In this fun and easy excavation activity, we’re going to use science to cut a block of ice and discover the awesome items we have hidden inside.
  • Two bolts about three inches long
  • 18 inches of thin wire
  • Large plastic container
  • Freezer (make sure your container will fit in your freezer)
  • Block of wood or cutting board
  • Items to excavate. Little plastic marine animals are awesome but you can add whatever you want for your Excavating Adventurer to discover!
  • Optional - food coloring


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  1. Fill the container about a quarter of the way full with water and add a few of your excavation items.
  2. Optional - Add a drop or two of food coloring.
  3. Place in the freezer an hour or two until the water freezes.
  4. Add another layer of water and excavation items.
  5. Optional - Use different colors of food coloring for each layer for a really cool effect!
  6. Freeze for another hour or so. Continue this layering until the container is full and frozen into one solid block.
  7. Tie one end of wire to each bolt.
  8. Set the ice cube on the wood block. You may need to run warm water on the outside of the container to get the ice block to slide free.
  9. Center the wire on the ice cube and use the bolts as handles to push down on the ice cube.
  10. The wire will begin to cut into the ice cube.
  11. As the wire goes through the ice cube, you will notice that the cut begins to refreeze back together.
  12. Encourage your Excavating Adventurer to continue using the wire as a excavation tool to cut out and discover items. Other tools can be incorporated and warm water can also be used to speed up the excavation process.
  13. Frozen water has an unusual property of melting under pressure which allows the wire to slice through the ice block. 


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating your own Ice Block Excavation to investigate and explore. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun!
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about science, STEM, experiments, and more!
If you love rocks, geology, and excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!
Happy Excavating!
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