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Little Scientists

The kids and I ran a science experiment today.

We were testing to see whether salt and/or pepper helped ice melt faster.

We took out three bowls and put two ice cubes in each. We sprinkled one with salt. We sprinkled one with pepper. We left one plain.

After a half hour, we checked to see how they were melting. It looked like the salt was melting fastest, but the pepper was melting second-fastest.

After an hour, we strained each of the bowls into a cup. We eyeballed the cups next to each other and their respective fluid levels. Now it looked like the plain water and pepper water were equal, and the salt water was higher than both.

Then we measured. The plain water and pepper water each measures 2.5 tsp -- they *were* equal. The salt water measured 4.5 tsp.

Then the kids tasted the salt water (by request). Ew! We skipped the pepper water.

I know, I know, my geek-parent quotient just leveled up.


I love doing this kind of thing with kids, and thank you very much for a new angle on this particular one. (I would never have though to include pepper)
The pepper was their idea too, but it made sense.
when it comes up I think I'll use an open-ended conversation to see what we come up with. It's the three conditions I am excited by.
Yes, having a third something-or-other to compare to I think was enlightening. It's not just any stuff on ice, it has to be salt.
I was about to ask whose idea it was. It makes perfect sense from a toddler point of view.
When I was a bit older than your kids, I ran across a Highlights issue that taught me how to lay a thread across an ice cube, then sprinkle salt across it and wait a few seconds until I could lift the whole thing up. Magic! :) I'm looking up website for kids' science activities as part of my library internship. Any suggestions?
I think the one I consult most (for work) is Steve Spangler Science, http://www.stevespanglerscience.com . Also PBS Parents.
Thanks! I found a few activities specific to the themes of this project (not chosen by me) and a whole bunch of unrelated fun science stuff.