Make it melt

Have you been grabbing treats and ingredients out of the freezer? While you’re there why not grab some ice to experiment with?

  1. Freeze a tray of ice cubes.
  2. Set up your objects in a space where nothing is sitting in the sun or too close to the heater. We want everything to be about the same temperature.
  3. Make a prediction about which surface the ice cube will melt the fastest on. Which one do you think the ice cubes will melt the slowest on?
  4. Testing time! Place an ice cube onto each object. Watch to see in which order the ice cubes melt. You might be surprised at how fast some melt!

Have a feel of the dry areas of your objects. Do they all feel the same temperature? They are actually the same temperature; your room temperature. The reason they don’t necessarily feel like they’re the same temperature is because heat moves more easily through some things than others. For example, heat moves really easily through metal, so if it’s cooler than your hand and you touch it, the heat moves out of your hand into the metal easily. That cools down your hand, so it feels cool.

On the flip side though, if it’s hotter than your hand, that heat could flow really easily into your hand and heat it up, which is why it’s easy to burn yourself quickly on metal. Metal is what we call a good conductor of heat. When heat moves slowly through a material, it’s called an insulator. An oven mitt is a good insulator as it protects your hand from heat moving into it when you are cooking.

Our Scienceworks challenge to you

Using your new knowledge on insulators, design an icy pole keeper- something that would slow down the speed of your icy pole melting on a hot, sunny day. What about an icy pole melter? Draw, build or describe your design and share it with us!

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