Yeah, we’re cool . . .

Tuesday in the Children’s Department we decided to have some fun with this frigid, arctic weather we’re having instead of complaining…

As a part of our Homeschool Tuesdays program, we went outside to try a couple of things you can only do when it’s this cold.

First, we tossed boiling water into the air:


Yes, this really works!  Though, it worked better when I tried it at home this morning when the air temperature was -10 on my porch.  It had warmed up to a balmy +3 when we did it at the library.

Next, we froze t-shirts.


Yes, the t-shirt is frozen solid, not being blown by the wind.

Lessons learned:

  1. You can make your own snow!  When extreme cold hits, there’s very little water vapour in the air. Boiling water, on the other hand, emits a large amount of vapour – and that’s why it steams. When it interacts with cold temperatures, the excess vapour crystallizes, creating instant snowflakes.   (explanation taken from
  2. Cold air is dangerous!  It doesn’t take very long for things to freeze in sub-zero temperatures especially when you factor in the wind chill.  The shirt took only a few minutes to freeze with an air temperature of +3 and wind chill of -15.
  3. There is fun to be had no matter the weather…and, you may learn something if you’re not careful!

Now, time for a cup of tea, blanket, and a good book.  What are you reading?  We’d love to hear!

About Kathy

Senior Librarian, Children's Dept, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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