In last year’s blog about crystallization, we learned that snow can also be classified as a mineral because ice is an inorganic homogeneous solid. If something is inorganic, that means its chemical composition doesn’t include the element carbon. We also learned that in order for snowflakes to form, moisture in a cloud needs to freeze around a tiny particle of dust. From there, more water molecules must freeze and stick to that ice crystal to make the six arms of a snowflake.
The best kind of snow to make snowballs or snow men out of is what we call “wet” snow, because it sticks together and holds its shape for a long time. But what is the difference between “wet” snow and “dry” snow?
When the temperature is slightly warmer than 32℉, the snowflakes will melt around the edges and stick together to become big, heavy flakes. This creates wet snow that sticks together easily and is good for making snow sculptures, but is much more difficult to shovel due to its weight!
Make a Snow Storm in a Jar
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A mason jar or similar container
- Canola oil
- 1 tsp white paint
- 1 cup water
- Iridescent glitter
- Alka Seltzer
- Blue food coloring (optional)
The first step is to fill the jar about three quarters of the way with canola oil and set it aside. In a small or medium sized bowl, combine the white paint and water. Stir the mixture until the paint is dissolved, leaving you with white water. Sprinkle in as much glitter as you’d like and add some blue food coloring to provide a color contrast. Pour the paint mixture into the jar of oil, leaving a little bit of room at the top.
Wait for the glitter and paint mix to settle at the bottom of the jar.
To make the “snow storm” break up a tablet of alka-seltzer and drop the pieces into the jar. Watch carefully to see what happens! Once your “storm” has settled, you can add more pieces of alka-seltzer to start the process over again and again.
Bentley, Wilson. “Snowflakes”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 1/28/18 from commons.wikimedia.org
Griffin, Peter. “Building Snowman”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 1/29/18 from publicdomainpictures.net
Snow in a Jar images property of Discovery Express Kids LLC.