It’s been really cold here in Northern Town: freeze your eyelashes together cold.
We’re a pretty hardy bunch but even we have our limits and we were stuck inside for a few days while the wind blew itself out and the temperature came up a few degrees.
What to do, what to do? What do you do inside with 35 children when it’s -35˚C outside?
We decided to play with ice!
Our amazing ECE led the children in filling balloons with coloured water and braved the weather to place them outside.
Today during our outdoor inquiry time we ripped open the ballons and found that the water had frozen beautifully and that it had produced an interesting effect. All of the colour had migrated to the bottom of the balloon and rows of air bubbles were visible within the orb of ice.
When I showed the children this photo on the Smartboard, I told them that I wondered (je me demande…) why all of the colour had gone to the bottom of the balloon. What did they think?
MN: Because the water’s lighter than the food colouring so the food colouring is at the bottom and the water’s at the top
PB: The water froze so it was turned into ice so you cut the balloon so you can see the ice and the bubbles are inside
UN: If you drop it it will crack open and you can’t get a new one.
CF: The gravity was pushing it down – the blue – because of the the bubbles.
MP: The water is pushing it down (the food colouring)
At this point in the conversation there was some back and forth about the bubbles so I asked: What are the bubbles trying to do?
LT: They’re trying to get out
Another child disagreed.
TN: The bubbles are trying to stay in place in the water
LT replied: No, the bubbles are trying to get out to make a puddle
UF: I think the bubbles are trying to escape the ice because there’s a little hole at the top
BU: Maybe they’re trying to swim up and get on someone’s head and have a ride
BW: I think the ice is growing and the bubbles don’t want to pop.
AQ: The food colouring wants to get out of the balloon from the bottom – it wants to dig through the ice.
UN: I think the ice is growing and the bubbles are going to break the ice and when the ice is broken they want to run away and go back to their home.
I find their thinking fascinating. It opens up a window into their minds and gives us precious information about how they’re making sense of the world and how we might help them to develop their thinking.
Some of them are drawn to creating a narrative using the bubbles, water, and food colouring as characters. Others are interested in the science of the process and are trying to figure out how it works. Others still are using what they already know about the world (gravity, weight) to create a hypothesis. Another group of children is more interested in how they are personally affected.
XC, for instance, said: “If you drop it, it might break” – she has a point!
There will most definitely be more cold weather ahead – let’s see where else the ice can take us!