Snow blizzard in a jar
Learn about liquid and gas in this fun science experiment to make a snow blizzard
In this simple and festive activity for kids, students will create a snow blizzard in a jar!
This activity can function as a fun science experiment for the young engineer at home or as a full lesson in school to think about gas and reactions.
What equipment will you need?
A jar, A pot for mixing paint, Water, Baby oil (enough to fill ¾ of your jar), A small amount of glitter, Bicarbonate of soda or an effervescent tablet, A small tube of white paint, Blue food colouring, A stick for stirring
How to do it
- Step 1 – First, fill the jar until about ¾ full of baby oil.
- Step 2 – Mix water and a few tablespoons of white paint in the pot.
- Step 3 – Return to the jar of baby oil and add the glitter and blue food colouring. You can add as much of these as you like – you are creating a magical winter scene!
- Step 4 – Add the paint and water mixture into the jar, filling it to the top.
- Step 5 – Lastly, add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. Adding the bicarbonate of soda will start the blizzard!
The science behind the experiment
Oil is less dense than water, less heavy; This means the water sinks to the bottom of the jar, and the oil floats on top, and as they don’t mix, there’s a separation between the two.
When you add the bicarbonate of soda or an effervescent tablet, it reacts with the water to produce carbon dioxide gas bubbles. These stick to the water droplets. The water and gas combination is less dense than oil, making them rise to the top of the jar and create pressure in an upward direction.
At the top, the gas bubbles pop and escape into the air, leaving the dense water behind to sink back to the bottom again. This reaction creates our beautiful blizzard in a jar!
The engineering context
Understanding the way different materials work and the properties they all hold is vital in creating and developing solutions to our world’s problems. Engineers are interested in the world around them, which is a fun and critical spark to ignite from an early age.
Download the free Snow blizzard in a jar activity sheet below!
All activity sheets and supporting resources are free to download, and all the documents are fully editable, so you can tailor them to your students’ and your schools’ needs.
The activity sheet includes teacher notes, guidance, useful web links, and links (where appropriate) to the national curriculum in each of the four devolved UK nations; England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Oh ho ho, and please do share your experiment highlights with us @IETeducation! #SantaLovesSTEM.
Make a snowstorm in a jar
Marvellous Marthy shows us how to make a snowstorm in a jar