Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Science Camp: Don't Melt the Ice Cube

See who can engineer the best icebox.

For this activity, I like to have students begin with uniform boxes, but it probably isn't crucial.

The students will each be given an ice cube their goal is to keep as much of the ice cube frozen as is possible.  I place each ice cube in a small zip-top bag in order to contain the water, which allows you to record quantitative data, as well as contains the mess.

I lay out all sorts of materials for students to use in their icebox creation:
  • fabric
  • yarn
  • newspaper
  • aluminum foil
  • waxed paper
  • plastic wrap
  • cotton balls
  • balloons
  • napkins
  • markers
  • wood shavings
  • packing peanuts
  • cotton batting
  • anything else you find lying around

The students can use the materials in any way they see fit - to wrap around the outside of the box or place inside the box with the ice cube.  Make sure the students' initials are located on the box somewhere. 

After the boxes are complete and the ice has been placed inside, the boxes are taken outside and placed in a shady spot.

After an hour (or other designated period of time) has passed, return the the boxes and observe the ice cubes.  For older students, you can pour off the melted water and measure it to determine who had the least ice melt. 

This activity could be added to your Water Fest, or done independently.

If you'd like to do this activity with your class, but it's the middle of winter, you could place the boxes under a heat lamp.  Or, just leave them sitting in the classroom (but you'll want to wait longer than an hour before checking on them).

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