Snow Science

Snowshoes help you walk on top of snow instead of sinking in it.

Have you ever tried to walk in deep snow? It’s not easy. Every step you take, you sink down into the snow. This can make getting around in the snow almost impossible. Fortunately, long ago humans engineered a solution to this problem. They made snowshoes. With snowshoes, you can walk on top of the snow!

How do snowshoes work? They decrease the amount of pressure you put on the snow. Pressure is the amount of force in an area. The force comes from your weight. Your weight cannot be changed, but the area the force is applied to can. Snowshoes are much bigger than your foot. They spread the force of your weight out over a bigger area, resulting in less pressure. Instead of sinking in the snow, you float on it!

Snowshoe hares have large, furry paws that work like snowshoes.

Snowboards, skis, and sleds work in a similar way. Animals that live in areas that get lots of snow have large, furry paws. Their paws act like snowshoes!

What Do You Think? How could you increase the amount of pressure on something? Why might you want to do that?

Photo Credit: (t)Daniel J. Grenier/Moment/Getty Images, (b)impr2003/iStock/Getty Images