Snow and Ice Science Projects

Snow and Ice Experiments and Projects

Explore snow and ice by making it, using it in science projects and examining its properties.

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Make Snow

child making a tiny snowman on a windowsill
Mark Makela / Contributor / Getty Images

The freezing point of water is 0 °C or 32 °F. However, the temperature does not need to get all the way down to freezing for snow to form! Plus, you don't have to rely on nature to produce snow. You can make snow yourself, using a technique similar to the one employed by ski resorts.

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Make Fake Snow

If it doesn't freeze where you live, you can always make fake snow. This type of snow is mostly water, held together by a non-toxic polymer. It only takes seconds to activate the "snow" and then you can play with it pretty much like regular snow, except it won't melt.

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Make Snow Ice Cream

You can use snow as an ingredient in ice cream or as a way to freeze your ice cream (not an ingredient). Either way, you get a tasty treat and can explore freezing point depression.

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Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake

Explore the science of snowflake shapes by making a model snowflake crystal using borax. The borax doesn't melt, so you can use your crystal snowflake as a holiday decoration. There are other shapes of snowflakes besides the traditional six-sided form. See if you can model some of these other snowflakes!

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Snow Gauge

A rain gauge is a collection cup that tells you how much rain fell. Make a snow gauge to determine how much snow fell. All you need is a container with uniform markings. How much snow does it take to equal an inch of rain? You can figure this out by melting a cup of snow to see how much liquid water is produced.

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Examine Snowflake Shapes

Snowflake on black background
Snowflakes show up best against dark backgrounds.

TothGaborGyula / Getty Images

Snowflakes assume any of a number of shapes, depending on temperature and other conditions. Explore snowflake shapes by taking a sheet of black (or other dark color) construction paper outside when it is snowing. You can study the imprints left on the paper when each snowflake melts. You can examine snowflakes using magnifying glasses, small microscopes, or by photographing them using your cell phone and reviewing the images. If you want the snowflakes to last long enough to photograph or examine, make sure your surface is freezing cold before the snow falls onto it.

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Make a Snow Globe

 Of course, you can't fill a snow globe with real snowflakes because they will melt as soon as the temperature gets above freezing! Here's a snow globe project that results in a globe of real crystals (safe benzoic acid) that won't melt when it gets warm. You can add figurines to make a lasting winter scene.

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How Can You Melt Snow?

 Explore the chemicals used to melt ice and snow. Which melts snow and ice fastest: salt, sand, sugar? Does solid salt or sugar have the same effectiveness as saltwater or sugar water? Try other products to see which is more effective. Which material is safest for the environment?

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Melting Ice Science Experiment

Make a colorful ice sculpture while learning about erosion and freezing point depression. This is a perfect project for young explorers, although older investigators will enjoy the bright colors, too! Ice, food coloring, and salt are the only materials needed.

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Supercool Water into Ice

Water is unusual in that you can chill it below its freezing point and it won't necessarily freeze into ice. This is called supercooling. You can make water transform into ice on command by disturbing it. Cause water to solidify into fanciful ice towers or simply make a bottle of water turn into a bottle of ice.

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Make Clear Ice Cubes

Three ice cubes
Clear ice forms differently from cloudy ice.

 ValentynVolkov / Getty Images

 Have you ever noticed how restaurants and bars often serve crystal clear ice, while the ice that comes from an ice cube tray or home freezer typically is cloudy? Clear ice depends on pure water and a particular rate of cooling. You can make clear ice cubes yourself.

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Make Ice Spikes

 Ice spikes are tubes or spikes of ice that shoot out from the surface of a layer of ice. You may see these formed naturally in birdbaths or on puddles or lakes. You can make ice spikes yourself in a home freezer.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Snow and Ice Science Projects." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 28). Snow and Ice Science Projects. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Snow and Ice Science Projects." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).