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Will it freeze on top or bottom?

by Gina Morales on January 17, 2014

Frozen sink or float experiment

One of our preschoolers came to class eager to share something. He excitedly told us that his water bottle stayed in the car overnight and when he got in the car in the morning it was FROZEN! I said, “Oh yeah?! It turned to ICE??!!” He looked puzzled and said, “It got frozen!” And so began our month long exploration of ice and all things frozen. The big idea being that ice is frozen water that can melt back in to water and then freeze back to ice.

Our favorite experiment was a frozen twist on the classic sink or float experiment. We began with the question “Will it freeze on the bottom or top?” We gathered objects that we could test and made predictions. We used a t-chart to sort the objects. Once they were sorted we talked about why some would freeze on top. They agreed that the heavy objects would freeze on the bottom and the not heavy ones would float and freeze on top. So we set out to test our predictions. They plopped the items in the water and would cheer every time their prediction was correct.

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The next day we investigated the results. We found that some objects that had floated the day before ended up freezing on the bottom. We also found that some of the objects froze on top of the ice some froze on top but partially submerged and some froze up top fully submerged. The kids were eager to take the objects out of the ice. They remembered from a previous experiment that salt melts ice quickly. They asked for salt and water and set out to free the objects in the ice.

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