Lab Report: Icebergs Melt At Different Rates in Salt and Fresh Water

My son is learning to make a lab report, so I'm transcribing his report for him as I'm proud of the effort he put into this.  This came up as part of studies on Canada.

Hypothesis: Icebergs will melt faster in freshwater than in salt water.



Procedure: Get two bowls.   Make one bowl saltwater like the ocean 3.5% salt needed.   Have the other bowl be fresh water.  Let the bowls sit so they are same temperature.   Freeze two cups of water in two identical cups.   Take them out of the cups when they are completely frozen.  Use cold water to get them out of the cups.   Weigh them.   Put them in their bowls.  Then weigh them 30 minutes later, Then 15 minutes later.

 I noticed at 30 minutes that the fresh water one had melted the most.   At 15 minutes I did it again and noticed the same thing.  

Observations: take the icebergs out of the water and weigh them.  They will be slippery and cold plus you don't want the heat of your hands changing the results so wear gloves.   Put them back in the water as soon as you weigh them.




Conclusion: Because the fresh water one melted the most I proved my idea correct.  Fresh water will melt icebergs faster than the saltwater probably because of the salt in the water.

Other questions raised:


I noticed that both Filli and Killi were left with their heads frozen in the ice and wondered why their heads thawed out last.

16 comments

  1. This is pretty good! How old is your son?

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    1. My lad is 11. I walked him through the steps, but wrote down his words. :)

      I thought it was great that he helped refine the experiment.

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  2. Pretty good! And did he come up with the entire experiment himself too?

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    1. most of it. he came up with the idea...then rejected what I came up with as I didn't think through some variables...and came up with this WAY better experiment!

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  3. What a great job! Love the thinking that this shows. If you want to understand more about the "why" of it, check out the ice cream experiment in the astronomy book for Uranus (I think that is the planet it was under). It explains a bit about how salt lowers temperatures. Tell the lad that he did well! - Lori

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    1. thanks for the heads up on the Lori, I don't think we are there yet but it would be a great tie in for him.

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  4. Oh my goodness, this is awesome.

    I have to say, as we entered grade four this year and I saw that the "scientific method" was part of the curriculum for the year, I cringed. I never liked the scientific method when I was in school BUT I taught it to my daughter and now I love it! I have no idea why I hated it when I was a child.

    This is awesome and his documentation is fabulous! Way to go!

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    1. I thought he did a great job. It was just a simple conversation that helped him think through his whole process.It's easier to dictate than it is to write it out himself and gives him practice for later when he has to write it out himself. :)

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  5. What a fun idea. My Max is a little scientist. He comes up with fun experiments like this often. I'll have to show him your post!

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    1. great... then you can have a slightly wet kitchen too! :)

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  6. This is my kind of science experiment -- no fancy ingredients required :)

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    1. It was a great one for him

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  7. Great work! What a fun, easy experiment.

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  8. Well done to him!

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