Have an Ice Time (Transfer of Energy)

Posted by on January 4, 2011

Our science projects this year have all fallen under the broad umbrella of “Energy”. This art project seemed to fit the bill.

Food coloring
Cookie sheet or tray
Interestingly shaped household containers*:
mini loaf pans
paper cups
rubber glove
flexible molds
muffin tins

* Stay away from glass containers. You may need to dip them in warm water to loosen the ice, and now is not the time for a Lesson in Thermal Shock. Unless you want it to be, in which case, wear goggles and maybe some gloves… I’d probably skip it this time.

1. Place a drop of food coloring in each container, and then add water.
2. Freeze.
3. Release your frozen puckies onto a large cookie sheet or tray – the kind with a lip (this is important)  If the frozen puckies perversely prefer the security of their containers to, say, the destructive grasp of your little angel, just dip their container in warm water for a few moments and they’ll slide right out.
4. Give child the frozen puckies on tray.
5. Give your child things to shape the ice with.*
*Safety note: YOU know your child. If your child is accident prone, now is not the time to give him a screwdriver, hammer, and retire to the other room to catch up on Glee. Metal things like spoons and some hot water, plus supervision, is appropriate. Energetic stabbing motions with forks should be discouraged.

Possible Lessons for the Enterprising Parent (i.e. The Parent who Drives their Children Nuts):
1) What happens to the volume of water when it freezes? Mark the level of the water in your container(s) before freezing.
2) Transfer of Energy: Freezing involves a loss of energy. When the water freezes, where does the energy go? When it melts, where does the energy come from? Why does a spoon that’s been sitting in hot water melt the ice more quickly than the spoon sitting in ice water?
3) Which freezes faster? I know many of us have heard that hot water will freeze more quickly than cold. Formulate a hypothesis and test it! (hint: this is a good practice science fair project for the young ‘uns).
4) Try making a couple puckies with sugar water*. Does it freeze differently? Melt differently? Why?
*Maybe don’t let them play with the sugary puckies. Or maybe do – I don’t have to clean up after your children.

Visiting from Skip to my Lou? Be sure to let me know what you think!

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