14
Jul

The idea behind “time lapse photography” is take a series of images or short segments of video over a set interval of time. Combine these images together to make a slow event happen faster, or a fast event happen slower.

One fun way to watch a solid turn to a liquid is to build a miniature snowman in a pan, set up a camera, and begin taking regular photos throughout the melting of the snowman. With a miniature snowman it only takes about an hour or so to completely melt.

If you don’t have snow to build a miniature snowman, you can do this same activity with a couple ice cubes or a bowl of ice cream or a popsicle.

This activity works best if you have a tripod to put the camera on so there isn’t movement.

There are also video cameras that have a time lapse mode. This is the simplest way to do this. You plug in the camera, set the time mode, and then come back later to see the results.

Once the snowman has melted, import the photos or short video clips into a movie software program. Then have children voice over with descriptions of what is happening in the state of matter change. Or, for a more creative twist, document what the snowman is thinking during the melting process!

To show the liquid changing to a gas you can set up the camera along with a hot plate. Put a shallow pan of water on the hot plate. With this you will want to take photos at a faster rate, such as one per minute. Then you will capture the water begin to boil, the steam rising, and then the pan emptying. Be careful at the end as the empty pan will begin to burn!

You can use one set of clips for the whole class and then have the students work in teams of two to add the voice documenting the experience. It is interesting to see how different the movies can be with everyone starting with the same footage.

States of matter become much more interesting when students can teach others and document the changes through time lapse photography.

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