Melting ice experiments in kindergarten! After a shared reading activity, we how these students experimented with melting ice! FREE FILE TOO!
Incorporate Reading, Writing, and Inquiry to Get More Teaching in Your Day
I get it! A kindergarten classroom is busy! The demands seem higher and the time seems shorter. What if there was a way to incorporate reading, writing, and inquiry together? (PSST… and have a blast doing it!) Let me show you how!
Recently, I was working with students in a lovely kindergarten classroom. I wanted to do a shared reading lesson, a writing lesson, and an exploration activity. Oh, and I had about 45 minutes to accomplish these. This was surprisingly simple. This was my plan:
- Conduct a shared-reading activity where students would be asked to use their word attack strategies to guess the word that I had hidden. We would briefly discuss these strategies as we worked our way through the text.
- Students would then build a snowman out of ice.
- Students then would join me for an interactive writing lesson exploring the steps we took to build the snowman.
- We would then explore the effects of different solutions on ice.
I love using the Let’s Find Out Magazine for shared reading.
Before the lesson, I went through the text and covered a few words with a post-it note. Since this book follows a text pattern and the final words on each line rhyme, this first word was a sinch!
The final page of the text has a change in pattern, so these words were not as simple.
If you are not familiar with this activity, essentially, students guess the word that is covered. For this first word I got the following guesses: Goodbye, See you, Oh! No! We talk about the strategies readers use when they come to a word they do not know (look at the picture, think about what would make sense). Naturally, they squealed with delight when they discovered the word was “Goodbye.”
For the second word, they guessed: year, time, winter. When I peeled the sticky note over to reveal the “y” they cheered YEAR!!! I asked them how they knew it was “year” so quickly and they told me they got their mouth ready for the first sound.
During shared reading, I teach word attack strategies. These strategies are taught and practiced while we have a shared text. Then when students are in my small group, I reminded them of the word attack strategies we have already learned and ask them to use them when they come to a word they do not know.
I had filled balloons with water and placed them in my deep-freeze at home. I made 1 larger balloon and 1 smaller balloon per set of partners.
When we were done with the shared reading, it was time to make our snowman.
Students cut and peeled the balloon from the ice. Then they used salt to melt the two ice balls together.
Now… do you see this sad slumpy snowman? Let me tell you what went wrong. When I tested this out a week ahead of time. I filled 2 balloons with water and placed them in my freezer. They sat squarely on the freezer shelf. So once they were frozen, they and a semi-flat surface. When I made the class set, I filled the balloons with water and placed them in a bag. Then I placed the bag in the freezer. They were so LUMPY! GAH! They looked like old pillows!
HINT: Freeze the balloons on a flat surface. You will want to give them 48 hours to freeze solid.
No worries… we made a nice bed for our snowmen to sit on. Paper towels to the rescue. (Pretend you meant to do that!)
Once the head was on and the ice and reformed. This takes a few minutes… so…
I love interactive writing! So since we were waiting for Mr. Snowman to get his head on straight, we quickly did a little mini-lesson. I drew 3 little squares and asked the students to remind me of the steps we had taken to make our snowman. I quickly drew a picture in each box.
Then we came up with our first step. We decided on, “First, we opened the balloon.” We repeated the sentence many times in different voices (monster, mouse, opera singer…), then we counted the words in the sentence.
I drew a line for each word and invited a few friends to share the pen.
Once we were done with our shared writing, the students completed their own writing.
Give That Man a FACE!
We were ready to decorate our snowman! I used a hole punch to make black dots out of construction paper and gave the students a piece of orange construction paper so they could make a nose.
I cut up one washcloth to make a class set of scarfs.
TA DA! He has no idea what is about to happen!
A few snowmen participated in the next part of our lessons.
Melting Ice Experiments
I decided to move the men over to the sink.
We talked about how the salt melted the ice a bit so we could fuse the two ice balls together. I explained that water freezes at 32 degrees but saltwater needs it to be colder in order to freeze and that is why it melted. I brought a few other liquids with me.
We tested salt water, vinegar, and alcohol (I was asked if it was the alcohol that adults drink… um… no… it was rubbing alcohol… great question!)
Melting Ice Observations
Then we observed!
The alcohol has a lower freezing point, so the ice melted faster.
Hindsight is 20/20
All in all, this experiment went well, HOWEVER, here are a few things you might want to try when you do it.
- Put the ice in a solid bowl. Can you guess what happened to the paper bowl when I put the alcohol in it? Not… good! My melting ice experiments quickly turned into my melting bowl experiments…lol!
- For faster results, you may want to submerge the snowmen in their liquid.
Give These Ice Melting Experiments a Try!
You can download the ice melting experiments recording pages by entering your email in the box below. The files will be sent directly to your inbox.
This article originally appeared on Scholastic’s Top Teacher Blog.
Looking for other snowmen ideas?
- Snowman at Night (Free Lesson Too!)
- The Snowy Day Activities and Lesson Plans for Kindergarten & First Grade (Free File)