It’s bitterly cold in Minnesota right now so why not take advantage of it and do some science experiments you can only do in these sorts of temperatures?
Here’s some ways to make subzero temperatures educational.
Crystalize water in the air
Mad Science of Minnesota posted this fun experiment on their Facebook page:
A fun thing to do in extreme cold is to throw hot water into the air. Take a flask and fill it with boiling water to warm it up, pour this away and fill it again. Take the full flask outside, take a cup of this hot water and throw it all up into the air. As the +212°F water meets the cold (in this case -26°F) air, it instantly vaporizes. Most of it is turned into a cloud of steam that drifts gently away and some of the droplets that stay together are instantly turned into small pieces of ice that can be seen streaking down towards the bottom left in this photograph.
It’s very weird to throw water into the air but none of it ever actually landing. Also seen in this picture is a solar halo around the sun formed by the ice crystals in the air.
Note – this only happens with very hot water – cold water just lands as cold water.
I have been able to get this to work at temps below -10, warmer than this it does not work.
MAKE SURE AN ADULT HELPS YOU WITH THE HOT WATER.
Blow frozen bubbles
When the temperatures are below freezing, bubbles that you blow will freeze. When they’re far below freezing, the effect is much more impressive. Head outside and find a location sheltered from the wind and experiment with blowing bubbles. Look carefully at the surface of them, and see what happens when you pop them!
Hint: Chill your bubble solution beforehand to help them freeze more quickly.
Check out these photos of frozen bubbles for inspiration.
More cold weather science
There are oodles of other ways to use the cold for some experimentation. Hypothesize about how long it will take to freeze containers of water of various sizes and see who gets closest. Freeze colored water in containers outside and then bring them in to experiment with salt and warm water on them. Put various liquids outside and see which ones freeze and which don’t (hint: try alcohols, which have lower freezing points, and oils like mineral oil and olive oil, also see this experiment for other options).