Science Experiment Simulates Frost Wedging
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017
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As part of the Weathering and Erosion unit (science curriculum), all 4th grade students at Veterans Park School observed a demonstration by their classroom teachers, that simulated the effects of frost wedging on the earth's landscape.  Frost wedging is a form of weathering that occurs in cold climates in which the repeated freeze-thaw cycle of water causes rock to break apart.

As the hands-on experiment unfolded in one of the classrooms, students watched 4th grade teacher Mrs. Andrea Lacey fill two milk cartons with plaster of paris to simulate two different rocks.  Lacey noted that one milk carton contained just the plaster of paris and one had the addition of a water filled balloon in order to investigate whether frozen water would have any effect on the simulated rock.  Both cartons were placed in a freezer overnight.  

As part of the learning module students made predictions about what they believed would happen to each of the simulated rocks, recording their thoughts in their science journals. Predicting is an important process skill used in science that encourages students to use their critical thinking skills about what they believe will happen from their prior knowledge.

The next day, students observed both examples of the simulated rocks to confirm whether their predictions were correct or not.  Students also recorded the actual results of our experiment, noticing that nothing happened to the simulated rock that did not have the water balloon in it.  

However, the results of the simulated rock with the water ballon turned out quite differently. Students observed that the water expanded when frozen, and caused the simulated rock to crack and split apart.

Lacey shared that students were able to make real life connections and understand how the winter roads in our community are affected by freezing water, resulting in the roads cracking and the forming of pot holes.

 Photo Credits: Ms. Nicole Sousa

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