Winter Weather Teaching Box: Colors of Snow

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Goal: Students learn that snow can be various shades but is usually light in color, which reflects most of the sunlight that hits it, unlike darker materials.


Engage the color of snow by looking at what colors artists have used to paint snow.

Explore students with an investigation about how different colors absorb heat.

Evaluate student learning by having students predict what would happen if light snow was covered by something dark.

  • Ask students to predict what would happen in places where there is soot or dirt on top of snow and ice. Student responses should include that the darker color of soot or dirt on top of ice would absorb heat. It would warm up faster than light colored snow and ice.

Performance Expectation and Standards:

  • PE: K-PS3-1. Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.
  • NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and carrying out investigations
  • NGSS DCI: PS3.B Conservation of energy and energy transfer
  • NGSS Crosscutting themes: Cause and effect
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