Snow is all around us in winter, but how much do we know about it? In this edition of Snow Science, you’ll look at snow like a scientist and do some simple experiments that help you understand snow better than most people!
Make a Snow Stick!
- Wooden paint stir stick (Lowe’s has super long ones!)
- Crayons or permanent markers & craft supplies
- Ruler or measuring tape
- 2 clear cups or jars
Before You Explore:
Consider: Do you know what snow is made of? Is it all water? How much of snow is … air?
Check out this cool video about how snow crystals are formed: http://bit.ly/snow_crystals
Connect with Nature:
- Collect your wooden paint stick, craft materials from home, and ruler or measuring tape.
- Measure out 1-inch increments on your stick, marking them with a permanent marker or crayon. Then number them, starting at the bottom with 1 and going up 2, 3, 4 as you move up the stick.
- Add designs or snowflake art to the measuring stick, and put aside to dry.
- Collect your two plastic cups/jars (they must be the same size) and head outside to find some snow!
- Pack snow tightly into one cup. Gently pile fluffy snow in the second cup.
- Use your Snow Stick to measure the height of the snow in each cup.
- Prediction: Using a crayon or permanent marker, mark a line on the outside of the cup showing where you think the water line will be when the snow melts.
- Bring both cups inside and wait for the snow to melt in both cups. Use your snow stick to measure the water in inches.
- What happened? Was the snow mostly water or mostly air?
Be a meteorologist! Find a place outside to put your Snow Stick for future storms. As the snow starts to fall, record in a journal how fast the snow if falling. Is the snow falling faster than 1″/hour? You can ‘report’ the snowfall to your family – you’re the family meteorologist!
Do another melting test to see how much of the new snow that has fallen is water and how much is air. Note the outdoor temperature each time you collect snow. Does the amount of water in the snow change at different temperatures?