Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing ~20 Minutes

Conduct investigations into the properties of matter Identify several quantitative properties of materials. (example: melting point and freezing point) Accurately measure, record and present data collected during an experiment Describe chemical and physical changes in matter citing examples Ask questions and formulate hypotheses that are tentative and testable and draw conclusions from results

-investigate changes to the properties of matter when it is heated or cooled (grade 2)
-investigate the interactions of liquids and solids (grade 2)
-identify the properties of solids, liquids, and gasses (grade 2)

Materials: Ice cubes; cup; water; salt; paper towels; thermometer

Doing it:
A1. Why do we put salt on our roads in the winter time? Dramatize this question for the class to get them hooked on the topic.

B1. Challenge them to pick up the ice cube with the string using the materials provided. Have students organize themselves into small groups of 3. Stand up and hold hands in a line when they have their group: 1st person in line collects and returns experiment materials, 2nd person gets worksheet and records information for group, 3rd person will prepare to explain your groups results.

Fig 1.1 - laying the string on the ice cube, and sprinkling salt onto the string.
Fig 1.2 - after about 30 seconds, success!

C1. Have small groups write down an explanation for why what they did worked or did not work. Have the 3rd person share their groups results.
C2. Individually have students complete the prediction chart. Based on the melting and boiling points of different elements have students predict weather or not elements listed would have the same effect on ice could be used on roadways to melt snow and ice.


  • PDF Worksheet
  • Explanation: Salt lowers the freezing point of water. This means the ice below the string will melt and then refreeze, holding the string to it. This is why workers salt the roads on icy days. Whether something is solid, liquid, or gas depends on the type of matter as well as the temperature. Metal won't melt until it is quite hot, while ice melts at 0 degrees Celsius.

Experiment Feedback

Ice Fishing Feedback
From Mandeep Johal and Kathryn Gibbons, tested on a grade 2 class, March 13 2006
We feel that less structure worked well for this activity and us because it allowed us to modify the activity so that it best fit our instructional objectives and the learning needs of the students’. If this activity were pre-structured for us, then we would have succumbed into a procedure that had already been pre-established for us. Fortunately, we were able to brainstorm some different ideas and methods to demonstrate this activity to the class so that it maximized its potential to be interactive, hands-on, and experimental. The fact that this activity was not ready to use, did not prove to be problematic or un-organized because it still provided us with the necessary information to create an open-ended experiment supported with explanations and hints to make it a successful ice-fishing experience.