All About Ice

States of Water: A Snow Mobile


To introduce the properties and states of water, children ages 8 to 13 prepare the materials for a mobile. As they undertake the activities in the module, the children discuss the questions posed by the mobile and questions or ideas they may have about ice, water, and water vapor. At the close of the module, they complete the mobile.

What's the Point?

  • Water can exist in different states — solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor).
  • Water can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling.
  • Water has many observable properties that vary depending upon its state.


For each child:

  • 1 set of raindrop, snowflake, and cloud mobile pieces, printed double sided on 8"1/2 x 11" cardstock
  • Thin marker or colored pen or pencil
  • Crayons, colored pencils, glitter, yarn, foil, tissue paper, stickers, and other craft items to decorate the mobile pieces
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Envelope with the child's name to store the mobile pieces
  • His/her Ice Investigator Journal
  • 3 paper plates
  • 1 (4') piece of string or yarn
  • 18 (4"–6") pieces of string or yarn
  • Tape
  • Hole punch (optional)

For the facilitator:


  • Make copies of the mobile pieces for each participant.
  • Pre-cut the string or yarn or let the children select lengths of their own.
  • Plan to store each child's pieces individually in the child's envelope throughout the activities, as the children will update the information after many of the activities.


  1. Distribute the sheets of mobile pieces. Have the children explore the following questions:
    • What are the questions or statements about? Water, ice, and water vapor.
    • How do the shapes relate to the questions or statements? The questions or statements on the raindrops explore water; the clouds, water vapor; and the snowflakes, ice.
  2. Explain that they will discover the answers as they complete the activities, and that they will record their observations - and other questions or discoveries they make - on the appropriate piece. Do they know the answers to any of the questions at this time? Do they have any questions or observations they would like to write on the blank pieces? Share that they will make a mobile using the pieces after they have learned more about water, ice, and water vapor.
  3. Invite the children to cut out the raindrops, clouds, and snowflakes; they do not need to cut the edges exactly; they can cut an outline around the different pieces. Provide the children with the scissors, glue, and craft items and have them decorate their mobile pieces. Remind them to leave some space on the back sides for their own questions or discoveries.
  4. After the mobile pieces are completed and the glue has dried, place the pieces in the envelope marked with the child's name.
  5. Conduct All About Ice Module Activities and answer the questions on the mobile pieces.
  6. Snow mobile Have the children examine their snow mobile pieces. Have they answered all of the questions? Prompt them to talk about any they have not answered and brainstorm the answer as a group.
  7. Distribute the tape and string and invite the children to assemble their snow mobiles. Have them decorate their paper plates — the frame of the mobile — if they wish. They also may further decorate their mobile pieces.
  8. Invite the children to make a three-tiered hanger for their mobile pieces. Have them tie a knot at one end of their long string. Instruct them to poke a tiny hole in the middle of one of the paper plates. Have them thread string through the hole in the paper plate so that the paper plate rests on the knot. Invite them to place a piece of tape across the knot and hole to secure the plate. Next have them tie a knot about a foot above the first paper plate. The children will thread the string through a tiny hole in the second paper plate until it rests on the second knot. Secure it in place with a piece of tape. Repeat the process for the first paper plate; it should rest on a knot about a foot above the second plate.
  9. Invite the children to tape the end of a short string to the center top of each of their snowflake, raindrop, or cloud pieces. Have them attach the other end to the bottom of one of the plates. They can arrange them in any order they choose; either with all the raindrops at one level and the clouds at another, or mixed. If they wish, they can vary the lengths of the strings from which the pieces are hanging.
  10. When they are finished, have the children tie a loop in the end of the string above the top plate. They can hang their mobiles from these loops.
  11. Hang the mobile and enjoy all you have learned!


Invite the children to share what they have learned about water in its liquid, solid, and gas states. What was one of the most interesting things they learned?

Invite them to ponder if water, ice, or water vapor exist on other planets or moons in our solar system.

Get the solar system in your inbox.

Sign up for LPI's email newsletters