Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Wednesday Outdoor Challenge - Snow

Last week we awoke to yet again the sound of the plow rumbling down the road.  When we peaked out of the frosty windows of our old farmhouse we were delighted by the sight of eight fresh inches of snow.  We had a storm the previous week dropping a foot, but we needed a fresh storm for this week's challenge.  The Lord always provides!
The boys scurried down to the mudroom to fish out their snow pants while  I refreshed my memory for the activities that Barb selected for the Outdoor Challenge.  Once they were dressed, I handed them a metal tray to collect fresh falling snow to filter.          

They carefully placed it in a spot that would not be contaminated by the road or driveway.  I then handed "T" a measuring cup to collect one cup of fresh snow for the melting experiment.
He brought it into the house thoroughly packed.  We dumped it into the "perfect beaker" to watch it melt.

 The boys were a bit confused by the final results.  Even though we kept going into the kitchen at times to check the melting snow, they asked me where the snow went when it was all finished.

We discussed at length what happened and made connections to our melting snowmen that we made a month ago.  A warm snap made them melt in a matter of days.  This really helped with understanding the principle of what was happening here.   Our packed one cup of snow melted into a quarter of a cup of water.  How fun!  On to the filtering...
We brought in our container of snow and allowed some of it to melt.  Next we pulled out our coffee filters to pour some of the liquid through.
First we used an unbleached filter.  This was not too swift on may part.  We quickly realized that you won't find too much because you are looking on a brown backdrop.  We switched to a white filter.  We used our hand lens to look closely at the filter.
I was very surprised at what we were able to see.  Multiple specks of brown and black, and some strange grains of white chunky residue were present.  The boys were unimpressed.  I wished we had a microscope to examine even closer.  

I wrote in the information on the notebook page this week, as it was a bit above them.  We are yet to complete the last experiment with colored paper.  We are hoping to do that tomorrow.  Overall the boys really liked setting up the collecting and completing the work.  The melting made the greatest impression, so the colored paper may strike a cord as well.



Hollinger Family said...

Oh how fun! We wanted to do the snow experiments to, but by the time we finally got snow, I forgot to grab some, then it melted so fast...sigh...
Thanks for sharing!

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I find it very interesting how dry your snow is. When we did this last year our snow was more than half water. We tried it again with another storm later in the season and we got different results. You may want to try this with "old" snow too to see if you get different results....or save that for when they get older and can reason more on what happens. :)

Great job and pretty interesting all the stuff in our melted snow too huh?

Thanks for sharing your results.

Phyllis said...

I love your nature study. The photos are wonderful.