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Ocean Themed Ice Experiment

What makes ice melt faster? Let’s investigate with a very easy ice melting experiment that kids of all ages can enjoy. It’s a great science activity for the younger age like Preschool, kindergarten, and elementary-age. Ice experiments are always a fun, fast science addition to add to your curriculum. We love easy science experiment for kids! Ice is a great way to explore physical changes, specifically states of matter, and changing from liquid to solid and vice versa.

For this experiment we used containers with separators so I could put out materials in the empty spaces after freezing the ice with the toys in it. It made things easier all around. You could easily do this using small ice cubes, but I wanted to have something big enough to hold the toys as well.

Quick fact: Did you know that ice freezes at 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit?

What we explored /questions to ask with this experiment:

What makes ice melt faster?

What slows the melting process?

Why does salt melt ice?

What happens when each substance is added to the ice block?

Investigate what makes ice melt faster, by adding several different solids to your ice.

YOU WILL NEED:

Ice blocks/cubes I add toys and other prizes to ours to make it a bit more fun.

Salt

Sand

Baking soda

Sugar

Flower

Stopwatch or clock to determine when to check on the experiment

SET UP: Very easy….

1: Cover the tops of each ice block with the salt, sugar, flour etc leaving one block with nothing as the control.

2: Set the timer to check back on the ice cubes every 30 minutes (or however long you choose) over 2 or more hours and record your results. Then draw your conclusions.

What caused the ice to melt fastest?

Addition: Set a timer and record how long it took each material to melt the ice, then turn the data into a graph. Try adding solids of your own choice and record that data too!

It’s no surprise that salt was fastest with baking soda coming in second since it’s a type of salt and can lower the freezing point of water. However it is a powder. Sand didn’t do much, and the flower slowed the melting process.  

So why does salt melt ice? Ice melts faster when salt is added because the salt lowers the freezing point of the water, this is called freezing point depression. When added to ice, salt dissolves in the film of liquid water that is always present on the surface, therefore lowering its freezing point below the ices temperature, and that’s why the ice that’s in contact with salty water melts. As it melts it then creates more liquid, which dissolves more salt, causing even more ice to melt, and so on. The more salt you add the lower the freezing point and the faster the melting process.  

Can you keep ice from melting?

Everyone knows that when you remove ice from the freezer, it will melt over time, but have you ever thought about why it happens? The air around the ice cubes is usually warmer than the ice and it causes the ice to change into water.

If you don’t want the ice to melt, you need to keep the warm air away from the ice by using an insulation of some kind. Some good insulators to try are felt, newspaper, and/or wool. Insulation prevents the transfer of heat to the ice so the ice crystals stay icy and cold longer.

Insulation is also used to keep our homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer! Insulation can keep us at a comfortable temperature when the temperature drops and when it rises!

For some added educational fun, try out a quick experiment to see if you can prevent ice from melting. Try using the inhalators suggested above and/or some of your own ideas! Check out the photos from our ice project below!

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