Brighten up the dark and chilly days of winter with some hands-on tinkering, experimenting, and creating — in the classroom or at home. Check out these totally doable STEAM projects that put winter weather and winter challenges to the test so that students are inspired to collaborate and think critically and creatively during the winter season.
Explore the snowfall in some of the world’s coldest and warmest places — or even in your own community. Students can learn about weather patterns in different places to see just how snowy the world can get! Or, have students measure snow on school property in different spots and have them consider factors like the wind to account for differences.
Explore how frost forms by creating it in your classroom! With just a can, crushed ice, water, and salt, students can create some impressive indoor frost, all while learning about condensation and temperature. See the project.
How fast can ice melt? It depends on the air and surface temperatures. Using simple ice cubes, students can time how fast ice melts both outside and inside, or even under a lamp. They can also discover how quickly ice melts inside a hot liquid versus a cold liquid. Next, they can chart their findings and consider how ice melts on pavement or on the ground. To take this activity to the next level, you can talk about climate change and melting glaciers.
Using Borax, students can grow crystal snowflakes, color them with food coloring, and watch them grow and sparkle overnight. Combining art and science, students can study concepts like design, chemistry, crystallization, and dissolving. See the project.
This science experiment demonstrates how snowstorms happen, and how chemical reactions can impact surrounding materials. With just vegetable oil, white paint, glitter, Alka-Seltzer, and a jar, students can create their own contained blizzard. See the project.
Study volume and have some fun making “snowballs” erupt! This six-ingredient project requires some teacher prep time to make the snowballs, but the looks on your students’ faces as snow grows will be totally worth it. See the project.
Every snowflake has a beautifully unique pattern. In this project, students can get creative by designing their own snowflake patterns on paper — or on any surface — with some simple craft supplies. The creator of this project suggests using a cupcake tin as a handy craft supply holder. See the project.
Jennifer L.M. Gunn spent 10 years in newspaper and magazine publishing before moving to public education. She is a curriculum designer, teaching coach, and high school educator in New York City. She is also co-founder of the annual EDxEDNYC Education Conference for teacher-led innovation, and regularly presents at conferences on the topics of adolescent literacy, leadership, and education innovation.