Experiments–The Amazing Ice Cube

Wahoo! Wow! What?

A discrepant event goes against your student’s expectations and thus provides an open-ended question to stimulate the inquiry process. You will experience thought provoking shouts,

“What’s This?”
“I Don’t Believe It!”


Now before you perform this unbelievable discrepant event, make sure you at least do one practice run!  It’s always a shame when a teacher does not practice an experiment before conducting… I know you all have seen or heard about it before.  

Make sure all of your students are able to see this event; a document camera projecting the demonstration is the best and safest way for every student to see the event in their seat.

Now remember, you want your students to be excited so use very dramatic gestures. Almost as if you are a magician performing a magic trick. I never speak while performing the demonstration to grab the class’s attention. 

Once finished, allow students to think about what happened, discuss with fellow classmates, and then let them try to explain the discrepant event to you. Discrepant events can initiate a conversation, generate questions, an informal evaluation of understanding, address student misconceptions, use as an application, and a formal evaluation of understanding.

I will share many, many discrepant events as time goes on. But let’s get started right now with the first one, 

The Amazing Ice Cube!

What you will need:

  • Distilled H2O
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Salt H2O
  • Ice Cubes from Tap H2O
  • 3 Beakers
  1. Fill beaker 1 with 200mL of distilled H2O.
  2. Fill beaker 2 with 200mL of ethyl alcohol.
  3. Fill beaker 3 with 200mL of salt H2O.
  4. Place an ice cube in each unlabeled beaker and enjoy the show!