How Much Water Is in Snow?

Water in Snow (4)

Here’s a super-simple experiment for the next time it snows. It combines a whole host of scientific ideas, from talking about liquid vs. frozen states of matter to making a hypothesis.

First, we needed to fill a clear glass jar with snow. For the best results, make sure to tamp the snow down so your jar is truly filled all the way.

Water in Snow (1)

We took the jar inside and measured the snow (15 cm) and made guesses as to how much water would be left once it melted, keeping in mind past lessons on how ice takes up more space than water.

Water in Snow (2)

Travis guessed really low, at 2 cm! I chose 5 cm to keep things interesting. I tried marking our guesses directly on the jar, but since it was still a little wet, we found that masking tape worked better.

Water in Snow (3)

Next we needed to be scientific and record our results. We took measurements at one hour intervals over the next three hours with the following results:

3.27 pm – 15 cm

4.27 pm – 12 cm

5.27 pm – 7 cm

6.27 pm – 4 cm – all water!

Water in Snow (5)

It was neat to see that it took a full 3 hours, as well. Next time, we’d make hypotheses about the timing as well, and record that at the start.

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