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What Makes Ice Melt Faster?

This is the perfect STEM Challenge for the chilly weather we are having! It will teach students all about why we put salt on icy roads during winter.

Are you up for the challenge? Can you determine what makes ice melt faster?

This challenge will take around an hour to complete.

What you need...

  • Three Bowls 
  • Labels For Bowls  
  • 3 Cups Ice 
  • 1 Cup Sand 
  • 1 Cup Salt 
  • Timer

What you need per student...


What you need to do...

  •  Give each student a Creator Sheet and make sure they have a pencil. 
  • Ask students what they already know about what makes ice melt faster and have them fill out that part of their Creator Sheet. 
  • Start the challenge by filling the three bowls with 1 cup of ice each.  
  • Label one bowl ice, another bowl sand, and the last bowl salt. 
  • Ask students what bowl they think the ice will melt the fastest in and have them write what they would like to learn more about during the challenge on their Creator Sheet. Also, now would be a fun time to take a poll and record what bowl students are betting on. 
  • It's time to pour the salt on the ice in the bowl marked salt and pour the sand on the ice in the bowl marked sand. 
  • Start the timer. 
  • Have students take turns observing the three bowls closely. They can take turns explaining to the class what they see happening. 
  • After about 30 minutes students should start to see a big difference with the salt bowl. 
  • Ask students why they think the bowl with the salt melted the fastest.  
  • To explain why the bowl with the salt melted the fastest say that water freezes at 32° F, but when we mix it with salt it lowers the freezing point significantly. It is also good to point out to students that they now understand why we put salt on the roads on cold, icy winter days! 
  • Have students write their final thoughts on what they learned on their Creator Sheet and ask them if their predictions were right about what makes ice melt faster.

We would love to see you try this STEM Challenge. Share your results with us through social media!

Happy Making,

Maker Maven

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