Super Bowl Science....Which ice cube is best?

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SWBAT set up an investigation to determine which ice cube will remain the coldest.

Big Idea

The Super Bowl is here and everyone is coming over!! Which ice cube will be the best to use to keep the football watchers drinks cold, so you don't miss the big game?

Setting the Stage

5 minutes

This lesson has no connection to the Polar Regions in any way, other than the concept of ice cubes! However, it happens to fall at the end of the unit and coincides with Super Bowl Sunday.  Which this year also happened to involve the Seattle Seahawks.  Even though we are far from Seattle, folks in our town are huge supporters and fans of the Blue and Green and we just could not allow the day to go without a science lesson to connect. 

Materials Needed:

ice cubes

plastic ice cubes


small cups

balance scales



5 minutes

I gathered all my students together and explained that we were all getting pretty excited for the big weekend!!! (It was Thursday before the big game).  I knew we would be having friends over to watch the Super Bowl at our house and I was sure many of them would as well.  I told them that I knew their parents would have quite a bit to do to get ready, so I though maybe we could do a little research to help them out.  

I had my Ice Cube math and science Power Point ready to go on the screen and had the scenario set on Slide two. Right away the decibels in the classroom have just elevated by twenty. The kids are so excited!!! 

I pass out the Student Document Booklet and let the children peruse it. The pattern of this investigation is so similar to ones we have done in the past, that the know exactly what we will be doing.  But there will be a few twists and turns in this one that they won't be prepared for.  


15 minutes

I explain to the children that we will gather our data about every five to ten minutes. And while we are waiting to gather data, we will spend our time with our "free fun" science activities.

This was really just a fun time to explore with various science related toys the children could play with and direct their own learning.  (Things like: Marbleworks, Gears and Wheels, Blocks, Computer Investigations). The children are excited and happy. They love to explore and play with these extra science tools and we do not always have a lot of time to do this.  Win! Win! 

The booklets are passed out, the balance scales and blocks are passed out and children jump in. 

The children know instinctively from the beginning what we are going to do.  I find that my only job during this portion of the lesson is to roam the room and offer moral support as the children complete their sketches and document the observations they have about the ice cubes.   

They work independently to make their predictions, and even discuss what they are going to do as Slide six suggests they come up with a plan. 

As the children finish this first portion, they get the thermometers and place them into the bowls with the ice cubes.  One caution I share with the children is to make sure they place the bulb of the thermometer into the cubes themselves.  I remind them about what we learned earlier in our lesson about how to read a thermometer.  We discuss the importance of the bulb being close to what is being measured in temperature must be close to this portion of the thermometer.  

The first set of data points are taken, before I let the children move to their book bags I ask them to share their data with me and I record it on the screen.  I include each team's data and record their measurements.  I do this because I want all the children to see and know what we are discovering. This will lead a good conversation later about validity of results. 


10 minutes

After gathering the data, the students were excited.  I explain to them that we have gathered all the information that we can and now it is time to draw some conclusions from our work.  I wanted to bring in a new element that we had not yet explored and that was how we looked at the data.  I took this opportunity to bring in the concept of Line Plots. I knew that scientists use this type of data recording often in their work as well.  It is a mathematical way to look at patterns.  

I explain to the children that this is the perfect chance for to look at our own data on this chart and plot it out.  I demonstrate for the children how to take the smallest number and the largest number from their charts and write those along the number line on their paper.  I do this on my sample on the Power Point on the screen.  Offering them a sample.  As I am doing this, I realize most of my students have already begun. 


10 minutes

A scientific conclusion will not be conclusive because it is supposed to support the actual hypothesis.  In this lesson, we did not have a hypothesis.  But we did have a question to guide our lesson.  Which cube will remain the coldest? I also reminded the children that not only were we trying to find out which cube would remain the coldest, we were able to explore in a little more depth the standard PS1-4.  Because our natural cubes melted, and we took note of this in the data grids, it was obvious to the students that the ice was melting due to the warm temperature in the classroom.  

I explain to the children that they will take all their data and pull it together into one piece of evidence that compiles all their work.  They will need to go back and look at their original prediction and rewrite it on the conclusion sheet.  

Looking at all the data, they will need to determine (make an inference) which cube remained the coldest through out the duration of their investigation.