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Snowed In? Get your science fair project done!

Posted by on January 21, 2012

Do Science with SNOW!

It snowed last night in Maryland, so all soccer games were cancelled. (Yes, our club teams are playing “winter league” so we have kids playing 11 v 11 outdoor games even in January!) Anyway, if you find yourself snowed in – or with an unexpectedly clear schedule – then you could do some science!

Ideas for a project include:

Part I – Question: What substance makes snow melt the fastest?

Variables: Independent = various substances; Dependent = time it takes snow to melt

Experiment: Get several identical containers (yogurt cups, soup cans, drinking glasses, etc). Fill each with the same amount of snow. Put some “substances” sand, salt, sugar, chili powder, etc. on top and start a timer. Make sure you have 3 containers with nothing on top (that is your control) and 3 containers for EACH substance you test.

Part II – Variations:

A. Does the amount of _____ affect the time it takes the snow to melt?

Experiment: Once you have identified the best substance in Part I, vary the amount (i.e. thickness or total quantity) you put on top – don’t assume more always equals better!

B. Does where the substance is applied affect time to for snow to melt?

Experiment: Using the “best” substance identified in part I, apply some to the bottom of the container, and some to the top. This is relevant because sometimes cities “pre-treat” the roads in anticipation of snow – you would be evaluating if that is effective or not.

C. Does the location of the snow affect the melting time?

Experiment: Using the substance identified in part I, go outside – mark off 3 areas that you know are on grass vs. 3 areas that are on pavement. The watch (and photograph) the areas to see which melts first.

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