I am thrilled to present todays activity "Ice Pearls". Its a Stem project but serene! Learn science with this very calming hands on project.
Ice Pearls or as my kids call it bubbles in the jar
Materials Required: Ice and Oil. Food colors (optional)
Discuss the only similarity between oil and ice with the kids- both are slippery.
Put some oil in a clear glass/ jar.
The science before you start the experiment - you may already know that when you pour water in the oil it will sink to the bottom. Oil and water do not mix. Oil is known as hydrophobic, meaning that it repels water.
Why does the water sink , because the density of water is higher than the oil.. but a fun fact - The density of ice is lesser than the density of water and oil. Thus, when you put ice into water or in this experiment into the oil, the ice will float.
Begin the experiment - Ask the kids to gently place one medium sized ice cube in the oil jar/glass. The ice will float. As the ice starts to melt, water droplets which look like ice pearls will slowly form and drop to the bottom of the jar and start collecting there. This is the stage when the kids start seeing ice pearls in the jar.
The process of melting ice and forming water droplets is beautiful and calming for the kids to watch. Excite them as they observe, they can count the pearls(or bubbles formed) collected or sometimes they pop as they settle down. Add one or 2 additional cubes to make it more fun. Optionally you can add food coloring to the ice to see a colored ice pearl.
At the end of the experiment after all the ice has melted - you can see the water on the bottom and oil on the top. Also the glass will be cold/frosty on touch.
Do watch our home activity video for this experiment and share yours when you take up this project!
(Idea inspiration from class of teacher Rindala)
I also tried an additional experiment by reversing the process by putting the glass of oil and water in the freezer. As the water began to freeze, the ice did not float back up as the surface tension of the water was strong enough, and the Ice was trapped in the bottom. Slowly it froze to the side of the glass. When I took it out from the freezer after almost a day the glass was frosty. The oil froze at some point too. I left it out on the countertop and slowly the ice started melting and pieces staring floating up again. Slowly the clear view of the oil floating on top of the water was visible again.