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!

Frozen Giants: Fun Facts for Kids about Ice and Glaciers

Fun Facts about Ice and Glaciers:

  1. Ice is simply frozen water! When water molecules lose energy and slow down, they form a solid state called ice.

  2. Glaciers are massive bodies of ice that can be as large as mountains. They form over many years from compacted layers of snow and ice.

  3. Glaciers have a significant effect on shaping the Earth's surface. As they slowly move, they carve out valleys, create U-shaped valleys, and leave behind unique landforms.

  4. Ice can expand when it freezes, which is why lakes and rivers sometimes freeze and ice cubes float in your drink!

  5. Glaciers store vast amounts of freshwater, contributing to the Earth's water cycle and providing a vital resource for rivers, lakes, and ecosystems.

  6. Ice and glaciers can transport rocks and sediment. When a glacier melts, it deposits these materials, creating distinct features like moraines, drumlins, and erratic boulders.

  7. Glaciers can be found on every continent except Australia. Some of the most famous glaciers include the polar ice caps, Greenland Ice Sheet, and the glaciers in the Himalayas.

  8. Icebergs are large chunks of ice that break off from glaciers and float in the ocean. Most of an iceberg is hidden underwater, making them hazardous for ships to navigate.

  9. Ice can form in intricate patterns, such as frost on a window or snowflakes with unique shapes. No two snowflakes are exactly alike!

  10. The study of ice and glaciers is called glaciology, and scientists use various tools like ice cores and satellite imagery to learn more about these frozen wonders and their impact on our planet.

Discover the icy wonders of the world and explore how ice and glaciers have shaped the Earth's geology!

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!

Question 1: Which of the following is true about glaciers? A) They are made up of liquid water. B) They only exist in Antarctica. C) They shape the Earth's surface through their movement. D) They are formed from compacted layers of soil.

Correct answer: C) They shape the Earth's surface through their movement.

Question 2: What is the main factor that contributes to the formation of glaciers? A) Wind erosion B) Volcanic activity C) Compacted layers of snow and ice D) Evaporation of water bodies

Correct answer: C) Compacted layers of snow and ice

Question 3: What is the hidden danger of icebergs for ships? A) They cause extreme cold temperatures. B) They emit harmful gases. C) They can melt quickly and flood the ship. D) They create strong winds and storms.

Correct answer: C) They can melt quickly and flood the ship.