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The Density of Snow Experiment

Plan to get a bit chilly with this "Density of Snow" experiment. Geared for your middle or high school homeschooler, this hands on project will be entertaining and educational. Be sure to have your student create a hypothesis and record his or her findings throughout the project.

Here are some facts about snow and it's density to consider:
-Water, ice, and snow are not the same even though all three are composed of water.
-Snowflakes are formed by the freezing of water vapor in the air.
-Layers of snowflakes on the gorund are simply called snow, which is a of snowflakes and air. This air that snow contains affects its volume, or the amount of space it takes up.
-When snow melts air is released, making the volume of the snow greater than the volume of the liquid water it is when melted.
-Snow is a form of frozen water. There are other frozen forms of water like ice, sleet, and hail.

Part One- Hypothesize
Using all safety precautions in your "lab", you will find out how the volume of snow compares to the volume of liquid water that the melted snow forms. Remember to hypothesize and write your hypothesis down as to the amount of water you think a cup of snow will form when melted. Maybe you think it will be half as much, or maybe one fourth as much.

Part Two- Gather Materials
Be sure you are prepared to complete the experiment safely. Here is what you will need:
Three 10-oz clear plastic drinking cups (300ml)
Tap water
A volume measuring device like a graduated cylinder or metric measuring cup. 3 cups, or 750 ml of snow (Use crushed ice or freezer frost from a home freezer as alternatives if snow is unavailible )
Spoon

Part Three- Conduct the Experiment
Near the bottom edge of each cup, use a pen and label cups A, B, and C.
Put 250ml (1 cup) of unpacked snow into each cup. Use the spoon to help remove the snow from the cup, but don't press the snow flakes together.
Record the volume of the snow, which should equal 250ml (1 cup), where you obtained it, and a description of the snow (days old, etc).
Draw a line and mark the snow level with an S (for snow) on each cup.All 3 should be the same.
Set the cups on a table indoors and allow the snow to melt. When all the snow has melted mark the water level on all three cups SW (for snow water).
Pour the water from cup A into your measuring device. Record the volume of the water from cup A. Figure the ratio of the volume of the snow and volume of the water. Do this by writing a fraction with water volume as the denominator and snow volume as the numerator. Write the answer as a decimal by dividing the denominator into the numerator. This will tell you how many times greater the snow volume is than the volume of the melted water it formed. Repeat the same steps for cups B and C. Figure out the average ratio by adding the ratios and dividing by three.

Part Four-Conclude and Record
Make your observations and conclusions based on your findings. If you wish you can create a table to organize your information.