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Snow Day Science: Snowbleck!

Have a pile of snow in your backyard?  Bring a bit of the snow indoors, for snow day science.  

Materials

Photo of snowbleck materials: cornstarch, large bowl, spoon

  • 2–3 cups fresh snow
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • Large bowl
  • Spoon or spatula

How to make snowbleck

Mixing snowbleck materials in a blue bowl.

  1. Collect 2–3 cups of fresh snow, and place it in a bowl.  If the snow is light and fluffy, pack the snow into the measuring cup.
  2. Add 1 cup of cornstarch to the snow and stir with a spoon.
  3. Once the mixture is crumbly, try making balls or shapes, and smashing the snowbleck against the side of the bowl. If the mixture doesn’t hold together, try adding a bit more snow.
  4. Have fun experimenting with the snowbleck by forming it into shapes, dumping it onto a plate or watching it melt.
  5. As you are experimenting, watch what happens to the snowbleck as the snow starts to melt. Does the snowbleck act any differently?  

What’s the science? 

Hand holding completed snowbleck.

Snowbleck is very similar to oobleck, or the cornstarch and water mixture that you may have played with. Basically, it’s frozen oobleck!  When cornstarch and water mix, the particles of cornstarch become suspended in the water. When you squeeze oobleck, the particles of cornstarch are pressed together, so it acts like a solid. Snow is made from water vapor that freezes in a cloud, forming crystals. As the snow starts to melt as soon as you place it in the bowl, there is enough water to start mixing with cornstarch, creating a frozen oobleck. As more snowbleck melts, it starts to act like the oobleck you are familiar with. 

Looking for more science-related snow activities? Check out this blog post—Snow Day Fun!