Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students experiment with melting ice using salt and adding colour (paint or food colouring) to the melting ice to create an amazing colour display.

These Snappy Science resources have been created to boost science education in primary schools across Australia. Each lesson is designed to support teachers with the scientific knowledge, ideas and resources to stimulate a sense of wonder and curiosity in their students. Many of the big issues that Australian society will face in the future are around technology, energy, resources and climate change. All of these require students to engage with science – but most of all to enjoy science!

Science at Home: These Snappy Science resources can also be used to engage families in fun science and learning for life. You can download a student friendly version of this activity here and you can also check out the Snappy Science Digital Library.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description: This activity is relevant to Science Inquiry Skills across all primary year levels of the Australian Curriculum.

Year 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)

Year 2 Science

  • Different materials can be combined, including by mixing, for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Year 3 Science

  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)

Year 5 Science

  • Solids, liquids and gases have different observable properties and behave in different ways (ACSSU077)

Year 6 Science

  • Changes to materials can be reversible, such as melting, freezing, evaporating; or irreversible, such as burning and rusting (ACSSU095)

Syllabus outcomes: ST1-12MW, ST2-12MW, ST2-7PW, ST3-12MW.

Time required: Several hours for freezing water, 10 – 15 minutes for melting ice and adding colours.

Resources required: One or two plastic bowls suitable for freezing, water, salt, watercolour paints or food colouring of different colours, small cups or bowls for mixing paints, eye dropper.

Safety advice: None.

Keywords: Ice, salt, colour, melt.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Brief summary:

In this activity students experiment with melting ice using salt and adding colour (paint or food colouring) to the melting ice to create an amazing colour display.

Students can use the Predict, Observe, Explain table on the Student Worksheet to describe and reflect upon this experiment.

You will need:

  • One plastic bowl or tub suitable for freezing for each student or pair
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Watercolour paints or food colouring of different colours
  • Small cups or bowls for mixing paints
  • Eye dropper

What to do:

Step 1. Fill your plastic bowls 3/4 full of water and set in the freezer to freeze completely.

Step 2. Once the water in the bowls is frozen, ask students to prepare their colours. If you are using food colouring you can skip this step. If you are using paint, mix a small amount of paint with water in one of your mixing cups. You won’t need much. Mix as many colours as you have mixing cups.

Step 3. Take the bowls out of the freezer and give one to each

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Student Worksheet

In this experiment you will be melting ice with salt!


Explain what you think will happen:


Explain what happened:


Explain why you think this happened:

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