couple of hours?
The second snow pal will be placed outside.  In a couple of hours let your child revisit their snow pals and let them describe the changes they observe.  Questions to ask:  What happened to this snow pal?  How are the two snow pals different? How are they the same? Why did one snow pal melt? Why did one stay the same? (Remember when asking young children questions, don't be particular about "correct answers".  Also, give them time to ponder, they don't need to answer right away, give them a few minutes to think about what you ask them and accept their answers.)

***I will be updating in a few hours with the results of our two snow pals

 About 3 hours after I made our snow pals, I took the one snow pal out of the freezer and I took him outside to compare him to the other snow pal.
 Questions to ask:  How do our snow pals look?  What happened to the snow pal that was left outside? Why?
Be prepared for some interesting responses from your little ones.  For example, a child once remarked, "Ms. Maria, the ice melted but the rocks stayed the same!"  I replied, "Why do you think that happened?"  By asking them more questions instead of giving them the answers right away, it gives children a chance to think and find answers on their own.

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