Wild Wonders Snow Science: How Clean Is Snow?

Snow Experiment!


  • 2 clear cups or jars
  • 2 coffee filters
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Teaspoon of salt

 Before You Explore:

White and fluffy, snow looks pretty clean! But how clean is it really? What other things might be in snow?

Connect with Nature:

  • Collect your 2 clear cups, 2 coffee filters, and 2 rubber bands.
  • Place the coffee filter over the cup and push down gently so it sags into the cup.  Attach the edges of the cloth securely around the cup with a rubber band. (If the filter isn’t tall enough to secure with the rubber band, just keep the filter from slipping down into the cup.) Repeat with the second cup.
  • Head outside with your cups to find some snow!
  • First, find a place where you think that the snow is super clean. Scoop the clean snow into the coffee filter/cup until it reaches the top of the cup.
  • Repeat this step, but this time take snow from a place where you think that the snow is really dirty.
  • Bring both cups inside and watch the snow melt through the filter.
  • The filter works as a strainer, catching bigger impurities and not letting them pass through.
  • What did you discover? Did you find any impurities that you didn’t expect in the “clean snow”? How clean is it? Would you drink this water?

Dive Deeper!

Invisible Impurities: Take one of your cups and add the salt to the melted water. Mix well for a few minutes. What happens to the salt?

Some pollutants are clear, like salt they put on roads in the winter, so you can’t even see them! Would you drink this water now?

Skip eating the clean snow, and use it instead to make easy ice cream at home! Follow the first recipe linked here: http://bit.ly/icecream_frozenbysnow

Be sure to send us a picture of your discoveries!