this Daily Classroom Special:
Science to Go provides easy yet meaningful
science activities for grades k-8. Science to Go was written
by Barbara Smith, Magnet Coordinator at Harvard Elementary, Houston
(TX) and former Teachers Network web mentor.
Ice Cube House
Problem-solving, following oral and written directions, express
data and information in appropriate form, make measurements using
relationships to standards.
Identical ice cubes, balance (optional), watch, household items
(see 4B), tape, stapler.
- Put an ice cube on a table or student desk and ask children
to estimate the time it might take to completely melt.
- Allow students to observe and record melting time.
- Ask students to think of some ways to speed up or slow down
the melting rate. Have them record their ideas.
- Ask them to design and construct an "Ice Cube House" that will
prolong an ice cube's "life." The design speculations are that:
- the "house" must fit in a shoebox (have one to show them),
or no larger than a loaf of bread
- they must use materials found at home (not buying anything
new). I encourage them to use discarded materials such as
styrofoam, plastic wrap, empty soda bottles, cardboard, to
name a few.
- Have students build their designs in class or at home.
- Distribute identical ice cubes and place in houses.
- Every 5 minutes, quickly examine ice cubes (without touching,
if at all possible). When you have 3 evident finalists, weigh
their ice cubes, or view ice cubes at smaller time increments
so as to determine the best insulation design.
- Have students examine designs that protected the finalists'
ice cubes. What do they have in common? Why did they work better?
- Ask students what this has to do with real life. Which situations
call for an object to be kept cool? How do we keep items hot or
cold? What do we have in our homes and schools that are insulated?
Related Web Sites
Association: What is insulation? History, uses of, careers.
Click on Home Improvement Applets! This is an excellent web site for
combining math and science in real-life application. Students can figure
area for insulation, paint, carpet, wallpaper, tile, fencing, etc.,
and after sampling local costs for these materials, you can have them
submit "bids" or "contracts" for homeowner remodeling.
FX Design Demonstration: Mix and match roofing and siding textures
A Pizza Box Solar Oven: Directions for making (and insulating!)
a simple and unique solar oven.