Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Volume and Weight Experiment to observe melting and condensation

Summer Science for Kids

It’s summer time, but we MaryAnne @ Mama Smiles:Joyful Parenting developed a wonderful summer activities chart to keep her four kids occupied this summer. I pitched the same idea to Smarty, and she immediately picked “science” as one of the things that she wants to do daily. Unfortunately, it’s not really practically for us, since science requires time, and we work full time, but at least we are trying to fit science on the weekend. I love this particular project, because it gave my 6 year old to practice important skills for emerging scientists – ability to predict, observe, and explain what they see.

Teaching Kids to Predict Results

Volume and Weight Experiment - one cup of water and one cup of ice
We are consciously trying not to give Smarty answers to all her questions. Instead we ask her, What do you think will happen? or Why do you think this is so? We use the same approach in this simple science experiment that is very good for summer science. We filled one cup of a balance scale with crushed ice. Then Smarty carefully balanced it with water. Immediately she observed that water takes less space in the container than ice, and it was a good start to talk about how water expands when frozen and takes more space. I asked Smarty to predict where the level of water will be when ice melts. We did something similar before, and she was way off then. Now she predicted it to be on the same level with the other cup.


Condensation affecting balance of scales
Smarty, of course, didn’t sit around waiting for ice to melt, but she was measuring how long it takes. She also observed an important part – drops of condensation forming on a cup of scale with ice.

Explain Your Results

We had a surprising result in our experiment. A bucket with ice ended up weighing more even though the level of water was about the same in both buckets. Smarty’s first suggestion was that water had evaporated from the other bucket, but I pointed out to her that water levels are about the same. After thinking some more she declared that we were tripped by condensation. Iced-cold bucked was covered by droplets of water on the outside while certain insignificant amount of water possibly evaporated from the other cup where water was of room temperature in the beginning. I was quite impressed that she was able to explain the results by observing condensation – this summer science experiment worked out even better than my own initial prediction!

Think Like a Scientist Series

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Your Turn:

Share your experiments with water and ice!
I link this post to my favorite kid blogger link ups and share days.


An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

It would be interesting to follow that up by weighing equal volumes of various liquids to transition into a density discussion.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a cool experiment - literally! Love the condensation surprise finding, too!

We need to put science on our charts for next week, I think!

Christy Killoran said...

I love this! WE will definitely do it soon; we have that same balance.

Ticia said...

I need to get a good balance scale like that.

I love that experiment!

Joyful Learner said...

This has to be on my to-do list! You are a great after-schooling mom!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I love her insights! This looks like a great experiment.

Erica MomandKiddo said...

I really, really love that scale!

Kim @ The Educators' Spin On It said...

Thank you so much for sharing in the After School Linky Party, so good to see you sharing there again! You've been featured this week! Can't wait to see what else you're up to this summer!