How Much Water is in Snow?

Materials

  • Snow (or crushed ice, or let them have at it with a mallet and some ice cubes in a bag!)
  • Beaker (or clear cup)
  • Masking Tape
  • Ruler

Take a Guess

How much water does it take to make snow? In other words, what will be the ratio of water height to snow height in this experiment?

Directions

  1. Fill your beaker with snow.
  2. Use masking tape to mark the top of the snow, and measure its height.
  3. Let the snow melt into water.
  4. Use masking tape to mark the top of the water, and measure its height.

Conclusion

How much water does it take to make snow?

  1. You’ll need your measurements from the experiment. 
  2. Ratio of Snow to Water = Height of Snow / Height of Water
  3. Simplify the fraction if you can! The ratio is written like this (numerator : denominator).

BONUS: If it snows a lot where you live, try this experiment again on a colder snow day, and on a warmer snow day. Does anything change?

Lower Elementary Questions

  1. What is the law of solids, the law of liquids, and the law of gases?
  2. Which state of matter is snow? Which state of matter is water?
  3. What is it called when snow is turning into water? _____ing. What is it called when water is turning into snow? _____ing.

HINTS:

  1. Re-watch The First Great Lesson for a refresher.
  2. Snow = Solid, Water = Liquid.
  3. Melting, Freezing

Upper Elementary Questions

  1. Is the change from solid to liquid a physical change, or a chemical change? Explain.
  2. In general, solids take up less space than liquids, which take up less space than gases. Does water (H2O) follow this rule?

HINTS:

  1. Physical changes are usually changes in state of matter. When a physical change happens, molecules do not change. They just rearrange themselves into solid, liquid, or gas form. Chemical changes happen when two different substances come together to create something entirely new. They involve breaking or creating the chemical bonds in molecules.
  2. Checkout this TED-Ed Video!
  3.