Integrated Arts Series: Lesson 5 - Cause & Effect - MetroFamily Magazine
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Integrated Arts Series: Lesson 5 – Cause & Effect

By Oklahoma A+ Schools

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

For this fifth installment, we’re exploring cause and effect through thermal absorption. Water’s states of matter are likely a familiar concept for our children. Frozen water becomes solid ice and will melt as it warms up. Is there something we can do to affect the rate at which that ice melts? Heat soak or thermal absorption is the idea that the surface that absorbs the most heat will get hotter in a shorter amount of time. Therefore, the objects that absorb more heat will melt ice more quickly. Use the experiment below to see this concept in action!

Thanks to our friends at Oklahoma A+ Schools, we’re continuing an ongoing series of easy, fun and engaging arts integration activities that kids and families can enjoy together. Bonus: integrating the arts with students’ everyday academics is proven to increase comprehension and retention!

Melting Ice Experiment

Take this STEAM project outside to observe the cause and effect of the sun on an ice cube. Take it further by placing ice cubes on different materials to see how the melting process is changed.

  1. Gather your materials:
    1. Ice cubes (all the same size)
    2. Timer or stopwatch
    3. A variety of surfaces to set your ice cubes on:
    4. Aluminum foil
    5. White paper
    6. Dark colored paper
    7. Plastic bag
    8. Piece of wood
    9. Another material you want to test.
    10. Paper and pencil to record your experiment results
  2. Turn your piece of paper to landscape and fold it in half. Fold that into thirds and then open. You should have 6 even boxes for recording your results.
  3. Write the names of your surfaces, each at the top of one of the boxes.
  4. Make a prediction: how will the surface affect the way your ice cube melts? Write a prediction for the length of time you think the ice will take to melt on each surface. Optional: place one ice cube on a neutral surface before beginning to provide context for how long an ice cube typically melts.
  5. Place each surface outside with one ice cube on top. Start your timer or your stopwatch.
  6. Observe the ice cubes. While you watch:
    1. Notice:
      1. What is happening to the ice cubes?
      2. Which material is accelerating the melting? Which one is decelerating? Why do you think that may be happening?
      3. What effect does the melting ice have on the surface it is sitting on?
    2. Illustrate:
      1. Choose one of the surfaces and ice to write about or draw.
      2. Make multiple drawings of the ice as it melts or take your time to draw a single “frame” of that surface and the ice melting, taking special note of shapes you find interesting.
  7. As soon as an ice cube has melted completely, note the time. Write it in the box under your time prediction. Add any additional notes or drawings of what you saw.
  8. When every ice cube has melted, cut the paper into six squares. Organize them from shortest to longest melting times. What do you notice?

Integrated arts activities are created by certified teachers and provided by Oklahoma A+ Schools to meet the Oklahoma Academic Standards across multiple content areas. Find more activities at

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