Science Investigation – properties of solids, liquids and gases

The freezer is broken.

Not so broken that all the food defrosts, but broken in that the door doesn’t close properly and it needs defrosting regularly.

Seeing as I was going to be hacking ice out of the freezer compartment it seemed like a good opportunity to teach the girls about changes of state.

We started with evaporation.

Daddy made the morning cup of tea and we watched the steam coming off the cup, talking about:

  • What we thought it was
  • Why it was rising
  • Where it went when it disappeared

We got a mirror from the bathroom and held it over the cup to watch the process of condensation.

Flossy wrote ‘dad’ on the mirror like we do in the shower to prove it was the same substance. She quickly made the connection that the gas was steam and the condensation was water.

We identified that we could

We a liquid turn into a gas and a gas tie n into a liquid, so I asked them how we would turn a liquid onto a solid.

Freya got it right away and mentioned ice.

I went and chipped all the ice out of the freezer and they set about investigating the properties.

They:

  • Compared melting speeds in water versus in air
  • Looked at floating properties and compared this to their knowledge of ice burgs
  • They melted ice on their tongues and watched it turn back to wate
  • They observed the ice turn from opaque to transparent as the surface ice melted
  • They touched it, squashed it, ate it, licked it and generally had a fabulous time!

Once all the ice was melted we talked again about turning it back into a solid,

Daddy got one of the Playmobil men and put him In a Pyrex dish covered in water. He was duly placed in the now empty freezer to see what happened as we returned to the table to write up our findings.

The girls were quick to see the difference between solids, liquids and gases and we even talked at a molecular level. A really enjoyable way to make the learning memorable.

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