ice excavation

Learn about the chemistry of heat exchange and the art of archaeology when you discover what lies beneath the ice in this archaeological dig!

Learn about the chemistry of heat exchange and the art of archaeology when you discover what lies beneath the ice in this archaeological dig!

If your kids are fueled by summertime, here’s the perfect activity: A fascinating new dig site has been discovered — and it’s in your kitchen! Using a plastic milk jug, as well as a few toys and tools from around the house, you’re going to make an ancient glacier. After that, you’ll experiment with various ways to delicately get to the core — melting, chipping and doing whatever you can to uncover the iceman!

Ice Excavation

Here’s What You Need:

  • Magnifying glass
  • Plastic figurines
  • Plastic jug
  • Plastic knife
  • Scissors
  • Salt
  • Water

Here’s What You Do:

  • Using your scissors, cut off the top part of your milk jug.
  • Fill half of the jug with room-temperature water.
  • Put the jug in the freezer for 24 hours or until it’s completely frozen.
  • Take your two figurines and place them on top of the block of ice.
  • Add enough water to cover the figurines.
  • Place the jug back into the freezer until that layer is solid ice.
  • Once frozen, top off the jug with more water and — you guessed it — back into the freezer it goes!
  • When you’re ready to excavate, use your scissors to carefully cut the jug from the block of ice.
  • Now for the fun stuff!
  • Choose your method of digging into the ice.
  • Try carefully cutting into it with the plastic knife.
  • Try melting it by refracting sunlight with your magnifying glass.
  • Try de-icing parts of the block using salt. Come up with new ways to uncover the fossilized remains of those brave plastic explorers!