Challenge the children to use melting ice to create a work of art.
Early Learning Goal links
Understanding the World ELG: Past and Present – Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society;
Understanding the World ELG: The Natural World – Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Expressive Arts and Design ELG: Creating with Materials
– Safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function;
– Share their creations, explaining the process they have used;
STEM vocabulary to introduce
Freezing, cold, solid, hard, melting, wet, dripping, smooth, shiny, white, crystals, see through, cloudy, colours, mixing
What to do
Fill up your ice cube trays with coloured water and put them in the freezer overnight.
You may want to check whether your food colouring stains fingers before you use it.
Put a few of each of the different coloured ice cubes in the centre of the tough spot or tray, with paper around the ice cubes ready to use. You will probably want to keep some of the ice cubes in the freezer for later.
Encourage the children to draw on the paper using the different coloured ice cubes. Remind the children put the ice cubes down when they are too cold for their fingers!
Questions to ask to support and extend learning
You could ask:
- What does the ice feel like? What does it look like?
- What is happening to the ice cubes?
- Why is the ice leaving a trail?
- What happens when you mix the ice cube trails?
- What is happening to the paper?
- What do you think this ice is made from?
Other things to try
Remember to refer to the children as geologists and praise them for using the attributes. You could say things like:
“You have been curious like a glaciologist by investigating the different ways you can use ice to draw on your page…”
“Well done, you observed how the ice melting made coloured water for you to draw with…”
” You have been resilient, like a glaciologist, touching that cold ice!”
The science of melting ice
We have put together some useful information about the science of melting ice to accompany this activity. Don’t worry this is for your information only and to help you answer any questions children may have. We don’t expect you to explain this to the children in your setting!
Why does ice melt?
Ice melts when the movement of the water molecules is enough to break the weak bonds between them. As the ice heats up the molecules start to move faster. At around 0 °C the movement of the molecules can break the bonds and the molecules can move further apart. The ice melts and forms liquid water.
Why does ice melt faster on the surface?
During melting, the water molecules absorb heat energy. This heat is transferred from the water, air or object surrounding or touching the ice and is why an ice cube melts more quickly on the outside and retains its coldness and solidity longer at the centre.
What you’ll need
- Food colouring
- Ice cube trays
- A freezer
- A tough spot or tray
- Thick paper – the melted ice will soak through thin paper easily, causing it to tear
- Painting with ice provocation
- The glaciologist poster
- 5 minutes preparation time.
- Freezing time
- 10 minutes or so to complete the activity