The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Neighborhoods South County

May 11, 2014

Jefferson Elementary students study density of fresh, salt water

JEFFERSON — For their current unit on Hawaii, the 4-6 grade Gifted Classes at Jefferson Elementary decided to do an experiment to compare the density in salt water to that in fresh water.  

To check this, they dissolved a tablespoon of salt into a cup of regular tap water to simulate the ocean. They used regular tap water as the fresh water that would be in Lake Erie.  Students made predictions to see whether an ice cube would melt faster in the salt or fresh water. Most of the students predicted that the ice would melt faster in the salt water, comparing it to putting salt on the roads to melt the snow. Actually, the ice lasted longer in the salt water.  

This is because the water that melted from the ice cube in the fresh water was colder than the rest of the water, so it sank. The water that melted from the ice cube in the salt water was less dense than the salt water around it, so it floated on top of the water around the ice cube.  

It made a sort of insulation around the ice cube to keep it cold allowing it to stay frozen longer.

“It was a very interesting experiment,” said Christine Kovacs, teacher.

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