You and Your Students!
Vicki Cobb, Education World Science Editor
Make snow from a cup of water on a very cold, dry day.
Physical Science, Weather
Setting the Scene (Background)
Anyone who skis knows that it’s possible to make snow. But you don’t need a snow gun to do it. All you need is a very cold (near 0° F) dry day. This activity is yet another great reason to live in cold climates! Included: a second activity you can do if there is fresh snow on the ground.
Since this experiment involves boiling water, you will want to do it as a demonstration. If students try this at home, be sure to warn them to do it with their parents’ assistance.
Carry a cup of boiling hot water outside. With a large motion, throw the water (not the cup) as high in the air as possible. (Be sure to aim your throw away from any students.) Watch carefully -- the water will turn into snow and fall to the ground.
Snow forms when tiny drops of water freeze in the air. There are several things you can do to ensure snowflake formation.
If you have snow on the ground in your area, try this experiment:
Believe it or not, many kids don't realize that snow is only water. Give each student a paper cup to pack with fresh snow. Have them bring the cup inside and let it melt. So little water from so much snow?! But they can prove it's water by drinking it. Snow melting is even more dramatic if you use a glass and microwave it for a second or so.
Behind the Scenes
A handful of factors affect snow formation:
Manmade snow is big business. Ski resorts rely on it when nature fails. Snowmaking was discovered in, of all places, Florida! In the 1950s, when some farmers were spraying crops with water to keep them from freezing, they sprayed too fine a mist and got snow. That surprise gave birth to a new industry. Today, snow guns spraying water under pressure can create enough snow to cover a mountain of ski trails.
Article By Vicki Cobb
Copyright © 2005 Education World