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Cool stuff Kit ::D:::D:

 

For those who live where snow actually falls on an annual basis and who have kids here is an activity you can do to not only amaze your kids with snowflake structure but give them a mini science lesson at the same time:

 

Materials Needed:

Black construction paper that has been allowed to get cold in a freezer.

A couple magnifying lenses

A toothpick

 

Basically go outside with your kid(s) and allow the snow to fall on the paper. Examine it under the magnifying lens. Use the toothpick to pull apart those huge fluffy flakes so you and your child can look at the individual crystals.

 

If snow is not falling but is blanketing the ground, scoop up some with a spoon onto the paper and use the toothpick to isolate individual crystals.

 

Some scientific facts to Wow your Kids with:

-All those lovely images of snow we often find in magazines are actually redone images of thousands of glass plate photographs take by a Mr. Wilson A. Bentley who lived in Vermont during the late 1800's and early 1900's. It is because of his love for photographing these wonders that we know so much about them. Through him we learned that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. In the January 2005 issue of Smithsonian Magazine there is an article on his work. Most of his thousands of glass plates are catalogued and archived there at the Smithsonian Institution.

-Snowflakes are six sided. (There are a few exceptions)

-Tell your children about the freezing point of water. Explain how frozen water takes up more space than liquid water due to water's crystalization structure that traps Air.

-This is also a good time to explain to your kids about snow safety too and frostbite and how to properly dress for play or hikes.

 

Hope some of you find that information useful. ::D:

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Ice is less dense than water, but not because of trapped air. Ice that forms in a vacuum is also less dense than water, though no air is around.

 

Water, when frozen, forms a lattice of 'cages', through hydrogen bonding. When forming, these cages ( called clathrates ), may trap any small molecules dissolved in the water. These cages are too small though to allow the trapped molecules to diffuse in/out of ice easily.

 

When melted, ice can release these trapped molecules.

 

A great example of this is Methane Clathrate. Deep in the ocean, under pressure, very cold seawater can freeze in the presence of methane, released by anaerobic bacteria, and through pores in the rock from geothermal sources. The methane is trapped in the ice.

 

When brough to the surface, as the ice thaws, it fizzes like soda as the methane is released. You can 'burn' the ice with a lighter, it's eerie to see a ice cube enveloped in flames. The water isn't really burning, but the methane is. :)

 

There is possibly more methane in ice clathrate form at the bottom of the ocean than can be found in the world's oil reserves. It would be difficult to harvest though.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

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I gotta tell this story, even if I know Steve will see it..it's funny.

 

When my stepdaughter was six, her class made snowflakes and she got all excited about making them..so excited that we all ended up spending an afternoon as a family (real homespun quality-time type stuff) and made snowflakes to tape up on the windows of the garage door to make the place look wintry holiday festive.

 

My mother came for a visit and pointed at a few of the plainest lopsided round specimens with minimalist little rhomboid holes chopped into them and complimented her on doing such a good job.

 

She was honest though. "Those are the ones Daddy did!"

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