Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Science for Children - Avalanches

We watched a short animated video clip, about avalanches on BrainPop.com, this morning. It's currently free to view, so click on over, and check it out while you can.

And, we finally had enough new snow to perform our own avalanche experiment. We sat the experiment up, a week or two ago, by cutting a cardboard box in half, from corner to corner to make a mountain peak.



We placed it out on our deck, on a very cold day. Then, we poured water over the box, to form a layer of ice. As I said, it was a very cold day, and the water froze quickly.


The next step (and I'm sorry, but I've completely lost the book, I pulled this experiment from), was to wait for it to snow. Unfortunately, after a light skiff of snow, our weather warmed up, and everything melted. Then, the temperature plummeted, but without snow. We finally got some real snow again, during the night, last night - almost too much, really.


The snow was continuing to fall, and we thought conditions looked hazardous. But, our little Lego skier, disagreed. He was all set to test out the new snow pack..



...when, from out of nowhere, a giant stick rapped against the side of the mountain...


...causing the layer of frozen, and compacted snow, over a less stable, soft layer of snow, on top of the ice, to crack, and avalanche down the mountain. This is called a slab avalanche.


Luckily for our skier, he rode down with the snow, instead of being buried by it, and we were able to rescue him, without much trouble.




It's great to be a homeschooler.

14 comments:

Jody of Because I'm Me said...

It's good to see that no Lego skier's were harmed during your experiment. :) Looks like a fun one (from a distance ... we have no snow and no plans to get any ... where we are it's 75 and sunny right now).

Christy said...

That sounds like fun. We are bracing ourselves for a big storm tomorrow night.

Annette W. said...

I'm not sure if you meant any of this to be funny, but I was smiling at your descriptions the whole time!

Phyllis said...

What fun! I loved it. It teaches about avalanches in a way they will never forget. What learning memories you are creating!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Annette - Yes, it was supposed to be funny. The science was serious, but as far as it taking two weeks to be able to do the experiment - or our concern for the Lego skier...well, I'm glad you smiled :)

Debbie said...

I had to laugh when "Out of nowhere" that was good. Glad your Lego skier did not get hurt!

Leah C said...

Looks like fun! We had a biiig snow today, but I'm afraid if I set out a box now, we wouldn't get anymore. :(

Kara said...

You do the coolest things with your kids- they are so lucky! I am saving all your posts for when my daughter gets a little older (and for if I ever return to the classroom). They are all so awesome!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

*phew* That was a close one! ;-) What a fun experiment! We're expecting snow here.. this would be fun to try!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I was just looking at Brain Pop today being sorely tempted to subscribe :) Of course, we would be unable to recreate this particular experiment, but we could contribute our skiing Smurf.

Wonder Mom said...

Whew- so glad the the skier made it...

Joyful Learner said...

I laughed when I saw the miniature skier and sighed with relief when I read that he was safe!

Madeline said...

Ha! So Cool! We will have to try this>
Danette

Ticia said...

I love the photos!

I'm not thinking we're going to be able to replicate this any time soon, what with not having any snow in our forseeable future. Apparently we got a record snow last year of .5 inches....

Poor little Lego skier.