Create a Hailstone

Sometimes very severe thunderstorms produce hail, which are icy, round particles that drop like rain during a storm. They vary in size from as small as a pea up to as large as a grapefruit. Hailstones are created when frozen droplets collide with other droplets and moisture, growing in size as they collide. Once they are too heavy for the storm’s wind and energy to keep aloft, they fall through the clouds to the Earth.

Because they are hard and frozen, hailstones can cause a lot of damage to homes, people and animals. If your forecast calls for hail, make sure you stay inside or until the storm passes. Let’s make a hailstone. This will let you see how heavy it can be, and why it’s a good idea to stay inside when they are falling.

Gather these materials to make a hailstone.

  • ice cube
  • small bowl of cold water
  • small plate or tray sprayed with non-stick spray or greased with margarine
  • string
  • freezer
  • tape measure Make sure all your materials are set up and ready so you can work quickly. You don’t want your hailstone to melt.

First, measure your ice cube. How big is it? Then tie the string around the ice cube and dip the ice cube into the bowl of water.

Place the ice cube on the small plate and put it into the freezer. Leave it for a few hours. Once that has frozen, dip it again in the water and freeze it again. Continue this process for a few days.

After a few days of re-dipping your ice cube, it should have grown quite a bit. Measure it again and calculate how much it has grown.

Now have an adult help you cut the hailstone in half. What do you see inside? What does it look like?