Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 things to do in a blizzard

One of my favorite MF devotees, C., wants to do somethings in the snow falling here in New England. Because Hurricane Sandy wasn't quite exiting enough, now we have a crazy N'or Easter pummeling us! Rather than whine, let's do some fun science.

Sadly, there is no where near enough snow yet to make a decent snowball but here are a few ideas to bring a little science to this snowstorm.

1. Snowflakes.  Put some black construction paper in the freezer, or just leave it out to get cold. Once it is cold you can catch snowflakes on it and look at them with a magnifier.

2. Tracks. The squirrels and birds are leaving lots of little tracks in the snow. What sorts of stories are they telling?  Can you leave a snow story with just tracks?  How do your tracks change as you run or jump?

3. Ice Cubes. Put out two ice cubes in cups or containers. Put one where you think it will stay frozen and the other where you think it will melt. Let them sit for a period of time, an hour or so. Then check your predictions. Did your predictions (guesses) turn out correct?  What do animals do to keep warm in the winter?  They usually add layers of fat and fir to stay warm and they make some sort of den to retain heat. Can you do that for your ice cube?  Did it help it melt faster?

4. Measure it!  Put out a can or cup with straight sides and wait for it to fill with snow. Using a ruler or stick, mark how full the container is by putting one end of the ruler in the container until it touches the bottom and marking how high up the snow went. Now let the snow melt. How much water was really in the snow?

5. What is in snow? Scoop up some snow and put it in a container to melt. Pour it through a coffee filter and see what was in it. Now try again with the cleanest snow you can find. How clean was the snow really?  Snowflakes usually form around some little tiny piece of dirt so no matter how clean the snow looks, the center has a speck of dirt.

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