Put on Your Lab Coats & Try our
Lifting Ice Experiment !!
Ice cubes are cold – no new scientific knowledge there! Put some cubes in a cup of water and then try to take one out with your hand and feel the icy, stinging chill. Well, what if we told you that you could lift an ice cube out of your cup of water without using your hands, or a spoon?? Sounds magical, doesn’t it?
Our wonderful and scientific Coach Rafaela conducted this Lifting Ice Experiment with her Super Kicker kids in her livestream STEM class earlier this summer. Get ready to have fun and find out a few things about water, salt and ice that you may not have known before. Ok here we go!
Supplies & Ingredients
- About 4 ice cubes
- 2 tablespoon of salt
- String about 1 feet long
- A glass or cup of water
Place your ice cubes into the cup or glass of water. Do they sink or float? If you said “float” you are right! Ice is less dense than water, and anything that is less dense than water floats. (To learn more about what density is, check out this fun video from SciShow Kids.)
Next, take your string, and lay one end across the ice at the top of the glass. Make sure the tip of the string is touching an ice cube. Lay the other end of the string on the table.
Now, cover the ice cube and string with a layer of salt. Make sure you put salt on both the ice cube and the string. Once covered, leave everything alone for about a minute.
After a minute has passed, carefully pick up your string and start to pull up. What do you notice happening? Your string has attached itself to your ice cube! Keep lifting up your string, and you should be able to take the ice cube completely out of the glass of water. Magic?? No! Science!!!
So, what has happened? Why did the string adhere to the ice cube?
It has to do with a chemical reaction between the salt and the water. When you add salt to water, it lowers the freezing point of the water. When we put salt on the ice cube, the salt first dissolved in the film of liquid water that is always present on the surface of the cube, and as it did, it lowered the freezing point of the ice, essentially starting to melt the ice cube. The surrounding icy cold water in the glass interfered with this interaction and caused the ice to quickly re-freeze on the ice cube. By putting the string onto the ice cube before adding a layer of salt, we created a space and time when the string was sort of “caught” between the melting and freezing reaction, so it froze onto the ice cube.
How did your experiment come out? How many ice cubes did you try to pick up? Share with us what you did and what you learned! Leave us a message below or share a photo on our social media pages.
We hope you had a “cool” time trying out our Lifting Ice Experiment!