cartoon robot



Watch out – it’s slippery outside! Let’s have some icy fun indoors as we explore science with this super simple, awe-inspiring ice fishing activity!


  • Can
  • Ice Cubes
  • Water
  • String
  • Salt


  • Fill your can with cold water. Place 6 ice cubes inside.
  • Lay your string on top of the ice cubes. Leave it there for 30 seconds, then try and lift the string. Did you catch anything?
  • This time, let’s try adding some salt! Lay the string over the ice cubes again and sprinkle a small layer of salt on top of them. Wait for 30 seconds, then try to pull the string up. Did you catch anything this time?
    • Sometimes, the scientific method takes time. If you’re having trouble catching ice, even after adding the salt, try adjusting the amount of salt you use and/or the length of time you leave the string on the ice cubes before pulling them up. Like a true scientist, make sure you only make one modification at a time so you can determine what is or isn’t working!
  • Impress your family and friends – both those who are able to be in your home, and those you connect with virtually – by showing them the super power of science!

Spark Creative Learning!

  • As you go through this activity, follow along with the steps in the scientific method. Construct a hypothesis about what you think will happen at each step, and test that hypothesis with an experiment. Afterwards, discuss why your hypothesis did or didn’t work.
  • This experiment works because of the changing states of matter. When salt comes into contact with ice, it dissolves into the small film of liquid water that is present on every ice cube. This lowers the freezing point of water and causes a small amount of the ice to melt. The water then quickly refreezes around the string, which allows it to be picked up.
  • Turn waiting into a game! How many ways can you mark 30 seconds? Try counting up to or down from 30 by 1s, up to or down from 60 by 2s, or up to or down from 150 by 5s!
  • Become a scientist for a day! Research to find out more about the science behind this experiment, and hold your own virtual science demo for your family and friends, complete with a question and answer period! Tell them what supplies they’ll need ahead of time and lead them through the experiment yourself!


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