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Pond Slush

This picture was taken at a ranch in the Des Moines area. Kids were ice skating on the pond as the ice was very thick. However, it was starting to warm up so instead of being able to use it for hockey, they were picking up all of the slush on top of the ice. The properties of the ice were not suitable for playing hockey. 

Des Moines, Iowa

Driving Question


  • What properties does a pond need to have in order to skate on it?

Probing Questions

  • How would you describe what you see in this picture?
  • Do you think this would be a good pond to skate on? Why or why not?
  • Have you been skating before? If so, what was the surface like?

Classroom Suggestions

Students could:

  • Use a variety of materials to create a bridge. Students could test their materials by placing objects on it to see if it will support them. Have students do at least three different sets of materials to see which material was the best for this project. Explain the properties of the materials..
  • Use three different materials to use as a road for a toy car. Ideas could be sandpaper, felt, wax paper and a piece of heavy fabric. If you raced your car across each material, students could determine which surface would work the best for the car. Have them explain the properties of the materials and explain why they thought that material was the best for the car.
  • Give students water, playdough and marbles. Have them build a snowman. Which material was the best for building a snowman? What properties did each material have that helped make the snowman or made it difficult to make a snowman?

Relevant Related Resources

Material Books by Lisa J. Amstutz: This author has a handful of books about different properties materials might have. Each book gives examples of objects with specific properties that are helpful in everyday life.
Material Magic: Mad Hatter | Mystery Doug: Students are given a scenario where they need to build a hat. They will learn about the different properties of the materials and they will use those materials to build a hat that will protect them from the sun. You do need a subscription.​​​​​​​
Properties of Matter 2nd Grade Science Game | Ecosystem for Kids: An online science game to help students identify properties of matter.

Iowa Core Alignment


Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose

Credit Info

Phenomena submitted by Tiffany Christensen.

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