Saturday, December 19, 2009

Am I a Science Teacher?

"I wish, but noooooo!", is the answer I offer after explaining the basic concept behind making an ice lantern. But, I am the daughter, niece and granddaughter of teachers, inventors and hand crafters. As I was growing up, I heard my mother say, "there has to be a better way to do this", in regards to almost everything, and then gave me incredible freedom to explore my own creativity.

So when she introduced the concept of making ice lanterns decades ago, I played with the idea and tried to "make it better." And when my own kids came along, I had one more trick up my sleeve around the holidays to add even more magic to their lives. As time marched on, ice lanterns continue to be lit for homecomings and celebrations, and an old crusty ones filled with sun lines are often put (in a punch bowl drip tray system) in bedrooms as ethereal nightlights.

If you are wondering what the basic science is behind making ice lanterns . . .
. . . water, as it is freezing, forms very orderly crystalline patterns that do not have room in their molecular structure for any other substances, so the impurities are pushed toward the warmer center of the lantern (causing streaks of light). When a balloon filled with water has been placed on the warmth of the earth to partially freeze is popped, the unfrozen water and extra minerals (impurities) are released revealing a natural cavity on the bottom of the lantern. Because of the round nature of the cavity, a candle can be placed under the lantern (with plenty of air flow from underneath) and a chimney forms all by itself. How? The surface tension of water causes the melting water to follow the shape of the cavity and not extinguish the candle."

Science teacher, no. Ice lantern ethusiast, yes . . .

I am thrilled to report that we now have secure ONLINE ORDERING of Globe Ice Lantern Kits and Supplies through our distributor, Hedberg Maps. As always, feel free to CONTACT ME with question, concerns and suggestions!

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