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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Snow Science

On Wednesday, we read two books about snow. Once was called Snowflake Bentley, and the other was The Story of Snow. Both books were about the miraculous nature of snowflakes. Since we have had a lot of the white stuff falling from the sky lately, we thought it would be fun to do a science experiment with snow.

After some preliminary thinking and talking about the nature of snow, I told the students that a rule of thumb that weather scientists use is 10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain. In other words, if we took snow, turned it into rain, this is the ratio generally used. We decided to see for ourselves. We went and collected 10 inches of snow and let it melt.



We found that the 10-to-1 rule doesn't always apply. The actual liquid water equivalent of snowfall varies quite a bit, depending on meteorological conditions and geographic location. In our case, we collected icy and packed snow from the ground, which turned into 6 inches of liquid.

This is just one of many science experiments we do in class. The main goal of these types of activities is to have our young scientists ask questions, make predictions, and to actively engage in finding out possible answers. I hope this sense of wonder and inquiry stays with all the children, for all of their lives.

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