Man, our LEGO Minifigures can’t get a break. After they escaped from the slime monster, they are now trapped in an icy glacier!
About 2 years ago, we have done an ice excavation activity with little figurines. This LEGO ice excavation science experiment embodies the same concept, but my kids are now older. They can actually go through the scientific method and try different ways to get the LEGO Minifigures out instead of throwing the ice on the ground to break it open.
What’s great about this experiment is that there is no right way to extract the LEGO pieces from ice. You can let your kids explore different methods themselves before giving them hints. You will be surprised at what they come up with!
How to Set Up the LEGO Ice Excavation Science Experiment
- Ice cube tray (I recommend silicon ones for ease of release)
- LEGO Minifigure pieces
- Pipettes or droppers
- Cups or containers (to prevent a mess and to distinguish the different experiments)
- Fill your ice cube tray about ¾ way with water and add the LEGO Minifigure pieces. I like to break the Minifigures up so that the kids will have to search and find the right pieces to put together after they free them from ice.
- Freeze the water and LEGO pieces. I like to do this overnight so the kids are not asking if the water is frozen yet every 2 minutes.
- Release the ice cubes from the tray and place them in different containers.
- Give your kids the option of using salt and room temperature/warm/hot water with pipettes. You can also set out different tools for them to use.
- Let your kid explore different ways to extract the LEGO pieces!
Excuse our ice cubes, I only have a heart ice cube tray on hand from Valentine’s Day.
Please do supervise your kids when they are trying to figure out how to get the LEGO pieces out from the ice. My son ran and got a scissor and wanted to stab at the ice with the scissor. Mommy had to take the sharp object away.
As mentioned above, I recommend putting ice cubes in separate containers. This way, you can conduct different experiments on them without mixing up the results.
For example, if you put the ice cubes in the same container, cover some ice cubes with salt while using warm water to melt the others, how will you be able to tell which method is more effective? The warm water will flow over to the salted ice cubes and you won’t be able to distinguish if the ice is melting faster because of the salt, warm water, or a combination of both.
Here are some ways my kids tried to free the LEGO pieces from ice:
- As we learned from the ice fishing experiment, salt lowers the freezing point of water and melt the ice. So sprinkle some salt on the ice cube and watch it slowly turn into water.
- Drip the room temperature water on the ice.
- Drip the warm water (I mixed the boiling water and room temperature water) on the ice.
- Drip the hot water on the ice (you might want to do this if your kids are young).
- Mix salt with water and drip the salty water on the ice.
- Leave the ice cube outside in the sun.
- Leave the ice cube next to the heater.
- Use a toy hammer or a wooden chopstick to chip away at the ice.
We used liquid food coloring to distinguish water with different temperatures. We made the room temperature water blue, warm water green, and hot water red. We used our droppers and dripped some water on the ice. I asked my children which water they think will be more effective in melting the ice. Then, we put the cups next to each other so we can compare which one melted the ice faster.
Final Thoughts on the LEGO Ice Excavation STEM Experiment
If your child loves LEGO, he/she will have lots of fun with this science experiment. Since the experiment is open-ended, your child has the freedom to use his/her creativity to come up with a way to free the LEGO pieces.
For younger children, this STEM activity is pure fun. Who doesn’t like to play with ice and watch it melt?
For older children, you can take them through the scientific method and have them use their analytical and problem-solving skills to make an educated guess on which method is the most effective in extracting the LEGO pieces.
I hope you and your kids have as much fun as we did!
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