Wild Wonders Snow Science: Where Does It Melt First?



Snow is all around us in winter. If you pay attention, you can notice some pretty cool things about snow and how it ‘behaves’ under different conditions.

Be a Snow Scientist!


    • Black paper
    • White paper
    • Dark colored materials from nature

Before You Explore:

Consider: Does snow melt faster in different places? Predict: Will snow melt faster on a dark surface or a light surface?

Connect with Nature:

  • Bring two equal-sized pieces of black and white paper outside to find some snow!
  • Put the two pieces of paper next to each other on a flat surface outdoors (where they won’t blow away).
  • Add a handful of snow to each piece of paper, then smooth it out into equally thin layers.
  • Predict: Which paper do you think the snow will melt fastest on? How fast will it take for it to melt completely?
  • Make a note of the temperature outdoors. Leave your snow papers for a few minutes (or hours depending on how cold and sunny it is outside) and then check back on them. What did you discover? 
  • Try this experiment again on a cloudy day and again on a windy day. Take note of the outdoor temperature. Are the results the same or different?

Dive Deeper!

Take your findings to the next level and make nature art with melting snow!

Go outside and collect items in nature that are dark colors. Think black, grey, brown, and dark green. Examples might be acorns, branches, leaves, and pinecones. Once you’ve collected these items, find a patch of snow (or ice) and lay the objects down to make your own design, mandala swirl, or maybe even your name – the possibilities are endless! This project is ideal for a day with not much wind and plenty of sun.

After you create a design, leave the objects in place and come back to check on them in an hour, a few hours or a day. Lift up a few of the materials to peek underneath. What do you see?

What happens to the snow underneath your art? How does this relate to the snow you placed on the black and white paper earlier?

Be sure to send us a picture of your discoveries!