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STEM Activity: Design Your Own Ice Cubes

Did you know that water freezes when its temperature is lowered to 32 degrees Fahrenheit? This means that at this temperature (or lower), water turns from a liquid into a solid. Frozen water is all around us, like the snow that falls in the wintertime, the ice rinks we skate on, the ice cubes that chill our drinks and the freezers that keep our food cold.

Thanks to ice, food can be frozen and preserved longer, providing us with healthy and convenient meal options. Celebrate National Frozen Food Day on March 6 with a hands-on, super cool ice activity: creating your own ice cube mold!


Materials Needed

  • Aluminum foil
  • Cookie cutter (optional)
  • Storage container (plastic or glass)
  • Water


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Tear a small piece of aluminum foil from the roll, then bend and press the edges together to form a desired shape for your ice cube. You can create a heart, star, circle, rectangle or any other shape you can think of!

    If you’re having trouble thinking of a shape, try making an ice cube mold with the help of a cookie cutter.
    • Place a cookie cutter in the middle of your aluminum foil piece.
    • Shape the edges of the foil around the cookie cutter.
    • Remove the cookie cutter from the foil shape.
  2. Be sure the bottom of the shape remains flat.
  3. Inspect the foil shape to ensure there are no holes. The edges of the shape should be firm and smooth so that when you add water, it will not leak out.
  4. Place the foil shape in a container to help catch any water that might leak.
  5. Fill two-thirds of your foil shape with water.
  6. If there are any leaks, either dump the water and create a new ice cube mold, or find the leak and seal it by pressing the foil together.
  7. Place the container in your freezer.
  8. Wait a few hours (or overnight) for the water to freeze, then take your ice cube out of the freezer.
  9. Remove all the aluminum foil surrounding your ice cube.

    If the aluminum foil is sticking to the ice cube, wait at least a minute for the foil to warm up slightly. This will make it easier to remove.
  10. Show your cool creation to your family or friends and challenge them to design some ice cubes of their own!


What Are We Discovering?

While the process of freezing water and using ice has become a part of our everyday lives, some the ways we’ve come to benefit from ice are thanks to National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductees. For example, Hall of Famer Beulah Louise Henry invented the ice cream freezer. It could work with minimal use of ice, doubled as a water cooler and operated either by hand or by motor, depending on the availability of electricity.

The process for freezing food commercially was developed by Hall of Famer Clarence Birdseye. Birdseye recognized that the rapid freezing of food retained its original color and texture, far extending the life and nutrition of many foods we enjoy today.

Innovators like Henry and Birdseye found an opportunity to use ice to benefit people everywhere, and their inventions have directly influenced how we store and enjoy our food!


Keep The Fun and Learning Going

For more hands-on fun STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities for your family, check out our blog!

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