- 9 x 13 pan, 1–2 per table
- 6-inch ruler, 1–2 per table
- Rolls of masking tape, 2 per table
- 5-pound bag of flour, 1 bag for every 3 pans
(gluten free option: cornstarch)
- Scissors, 3–4 per table
- Pencils, 3–4 per table
- 8 1/2 x 11 heavy cardstock, 3–4 per table
- Medium to large plastic 4-footed animals, 3–4
- Footprint Pattern (see DVD-ROM or download below), 1 per table
Day 4 Experiment
- Glass container
- Pitcher of water
- Fill a 9 x 13 pan half full with flour. Smooth surface with
- Optional: make sets of snowshoes ahead of time rather
than having the kids make them to save time.
Have you ever played in a big snowfall? Have you put on
boots and then run out and sunk down into the snow?
Today, we're going to investigate how to walk more successfully
on layers of snow. Walking on snow in the Arctic
can be hard work for people and animals, no matter if the
snow is packed or powdery. Snow isn't a stable foundation.
God designed many of the Arctic animals with special paws
and hooves that help them walk easier without sinking too
deeply. People have studied these animals and have made
snowshoes for themselves that use the same principles. In
fact, people have used snowshoes in the Arctic for thousands
To do your experiment, you need to know a very important
scientific term. It's called PSI, which stands for pounds
per square inch. Snowshoes are designed thinking about
the amount of pressure a body's weight puts on each
square inch of snow. The greater the pressure, the deeper
the person sinks into the snow. Snowshoes are made bigger
than regular shoes and boots, so they spread the person's
body weight over a large area. That way the feet won't
sink completely into the snow. Your challenge is to create
some snowshoes that will reduce the sinking of the plastic
animals at your table. I'm going to talk you through some
steps for this experiment, so here we go!
- Stand your plastic figure gently on the flour in the pan.
- Now, remove the figure and observe how deep the
- Next, using the cardstock and scissors, cut out your first
set of snowshoes for the figure. The two basic shapes
used in the Arctic are "teardrop/raindrop" shape and
"wide oval/bear paw" shape. Choose one of the shapes
to use for the entire experiment. Your set should have a
snowshoe for each foot or paw. You can look at the Footprint Pattern (see below download), choose a shape, draw the
shape on cardstock to fit your animal's feet, and then cut
out the footprints.
- Tape the snowshoes to the feet.
- Use a ruler to spread the flour and smooth it out again.
- Stand the plastic figure again gently on the flour.
- Remove the figure and observe how deep the snowshoe
- If time, try the activity again with a bigger set of snowshoes,
but remember to keep the shape the same.
- Push the feet down into the flour without the snowshoes.
Then, using the same pressure, try it again
pushing the feet with the snowshoes into the flour. Notice any difference in how it feels trying to push
the feet into the flour.
- Is there any relationship between the size of the snowshoe
and the depth of the hole? Did the
snowshoes in your experiment help your animal not
to sink as deeply? Was
the sinking less and less as you made larger and
larger snowshoes? As we said earlier, God has
created animals with the ability to not sink because of
the size of their paws. God thought of everything when
He made these amazing creatures!
Pre-Prep for Day 4
- Fill a glass with water and then carefully
place in the freezer. See where the top of the water is and compare
that to the level of the ice in the frozen container
on Day 4. Mark where the level of water is on the glass.