Instant Ice

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In this activity, learners observe a quick phase change as water rapidly goes from a liquid state to a solid state. By slowly pouring almost frozen water (water that has been in the freezer for a couple hours) over a piece of ice, learners will see instant ice form. Tip: To save time, put more than one water bottle in the freezer when prepping for the activity, in case you want to repeat the experiment multiple times. Includes step-by-step instructions, suggested extensions, reflection questions to ask learners, and an explanation of the science behind the activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 2 hours

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per student)

  • Plastic water bottles (1–3, disposable or reusable)
  • Plastic tray or baking sheet (to catch water)
  • Ceramic bowl (glass can work, but it won’t work as well)
  • Ice cubes (2–3)
  • Optional: food dye
  • Optional: ceramic plate


  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Changes of Phase


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Pacific Science Center, 2020

Funding Source:

  • Alaska Airlines