Here are a few activities that researchers and teachers at IceCube
developed. We also recommend the following sites for other Antarctic
The IceCube project uses hot water to melt holes in the ice. It takes
about 40 hours to melt one hole at the South Pole. Your job for this
activity is to see how long it takes to melt a hole in your ice block.
While you are doing this, think about why the holes are melted in the ice
rather than being made with a mechanical drill. Which do think is faster?
How could you test your ideas?
The cloud chamber, also known as the Wilson chamber, is used for detecting
particles of ionizing radiation. In its most basic form, a cloud chamber
is a sealed environment containing a supercooled, supersaturated water
vapor. When an alpha or beta particle interacts with the mixture, it
becomes ionized. The resulting ions act as condensation nuclei around
which a mist will form because the mixture is on the point of
We learn how to build and work a cloud chamber to create this phenomenon ourselves!
This lab models the reaction of the apparent energy loss in beta decay
experiments that led Wolfgang Pauli to propose the existence of the
neutrino in 1931. Pauli theorized that either the Law of Conservation of
Energy did not apply in beta decay, or there was some unknown—and,
at that time undetectable—particle released that was ultimately
responsible for the energy loss.
In this lab, students will learn the value of accurate measurements and
the use of the scientific method when confronted with an apparent
contradiction in basic scientific laws. The mass of a popcorn kernel will
be measured to see if it is conserved when popcorn is popped.
Most meteorite material that reaches the Earth’s surface is very small.
That's a good thing, of course, because big impacts are
catastrophic–the biggest ones wiped out entire species of plants and
animals, and evidence suggests that this has happened many times
throughout the history of life on Earth.
Every day, the Earth sweeps up several tons of extraterrestrial material as
it travels around the Sun.
In this activity, we will learn how to mine and collect micrometeorites and
create a collection to help us understand questions about why the material
is so small, how to find it, and how to organize it.
If you would like to get involved and/or sponsor an outreach event, please
contact us at