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Easy Science Exploration: How to Melt Ice Fast

Easy Science Exploration: How to Melt Ice Fast
Books and Science, two of my favorite things! And you know Zoey and Sassafras always fits the bill. Caterflies and Ice is no exception. I did receive a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review, and we honestly love it. 

Like all Zoey and Sassafras books, Zoey must use science to help fantastical creatures. This time, she must save caterfly eggs from freezing. If you're wondering, caterflies are exactly what they sound like too, cats with butterfly wings, so cute!

We wanted to try saving some caterfly eggs too, because who doesn't want to make a big mess with ice and salt.

Supplies for Saving Caterfly Eggs

  • small beads (ours are courtesy of craftprojectideas.com)
  • pans to freeze water in
  • water
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • pipettes, eye droppers, or squirt bottles
  • food coloring (optional)
A copy of Zoey and Sassafras: Caterflies and Ice. I suppose you can do the activity without the book, but the kids have more fun doing it after they have read it.

How to Save the Caterfly Eggs from Ice

So there is a little prep to this activity. It isn't hard, but you do have to plan it a little ahead.

  1. Run some water in your pans. I kept ours shallow, but if you need the kids to be occupied longer make it deeper.
  2. Add your beads. We used green because caterflies are green.
  3. Freeze. After a few hours you will have a block of frozen caterfly eggs.

**If you are going to make it deeper you might try freezing in layers, so there are beads all through the ice.

Now you are prepped and ready to rescue some caterfly eggs!

Dump the block of ice out of the container and onto a tray or cookie sheet. Definitely use something with sides to contain the water.

Provide kids with salt, vinegar, and water. I added a little blue food coloring to the water, so the kids could easily tell it from the vinegar.

Now they can use droppers, pipettes, squeeze bottles, etc to try to rescue the eggs. We went with a pipette and little tweezers for some fine motor practice. Squeeze bottles would be good for little hand muscles too.

The salt followed by either the water or the vinegar proved to be the most effective method of freeing the eggs. 

Plus my youngest just really wanted to dump salt.  

As the eggs were uncovered, she would use the little tweezers to grab them from the ice.

 Adding More Science

This activity was more of a science exploration activity rather than a measurable science experiment.

But if you wanted to test something you certainly could. Simply start with pieces of ice with equal sizes and equal numbers of beads.

Then add exactly the same amounts of salt and water or salt and vinegar to each piece and see which thaws faster. Really you could even separate it into vinegar, water, and salt water if you did three pieces.

You are sure to find that the addition of salt makes the ice melt away must faster then just the water or vinegar. This is because salt lowers the freezing (and melting) point of water. So the water would have to be even colder to remain frozen.

No matter how you decide to rescue your caterfly eggs, be sure not to miss any of the Zoey and Sassafras adventures. You always meet great new creatures and learn some science too.

Check out our other activities to accompany the Zoey and Sassafras Books:

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