Easy Science Experiment: Why Do Ice Cubes Crack in Drinks?

Easy Science Experiment: Why Do Ice Cubes Crack in Drinks?

I’m not prone to trying out science experiments at home. It’s because I am lazy. Even when I subscribed to science projects that came monthly in the mail, it didn’t seem to take with my kids. But I yearn to be one of those moms who can do science with their kids at home.

It’s because when I was struggling with Freshman Chemistry in college — a scarring experience — I met a kid whose parents were BOTH chemists. He said that his mother had the periodic table up in the playroom for as long as he could remember. Needless to say, he was cruising through Organic Chemistry when it was an experience that I had to repeat in order to get a decent grade. 

So now I am the converted because I suspect that early exposure to science — real science; the kind where you make predictions and fiddle with things — not only helps to expose kids to STEM and a love of trying things out, but I think it also gives kids an intuitive sense of how things work.

When I found this video on The Kid Should See This, and it demonstrates the easiest experiment ever, my son and I impulsively ran downstairs straight to the kitchen to give it a go. The nicest part is that the video explains the WHY so you don’t have to!

why does ice crack kitchen science for kids

Take ice straight from the freezer and drop it in a glass of water. Listen and watch for the crack. Why does it do that?

Professor Martyn Poliakoff of the Periodic Table of Videos team explains differential expansion.

He then gives the experiment a twist: What if “hot” ice is dropped into -196C (-320.8F) liquid nitrogen? What will happen and why?

My son and I decided to give this a try. In our first attempt, the ice did not seem to crack when we used room temperature water from the tap.

We tried again with warm water hoping that this would create a crack right away.

What easy science experiments are you doing with your kids? Please share because I’d love to copy you!

Easy Science Experiment: Why Do Ice Cubes Crack in Drinks?

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Ann

    I love that guy’s hair! He looks like the perfect mad scientist.
    This a a fun and easy one to try definitely!
    We made popcorn last night!
    Ann recently posted…Diamond CraftMy Profile

  2. christy

    I love the periodic table of the elements videos. That guy is great. His grad students must have so much fun.

    During the summer we have been doing more observational science than experimental stuff. My kids have been taking our camera outside and photographing insects and plants. Then we try to identify what they have photographed. It helps give us a sense of seasonal changes too, to watch the subtle and not so subtle changes, and every year as we learn more plants and insects names it is like making friends. The next year we watch for the friends we made last year.
    christy recently posted…Can you count the counting books?My Profile

  3. That’s a nice one! I’m going to check if he has more videos!
    By the way, the link for ‘the kid should see this’ doesn’t seem to be working! 🙂
    Roshni recently posted…Hindu widows in India: that white sari!My Profile

  4. Taslim

    Would like to sign up for emails

  5. This is definitely a good one to try. I love easy! Really. Haha!

    Let’s see, we are doing an engineering experiment now. We are only in the researching stages. It’s definitely an interesting experience. I am so NOT an engineering person – but I guess it’s good to get out of your element.

    Thanks so much for sharing this awesome experiment!
    Lisa Nelson recently posted…Schools Spell Opportunity – The Work of the Janet Ketcham FoundationMy Profile

  6. I agree, the earlier you introduce a child to science the easier it is for them later. I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t do well in chemistry. Think the high school teacher passed me because he saw how painful it was for me. My daughter got an A in college in chemistry — but she had a study group and I think that helps too. Working with others.
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…How to Heal a Broken WingMy Profile

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