Welcome to the Protect the Popsicle Engineering Design Challenge! Have you ever bought a pack of popsicles on a hot day only to find them melted by the time you got home? Your challenge is to design, build, and test a container that keeps a popsicle cold for the longest amount of time. You’ll need to consider how heat moves (or doesn’t move) through different materials. Materials that limit heat transfer are called insulators. (Click on the video to learn about insulators.)
Start by seeing how quickly an ice cube melts when left out on the kitchen counter on top of different insulators such as paper, metal, plastic, and foam. Which one melts the fastest? Which takes the longest? What conclusions can you draw from the results?
Then decide which material you want to use for your popsicle protector. Choose one, two, or more. Consider the size and shape of your container, and whether or not you will want it to be open or closed. Test out your popsicle protector by timing how long it takes for the popsicle to melt, or use a thermometer to measure how the temperature changes inside the container.
– Ice cubes or popsicle
– Aluminum foil
– Plastic wrap
– Cotton balls
– Cardboard, foam or other packaging material
– Small box or container
– Pencil and paper
While building, consider the following challenge questions:
– What material is best at keeping the ice cube cold? Which material is the worst?
– How do the thickness of your container walls affect how cold the popsicle stays?
– How does opening and closing the lid of your popsicle protector affect how well it works?
– How will you test your design? What do your results mean?
– What can you do to improve your container?
– What is an insulator?
– How to test different insulators (no hot plate needed!)
– Written Instructions
Be sure to share how you protected your popsicle or ice cube on social media with #KIDmakes!