Snow Blankets the Earth
How Does it Affect
the Test Garden?

Do you wonder what is happening under all that snow? How does the snow affect the temperatures over it, under it, and around it? Is snow likely to freeze emerging tulips and damage them . . . or does it play another role? Design an experiment to help you answer your questions about the snow in the tulip test garden. Then YOU solve the mystery!

Designing Your Experiment

Brainstorm questions you have about snow and your test garden. Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Will snow damage my emerging tulips?
  • Will snow kill my tulips?
  • Will snow protect my emerging tulips from the cold?
  • Is it warm under the snow?
  • How cold is it under the snow?
  • Does ice help protect the emerging tulip plants?

Review your list. Choose a question you can test with an experiment. Predict what you think will happen. Then design a simple experiment to look for answers. Include:

  1. What will you measure and observe?
  2. What materials and equipment will you need?
  3. What steps will you take?
  4. What predictions can you make?
Conducting Your Experiment

Conduct your experiment. Collect and record the data and results from your experiment on charts and graphs. Look for patterns and surprises as you analyze your data.

Sharing Your Findings

Summarize and share the data and results of your experiment. Here are some ways:

  • Classroom Exhibit
  • Presentation
  • Science Fair
Getting Started: "Sample" Snow Depth Experiment

Students in Alaska asked: Do temperatures change with snow depth?
They predicted that the temperature would be warmer under the snow.

Here's how they tested their prediction:
Students dug a deep cube-shaped pit in the snow. Then they stuck four thermometers into the snow about four inches apart. Each one was deeper than the next. Here's what they found:

Snow Depth Temperature
Courtesy of University Park Elementary
snow experiment 1
0 cm deep 8.6 degrees F (-13 degrees C)
12 cm deep 12 degrees F (-11 degrees C)
23 cm deep 16 degrees F (-9 degrees C)
40 cm deep 25 degrees F (-4 degrees C)

Do temperatures change with snow depth? The students reviewed their data and asked these questions:

  • What does the data tell us about snow depth and temperatures? Was it warmer or colder the further down they went?
  • What was the temperature difference from 0 to 12 centimeters down? From 0 to 40 centimeters down?

Here is their conclusion: When it is 8.6 degrees F at the surface of the snow, it is 16.4 degrees F warmer at a snow depth of 40 cm.

Snow Facts

Dig deeper by exploring these resources about snow and ice: