Around my house, we are BIG fans of the PBS Kids show Sid the Science Kid. Between the catchy songs, silly jokes, and cool science experiments featured, the show is a favorite for both of my little ones! I love it as well – after watching just one episode, my daughter was fully able to explain the concept of inertia, which is something I’m pretty sure I didn’t quite catch on to until I was halfway through my junior year of physics.
Last week we watched an episode that discussed reversible change, which is the fancy scientific name for changing between the states of matter – in this case, going from a solid to a liquid and back again. The show featured an experiment that looked super easy and fun, so my daughter and I decided to give it a shot!
You will need:
- A container (we used Tupperware)
- A freezer
First, we put a little bit of water into the container and let it freeze. Full disclosure, we both got a little over eager and didn’t let it freeze long enough, so we had to start all over again. Patience is the name of this game. After it’s frozen, add your fruit of choice, then cover that with more water and refreeze. Pro tip: don’t fill the container all the way up to the top with water! When water freezes it expands, and you don’t want to crack whatever vessel you are using.
Once you have a solid block of ice, let the fun begin! We took ours outside, and I had my daughter try to figure out how she could get the fruit out. Second full disclosure: I told her the fruit was her snack for the afternoon, so she was very motivated to get it out! She tried chipping away at the ice, and breaking the ice, and after some unsuccessful but silly attempts we went and got some hot tap water.
Since the fruit was closer to the top of the ice block, it didn’t take long before the hot water melted the ice and the fruit was visible. Every few pours we would pause and look at the ice to see how it was changing – this step can be omitted if your child is hungry or impatient. After she wrestled most of the fruit out I let her play with the water and ice to see how she could change the shape of the block, and then we talked about what would happen to the water if we stuck it back in the freezer. Final disclosure of the day: I originally forgot to take pictures of the beginning of the experiment, so we had to refreeze what was left of our block and got to see reversible change in action again!
Set up: easy.
Length of time needed: anywhere from five minutes to 30 minutes, depending on how long you can stretch it (plus freezing time).
Mess factor: fairly low, especially if done outside.
Fun factor: my daughter loved it the first time we did it, but the “coolness” (no pun intended!) had already worn off some by the second go ’round. I can’t see this holding the attention of a child much older than five.