We had snow/sleet in Houston last week! My kids and I were so excited to see it and play in it because snow is rare for us. Naturally, we wanted to take the snow inside to experiment with too. We did several snow related activities over our two snow days and I’ll share them in the next few posts so you can try them with your kids too!
First up, is a super easy but also very interesting activity of watching snow melt! We collected a mason jar full of snow (or sleet in our case), then let it sit in our kitchen at room temperature to slowly watch it melt. We checked on it about once an hour until it was completely melted. My kids were very surprised by what was left in the jar once the snow all melted.
When collecting snow, please be mindful of your surroundings and weather conditions. Wear appropriate winter clothing for the temperatures, watch your step and beware of ice (we had ice on our back patio and nearly slipped and had a bad fall on it).
- Mason jar (or clear container or cup)
- Go outside on a snow day and fill the mason jar up to the top with snow
- Bring the jar inside and place it in an open space where you can observe it as the snow begins to melt.
- Check on the snow every hour or so to watch as the snow melts and observe what happens.
STEAM Concepts Learned:
My kids were most fascinated to see how much less volume the water (melted snow) took up in the jar than the snow.
Snow is less dense than water, but has more volume. On the other hand, water is more dense, but has less volume than snow. When snow forms, the water molecules become still in a hexagonal pattern. In this pattern the water molecules are further apart than as a liquid when they are constantly moving. Also there is air taking up space between the snowflakes in the jar.
When the snow melted to water the molecules begin moving closer together and take up less space in the mason jar. You should observe a significant decrease in volume from snow to water as we did.
Your kids will also observe snow change state from a solid to liquid as it melts. Water changes state from ice to water above 32oF. Since it was a comfortable 72oF inside, the snow began to melt quickly.
My kids were also surprised to see how much debris from the backyard was in the snow. It wasn’t obvious how much was in there when we collected the snow, but once it melted we found some small leaves and sticks in our water.
This activity is so easy and effortless to try with your kids on a snow day. They will have fun checking on the snow as it melts throughout the day and they learn a lot too! Are you going to do try this at home soon?
After you do this activity, check out my other Snow Day STEAM Activities too!