We don’t get a lot of snow in Texas. About once a year we get either a light dusting, or a horrible ice storm. Last week, Texas actually got snow! Everywhere, that is, except where we live. But I remembered that Dollar Tree had a kit to make snow, so I opened it up and started making snow with my boys.
Making Snow at Home even when its Hot Outside
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I bought this science kit at the Dollar Tree a few weeks ago, so my boys and I opened it up and followed these simple steps to make our own snow!
Step 1: Open packet and make sure nothing is missing. Also, pour 2 ounces of water into a small cup.
Step 2: Pour one spoonful of powder into a small bowl.
Step 4: Watch as the powder grows, and turns into snow!
Step 5: Fluff up the snow using the spoon, and have fun playing with the snow!
The Science Behind it
Such a quick and easy experiment, but how does it work? I had seen this powder before. During my career as an engineer, I worked at a factory that make diapers. Believe it or not, this powder like material is in diapers! At the factory we called it Super Absorbent Material, or SAM for short.
SAM is used to absorb liquids in a diaper. SAM is able to absorb over 10 times its weight, so its really helpful with babies! I told my oldest son that SAM was made out of polymers, a term he recognized from one of his Tinker Crate projects! He remembered polymers were long structures made of molecules linked together in a chain.
When water is added to the SAM, the water moves into the network of polymer chains through a process called osmosis. Osmosis is a process by which molecules move from a more crowded area to a less crowded area. The water moves into the polymer chains because there are no water molecules in between the polymer chains. So because the polymers have no water molecules in between the chains, the water molecules move to those areas. The water molecules then attach (or bond) to the polymer at a hydrogen molecule. This bond is called a hydrogen bond. When water molecules bond to the polymer chains, the SAM powder expands and makes “snow”!
Who knew making snow could teach kids so much about science! From this simple, one dollar kit, my second grader learned about osmosis and hydrogen bonds. While I’m sure he doesn’t completely understand the topics at this point, he will now be familiar with the terminology when he comes across it at school!
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