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Bored on the snow day? Here are 3 cold weather experiments

Animals playing in snow

MINNEAPOLIS -- As residents across a huge swath of the U.S. are hunkered down Thursday during a massive winter storm, science offers a means for the curious -- and winter weary -- to take advantage of the bitter cold.

CBS Minnesota reports on these three cold weather experiments:

Bring a balloon back to life

What's needed:

  • A balloon, access to warm indoors/cold outdoors.

What to do:

  • Blow up balloon inside warm house.
  • Bring outside and watch it deflate.
  • Bring it back inside and watch it come back to life!

What's the science?

The air inside the balloon shrinks and expands as it decreases and increases in density -- it's a gas, after all. The volume of a gas (in this case, the air) changes with temperature.

As it gets colder, the balloon will shrink as the density increases. Then, when it's brought back into the warm indoors, the density will decrease, and the air inside the balloon will expand again.

Turn hot water into snow

*SAFETY, SAFETY , SAFETY -- You must throw the boiling water AWAY from yourself and other people*

What's needed:

  • Boiling water, mug or thermos.

What to do:

  • Head outside in the frigid temperatures (the colder the better) and throw the boiling water AWAY from you.
  • Watch as the water immediately evaporates into snow.

What's the science?

The cold air isn't able to hold the water, which is why we generally don't see big snow storms amid subzero temperatures. When the hot water is tossed in the frigid air, the water droplets evaporate. The moisture then cools very quickly, and falls as snow.

Freeze bubbles

What's needed:

  • Bubble solution.
  • You can use pre-made bubble solution or make your own by mixing one part water with four parts soap (dish soap works very well, though shampoo could also be used).
  • Some blogs/websites also recommend adding light corn syrup.

What to do:

  • Go outside and blow bubbles.
  • Watch them freeze as they head down to the ground.
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