A student doing the “A Slice of Ice” experiment emailed me last week with some concerns about his results. According to his calculations, his results did NOT prove what he expected. He had hypothesized that pieces of ice with the greatest surface area would melt first. His data did not back that up, and he was concerned that something was wrong.

I was also concerned, because his hypothesis was correct. If the amount of water frozen remains the same, then ice with the most surface area melts the fastest. So I asked to see his numbers.

And once again, this young man was correct. He had made an error entering his data, and had calculated the surface area incorrectly. When he put the numbers in the correct places in his spreadsheet, his data proved his hypothesis to be true.

This young man learned two valuable lessons: if something doesn’t look right, check it! Follow your instincts. And always double check your data.

Get step by step instructions on how to find out if surface area affects the melting time of ice at 24 Hour Science Projects!