Frozen Animal Rescue - Investigating Ice!
Please not that for this activity you will need ice blocks! Using plastic containers of different sizes and shapes please freeze a selection of plastic toy animals in ice! (... you could use plastic toy characters if you don't have any suitable toy animals at home). It doesn’t matter if parts of the toy animals stick out at the top, this will actually engage little minds and encourage them to try and rescue the animals!
Start by giving your child a block of plain ice to investigate. Encourage them to use their sense to do this ...
What does it look like?
What does it feel like?
What sound does it make? ... if they listen carefully they might hear it crackling or melting
What does it smell like?
What does it taste like?
Encourage them to talk about their ideas. Ask questions to help stimulate comparisons and a rich range of vocabulary. Remember there are no right or wrong answers ... what is important is that your child is able to communicate and explore their ideas.
What do they think will happen to the ice cube if it is left on the plate? Why?
What is ice made of?
How do we make ice?
Now show your child the ice blocks you have prepared with toy animals frozen in them. Ask your child ...
How can you free the animals that are trapped in the ice? Ask your child to suggest different ideas! Some of them might be practical others less so!
Possible suggestions could include ...
Hitting the ice block with a hammer! ... a toy hammer might be a safer option!
Putting the ice block in hot water!
Heating the ice block with a hair dryer! ... please be careful when using electrical items near water!
Dropping the ice block from the top of a stepladder! .... this is definitely one of the less practical options!
You could try testing out all or some of your child's suggestions. Or you might like to make some suggestions of your own such as seeing what happens when you pour salt on an ice block!
Can you then relate this to a real life experience e.g. using salt to grit roads and paths in the cold weather.
You could increase the 'Frozen Animal Rescue' challenge by creating one huge ice block with lots of animals inside. Do this by freezing water in an ice-cream container!
Carrying out simple investigations like this is excellent way of stimulating a child's curiosity and so many other learning skills e.g. observing, questioning and reasoning. At this stage of their development children do not need to know the all the facts behind the science the focus should be on them using their scientific skills to explore, experiment, hypothesise and problem solve.
Happy frozen animal rescuing!