As Christmas approaches, we find ourselves fully enveloped in the spirit of the season often because of the accompanying weather. We start to feel the chill outside as our temperatures begin to plummet. Some of us may receive a foot of snow, while others may be happy to simply see a little frost. No matter where you live, the thought of snow on Christmas is probably still something you yearn for or at least thought of often as a child. Waking up Christmas morning to a soft, billowing blanket of snow and running outside to add the first footprints to the otherwise untouched landscape. Coming in afterward and sipping steamy hot chocolate and watching everyone navigating the newly created winter wonderland from the window.
Speaking of windows and frost, if any of this sounds like your cup of tea (or cocoa), we encourage you to stick around for an easy and fun, nearly free of cost activity to gear up for the Christmas season! In the next section, you’ll find everything you need to create your very own frost, no matter what your local climate looks like this time of year!
Before we get started, let’s look at some materials you will need for this experiment. You’ll probably find most of the items around your house without having to purchase any new supplies. Here is the material list:
- 2 Aluminum cans. (VERY IMPORTANT: peel off any labels before beginning) We used soup cans, as they work best, but any aluminum cans should work.
- Crushed ice.
- Rock salt or table salt.
- Small amount of water.
Now that we have all our materials gathered up, let’s take a moment to highlight this activity. When performed, one of your cans will produce frost while the other one will produce some light condensation.
HYPOTHESIZE: Do you think the salted or unsalted can will produce a thin film of frost on the can?
Got your guess ready? Good! Now let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions to either prove or disprove our hypothesis.
- In the first can, fill about halfway with ice and add roughly 4 tablespoons of salt.
- Shake and mix well for about 30 seconds and then set aside.
- Fill the second can halfway with ice and just enough water to cover the ice inside. (DO NOT ADD SALT TO THIS CAN.)
- Wait and observe results.
You will start to notice something fascinating happening here. The chemical reaction between the ice and salt lowers the temperature of the can, creating a thin layer of frost on the outside as the temperature of the can drops. In the other can, you will see condensation forming on the outside, but no frost.
Were you able to prove or disprove your hypothesis from earlier?
Did you have fun? GREAT!
There are more experiments just like this one performed in our award-winning afterschool programs. Our students get the opportunity to develop 21st-century skills and interact with peers to explore the concepts of STEM. Contact your school today and unlock your child’s potential by enrolling in our STEAM Club.
Our STEM Inventor Club offers your child the chance to build foundational skills in the invention process and experiment with science and technology in a hands-on environment. You’ll also receive a FREE STEM Inventor Kit valued at $70 just for signing up!
Check back with us soon to enroll in our new VIRTUAL STEAM CLUB and STEM Inventor Club and let us deliver the fun directly to you!