Friday, February 15, 2013

Science Fair

Muffin Man's school has a science fair every year, and it's mandatory for 4th and 5th graders to participate.

Last year, his question was "which do gerbils like better, sunflower seeds or corn?" (answer: sunflower seeds).

This year his question was "How fast does ice melt on different surfaces?"

Mr. Spock and he worked together to do the set up, which involved a camera doing time-lapse photography. Here's Muffin Man's description of the materials needed:
8 ice cubes, 1 wooden cutting board, 1 brick/rock, 1 cast iron griddle, 1 glass casserole, 16 pipe cleaneres, 1 tripod, 1 lamp, 1 timer, and two cameras. 
And here's his description of the variables:
The surfaces must be the same temp. so I put all the surfaces in the same place for about 20 hours, the ice must be the same temp. so I did them all at the same time to ensure that the air temp. will always be the same, and the ice cubes must be the same size.
I won't tell you which melted first, but I will tell you that the first ice melted at 18 minutes, 19 seconds. The last ice melted at 3 HOURS, 7 minutes, and 33 seconds.

The time-lapse video is a little over 3 minutes long, and the first 20 seconds are really cool. Muffin Man brought it in as part of his presentation.

We were a little concerned that maybe we'd helped him a bit too much with this one, until we saw the other kids' projects at the fair. It was pretty obvious that we were actually quite hands-off, comparatively.


Genevieve said...

I really like this experiment!
Which surface had the ice lasting so long?

liz said...


kathy a. said...

that's excellent! i'm late. but wood is really good at moderating changes in temp, so that makes sense.

and no, i probably cannot explain why in very scientific terms. but the other things are more solid, and two are designed to heat faster for cooking. wood, on the other hand, is more porous. log cabins worked well to insulate people from the cold outside; and they worked the other way, too, keeping heat out.

antropologa said...

That's a neat idea and presentation!