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Melting Ice

Source Institutions

    Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence

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Melting Ice

In this activity, learners explore density, convection, stratification, and, by inference, the melting of icebergs. Learners make hypotheses, test their hypotheses, and explain their observations.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Graduated cylinder or beakers
  • Clear plastic cups
  • Bottle of fresh water
  • Bottle of salt water (35 grams of salt in 1 liter) (Both fresh and salt water must be at room temperature and free of bubbles)
  • Ice cubes (perfectly cubic ice cubes are greatly preferred)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

Includes assesments for student learning

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Chen, Bob; COSEE OCEAN


  • All Rights Reserved, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, ©2012

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0827983
  • National Science Foundation, 0828142
  • National Science Foundation, 0827953
  • NOAA National Sea Grant
  • Office of Naval Research
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


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