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General Science and Teaching

Classroom Experiment: Ice Cream

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Megann Kinseth Megann Kinseth 80 Points


In a few short weeks, I will be teaching a chemistry lesson to sixth grade students and they will get to make their own ice cream. During this lesson, I will have students perform the experiment of creating their own ice cream by using ziploc bags for the half & half and sugar and then put it in another ziploc bag with ice and salt. I was wondering if anyone else has done this experiment before? If so, do you have any useful tips when teaching this lesson? What did you do if a student had a dairy allergy? Or any other advice or tips to help ensure the success of using experiments in the classroom?


Megann Kinseth

Pre-Service Teacher

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5755 Points

I've done this experiment quite a few times! I've found the ratios are pretty forgiving - you end up with ice cream even if you're not exact in your measurements! One tip I have is to consider encouraging students to bring in winter gloves for handling the bags! Also - lots of paper towels. 

I had a student use lactaid milk and another use soy milk. The lactaid worked fine, the soy milk did not freeze as well, but the student didn't mind eating the slush. 

Get them to actually measure the temperature of the salt-ice-water. They're always impressed that you can make water go below its freezing point! They learn about it theoretically, but it is a whole different thing to see it. 

Shontell Davis Shontell Davis 2175 Points

I loved doing this experiment. The one thing I would change is doing it out side. I would record record myself performing the activity to show in class then take them outside. Less mess!!

Lauren O'Leary Lauren O'Leary 490 Points


This experiment is such a fun experiment, because kids of all ages have so much fun doing it! I did this experiment with my preschoolers before and they loved it. Like Emily said, having the kids wear gloves is a really good idea because the bags do get very cold. Also, I would suggest double bagging when it comes to the shaking part, because the bags will get holes or rip due to the crazy shaking of it. You will need a good amount of ice inside the bag, so you definitley want to over compensate for the ice part because you don't want to run out or not have enough. Also, the salt is a very important part and you don't want to run out of that either so I would make sure you have enough salt for all of the kids. One of my students was loctose intolerant so we used soy milk for his icecream and it tasted the same and he loved it! I think the cool thing about this experiment is that you can follow the measurements for the ingredients, but you can add more of anything and the experiment will still work, so theres a lot of trial and error room in the experiment, which can be a great learning experience for the students! 

Samantha Fadhel Samantha Fadhel 650 Points

I've done this experiement when I was in high school with my biology teacher as a winter break experiment. Something to get them really excited is to bring toppings. Though this may seem like the last thing to think about, it really gets them excited and if their ice cream doesn't quite come out right, they still get excited just to pour chocolate syrup or sprinkles on it. Hope your science lesson goes well!

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