While reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls, she wrote about how Almanzo and his brother helped harvest ice blocks from the frozen Trout River. They were placed in an ‘ice house,’ which would keep them frozen allowing them to be used all year round. We decided to turn this into an Ice Insulation Experiment.
In the book, Almanzo’s family used 3 inches of sawdust around each ice block, stacking them floor to ceiling in the specially constructed ice house build. We collected four different materials to see which would insulate the ice the best. We chose sawdust, sugar cane mulch, rice and shredded brown paper.
The boys filled out a Science Experiment Worksheet each, writing down what they think would happen to each of the ice cubes in each of the different materials.
We used four round dishes, place a couple of ice cubes on each plate and then covered them with our materials.
Once the ice was all covered, we left them in the hot shed for an hour to melt away.
When we came back, we removed the materials as best we could and who do you think was the winner?
The sawdust of course, though the sugar cane mulch wasn’t far behind. Needless to say, the brown paper was the worse.
This was such a fun experiment. The boys are thinking of more materials to try now.
What materials would you try?