Monday, February 28, 2011

Ice, water, and vapor

J has taken interest in learning about the phases of water.  This also correlates well with our unusually late wintery weather.  Sorry, despite the everyday fascination we've had with ice for the past three weeks, we don't have pictures of the fun yet (if I get them, I'll update this post).

Ice (solid):

Have your child help you fill ice trays with water.  Wait a day.  Have your child accompany you to the freezer to check on the water.  Whoa!  What happened?  Where did the water go?  What is in its place?

How does the ice feel on your skin?

If you have an icy patch in your area (it's unusual here, but I found a few this morning), have your child slowly walk across it with your assistance.  Ask him/her what is different about walking on the sidewalk without ice versus walking on the ice on the sidewalk.  I've also stuck an ice cube on the ground and held J on top of it, and we went "ice skating" around our kitchen linoleum.

How long does it take for an ice cube to melt?  What happens as it melts?  What does the ice cube turn into?

What happens to room temperature tap water when you add an ice cube or two or three?  How long does it take for the ice to disappear?  If you're advanced (and have a more patient kid than mine), take the temperature of the water before and after the addition of ice.  If you want to be really nerdy like us, take multiple temperature readings and plot the results.

*Note, snow also works as a solid form of water.  We were close to getting snow this past weekend, but the moisture stayed in the ocean.  However, J's face sums up how we feel about the cold (let alone the fake snow behind him).

Water (liquid):

We have the liquid part of water down!  (see Puddle Jumping)

Vapor (gas):

When it stops raining, what happens to all of the puddles?  This has been J's biggest concern this week.

Why can't you see vapor?

Fill a bucket with water and measure the contents daily.  Of course, include your child in the measuring process.  Keep track of your evaporation progress.  Make a nifty graph to show off your results.

Other People's Phases of Water Experiments**:
Preschool Rainbow suggests adding food coloring to the water pre-freezing.  Then let the toddlers play with the bags of ice/water as they melt during the day.
Parenting Science has a few more ideas for ice experiments, including test ice melting in the shade vs. the sun.
Science for Preschoolers has an experiment about creating rain using a frozen mirror and a kettle.
Suite101 suggests comparing 5 inches of snow to 5 inches of rain.  Are they equal?  Why not?

**Note, I haven't tried these yet, but am bookmarking for a less hectic time in our lives.

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