10 Science Experiments to Do in the Snow


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Banana Hammer Time!
When you're done using it as a telephone, try turning it into a hammer by leaving it outside in freezing temps. iStock/Thinkstock

As every beleaguered middle school biology or high school chemistry teacher pleaded, science is fun. While balancing chemical equations and trying to stomach a dissection might leave you with a bad taste in your mouth, remember that the simple science concepts can be pretty amazing to discover as a kid. So with that in mind, enter the banana hammer.

It's admittedly straightforward, as far as scientific enquiry goes. What happens when you leave a banana out in the freezing cold? To most of us world-weary adults, the answer might not seem so exotic. But to a child who is just learning about the effect of temperature on water, the presentation might just blow their little minds.

It really is as easy as putting the banana in the freezing (very freezing works best) cold. Ask the kids what will happen to the banana. Will it get softer? Harder? Will it grow bigger or smaller, like the balloon trick we just learned? After the banana is thoroughly frozen, ask the little one to inspect it. And then totally blow the kid's mind when you show them that the banana is so rigid that it can actually hammer a nail into wood. Explain that it's the water in the banana that freezes, just like the ice cubes in the freezer.

Author's Note: 10 Science Experiments to Do in the Snow

I spent many childhood winters playing Laura Ingalls, attempting to pour molasses onto snow to make candy -- without realizing that I needed to add sugar and boil to create a more viscous mixture. I may have just realized that, in fact, while writing this article. Just a friendly reminder to introduce children to science before the age of 30.

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Sources

  • Ballisty, Tim. "Cold Weather Experiments." The Weather Channel. Jan. 4, 2010. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/cold-weather-experiments_2010-01-04
  • Fixmeasnack.com "Little House Molasses Snow Candy." Jan. 2, 2011. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.fixmeasnack.com/2011/01/little-house-molasses-snow-candy-recipe/
  • Freed, Ben. "Frozen bubbles to banana hammers." Michigan Live. Jan. 8, 2014. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/01/who_said_the_polar_vortex_wasn.html
  • Libbrecht, Kenneth G. "Is it really true that no two snowflakes are alike?" California Institute of Technology. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/alike/alike.htm
  • Steve Spangler Science. "Instant Snow." 2013. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/insta-snow-polymer
  • Thompson, Andrea. "Frozen Fun." LiveScience. Jan. 7, 2014. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.livescience.com/42371-cold-weather-science-experiments.html
  • Vermette, Laureen. "Expansion and Contraction." University of Manitoba. (Jan. 16, 2014) http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/crystal/Grade%205%20Science.html
  • Wise, Jeff. "How to build an igloo." Popular Mechanics. Feb. 24, 2012. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/gonzo/how-to-build-an-igloo
  • Younger, Shannan. "Cold weather science projects to make your kids' snow day educational and fun." Chicago Now. Jan. 6, 2014. (Jan. 15, 2014) http://www.chicagonow.com/tween-us/2014/01/cold-weather-science-projects-kids-snow-day/

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