The ice and snow that comes along with winter offers up the perfect opportunity to get in some STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities that are actually fun. We’ve rounded up a few of the coolest wintry projects plus some resources to help you find even more great ideas.
Arctic animals are excellent for life science lessons. You can explore the benefits of camouflage and why some animals, such as the arctic hare, pearly caribou, and the arctic fox, grow white coats in the winter. You can even incorporate this fun experiment, using just Crisco, sandwich bags, and ice water to demonstrate how blubber keeps whales, seals, and polar bears warm.
Have students help you track the weather. If it doesn’t snow where you live, “adopt” a city, like Anchorage, that sees plenty of snowfall. Keep a chart of daily high and low temperatures and precipitation, and use this data as a jumping-off point for a meteorology lesson. Then, bring the lesson home with this awesome “snowstorm in a jar” project, which just requires a jar, baby oil, white paint, water, glitter, and seltzer tablets.
Working with ice is one of the easiest ways to introduce states of matter, as it’s easy for kids to see the solid ice melt into liquid water. To make it even more fun and add a critical thinking challenge, try this cool ice excavation activity from Lemon Lime Adventures. You’ll need to do a little work ahead of time, freezing plastic toys or other objects into blocks of ice. Then, let kids use what they’ve learned about states of matter to find the most efficient ways to melt or remove the ice and free the “fossilized” toy.