ice experiments: quick, easy (and on our driveway)

Lots has been going on over here this week, but the most exciting news has been the break in the heat.

Finally we’re able to get out and enjoy the sunshine a bit–and see what it can to ice on a 95-degree afternoon!

So after we came home from a local summertime fair, we took a few minutes to see what would help a few ice cubes melt faster–paper, foil, plastic, glass, or concrete.  In the spirit of Water Fun Week of our Smart Summer Challenge, it seemed to fit right in!

We had been talking about ice earlier, after I put a handful of cubes into Brady’s water bowl but wouldn’t let him take one out of the kitchen.  I don’t want a huge puddle of water on the living room floor, so keep Brady in the kitchen until the ice cube is gone, I said.

Cora asked what made it melt, and I told her that heat made the ice melt–but I thought I’d have her see for herself.

Here’s the super-quick, Smart Summer skinny:

  • Ice Experiments — Quick, Easy (and On Our Driveway):  This was no huge scientific experiment, don’t get me wrong. It was quick, and on the fly, and all I wanted was for Maddy, Owen, and Cora to see firsthand how ice melted on different surfaces.

I grabbed a piece of paper, a paper plate, a plastic plate, a glass bowl, and a piece of aluminum foil.  I put a few ice cubes in a bowl and we all went outside.


our ice experiment


The only spot of sun in our front yard was on the driveway, so we set up our experiment right smack dab in the middle of the driveway.

Cora put two ice cubes in the aluminum foil, two on the paper plate, two on the plastic plate, two in the glass bowl, and we had two left.  We put those last two on the driveway.

I said, Okay, my friends. We’ve got two ice cubes on the foil, two on the paper plate, two on plastic plate, two in the glass bowl, and two on the driveway.  What is your prediction–where do you think the ice will melt fastest? Think for a minute and let me know.

Cora called out, The driveway! It’s so hot on the driveway, and I think it will make ice melt fast. It’s already very, very hot.

Who’s prediction would be correct?


Maddy said, Maybe the metal will make it melt–metal gets hot the quickest. And I think that foil is like metal.

Okay, let’s see. We’ll check back in one minute, then five minutes, then ten minutes. And each time, we’ll see which is melting the most.


 Cora checks on our ice cubes. . . and the driveway was well ahead of the other spots.


We hung around out front for a bit, watering flowers, picking up the mail, and playing with the hose.

Owen made a river down the driveway, and Maddy and Cora set their stuffed animals in the tree.

Before we knew it, about five minutes passed, and we checked back with our experiment. Maddy, Owen, and Cora decided unanimously that the driveway was winning, then the foil, then the glass, followed by the plastic, then the paper.

And that’s really how it ended up–the hot driveway one hands down.

I asked them why they thought it made the ice melt fastest, and they said Cora was correct–that the driveway was so, so hot from so many hot days, that the ice cubes started melting from the beginning, compared to the other surfaces.  And they were right on target–go, Cora!

And that’s about as far as we got with the day’s Smart Summer learning-the kids got hungry, it was lunchtime, and they saw the ice melt–right on their very own driveway. Better there than on my living room floor!

Remember, it’s week 5 of our Smart Summer Challenge! You have ALL week–until late Thursday, July 28, 2011, to link up your ideas to win last week’s prize. SO worth it–so take a second and share your ideas for a chance to win BIG from LeapFrog!

We’re now only one week away from our HUGE giveaways which I cannot wait to share.  Please check out the skinny on our Smart Summer Challenge, the 6-week fun summer learning campaign I’m running with Candace and MaryLea, where we’re challenging all parents to do what they can to throw in a little bit of fun learning every day (or as often as they can!). And seriously–summer reading counts!! So link up your ideas through the whole week and win prizes.  That’s how much we love our readers and value summertime learning!




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