- Ice Cube Tray(s)
- Other liquids (optional)
- Small plastic cups (large enough to hold a single ice cube)
The goal of this experiment is to introduce your children to two of the states of matter – solids and liquids. They will observe how water turns from solid (ice) to liquid (water).
- Several hours before you wish to begin your experiment, fill an ice cube tray with water. Plop one marble into each compartment. Freeze.
- After the ice cubes have frozen, take each cube and place it in a separate cup.
- Go outside with your child and have them place the cups in various locations around your yard. Have them place the cups in a variety of different locations. (For Example: #1 Under the shade of the oak tree. #2 On the deck rail in the sun. #3 In a planter under some leaves.)
- Every 5-10 minutes, have your child check on each cup. As they go around the yard observing the ice cubes, have them watch to see which ice cubes begin to melt first. You can even have them guess (make a hypothesis) about which ice cube they think will release the marble first!
- Have your child continue checking the cups until all the cubes are melted and all the marbles are released.
- Ask your child why they think certain ice cubes melted first and why some melted last. All of the ice cubes were made of the same ingredient – water. However, the locations of the ice cubes were all different temperatures based on sun exposure. Ice cubes in the sun heated up the cups and melted those ice cubes more quickly than ice cubes in the shade.
Extension for Older Children:
- As an extension of this experiment for older children, freeze a variety of other liquids in ice cube trays. (Make sure to label them if they are the same colors!) Have your child place cups of these cubes around the yard.
- For example, in each location, place one cup with juice cubes, one cup with water cubes, and one cup with soapy water cubes.
- Have them check the cups every 5-10 minutes or so to determine whether or not certain types of liquid will melt more quickly from solid to liquid form!