STEAM Corner with Ilena Marron: Let's Make Ice Melt

STEAM Corner with Ilena Marron: Let's Make Ice Melt

STEAM Corner with Ilena Marron

My name is Ilena Marron, and I have been a teacher at Heilicher for almost 20 years teaching third and fourth grade. This year, I took on the fun and new challenge of being the Makerspace Educator and the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator for Heilicher. I am loving both roles. I am also a parent of two children at Heilicher; one child is in fifth grade, and the other is in third. It has been so special to see my children thrive at a place I love to work. Below is a STEAM activity you can do with your kids. It is fun and easy (important) and can lead to more exploration. 

Let’s Make Ice Melt

Is it possible to make ice melt faster? Investigate the properties of ice with this hands-on science activity with your kiddos. 

You will be pouring different materials on the ice cubes and observing how that material interacts with the ice. You can do as many different materials as you want (you will need one ice cube per material).

Tray/cookie sheet
4 ice cubes 
4 containers/small bowls to hold each ice cube
4 small bowls/cupcake wrappers  for the materials measured
Corn meal
Measuring cups

Inquiry Question: Do you know what makes ice melt? What material do you think will help ice melt faster?

child pours cornstarch into containerSteps:

  1. Place one cube of ice into each container. You will want to use as many cubes and containers as you have materials to test. We tested corn meal, nothing, water, and salt.
  2. Have your child measure the same amount of each material to add to each container.
  3. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Pour materials on the ice cube, and start the timer.
  5. Examine the ice cubes when the timer goes off. 

Ask: Which cube melted the fastest? Which melted the slowest? What else did you notice about the ice cubes? 

STEAM Integration

Science: Some materials have insulating properties (flour, cornmeal), and others will make ice melt faster (water, salt). Kids will learn about the freezing point of water and what happens when different materials touch ice.

Technology: If desired, use a digital thermometer to test the ice’s temperature right out of the freezer and after spending 15 minutes in the material.

Engineering: Preschoolers will learn the basics of material construction and when they might want to use an insulating material or a dissolving material. You could talk about instances where engineers look for ways to prevent ice formation and when they try to encourage it.

Art: Add food coloring to the ice to make it even more colorful and highlight the differences in melting speed. What happens when two different colors melt together?

Math: Measure the same amount of material for each container.

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