Are you looking for a FUN STEM activity to do over the summer? Get excited because in this experiment you will enjoy some ice cream that will make learning feel cool. Parents and teachers alike can utilize this activity to enrich their student's educational experience.
Before we dive in, let’s briefly discuss what STEM is? STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It focuses on hands-on learning that is beneficial for social engagement, college-career readiness, and future careers.
Ice Cream in A Bag
Create ice cream using science!
Objective: Identify independent variables in the experiment design. Make ice cream through a series of chemical reactions.
In each sandwich bag, place 1 tablespoon of sugar, ½ cup of half-and-half (or alternative), and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Seal both bags well.
Add 4 cups of ice cubes to one of the large, gallon-sized bags. Then add 6 tablespoons of salt to the bag.
Put one of the small bags you prepared into the large bag with the ice cubes. Be sure both bags are sealed shut.
Put on oven mitts or wrap the bag in a small towel and then shake the bag for 5 minutes. Feel the smaller bag every couple of minutes while you shake it. Record your observations.
Add 4 cups of ice cubes to the other large, gallon-sized bag, but do not add any salt to it. (What do you think will happen without using salt?) Make a hypothesis.
Put the other small bag you prepared into this large bag. Be sure both bags are sealed.
Put on oven mitts or wrap the bag in a small towel and shake the bag for 5 minutes, as you did before. Feel the smaller bag periodically while shaking. Record your observations. Compare how cold the different ice bags feel. Does one feel much colder than the other?
If you successfully made some ice cream, enjoy it now as a tasty reward! If one of your bags did not make ice cream, change an independent variable and try again.
Note: If one of your bags did not make ice cream, try putting it back in the large bag that had ice cubes and salt and shake for 5 minutes.
Record your observations. Did it make ice cream? Why do you think you got these results?
1. After completing this experiment, what did you learn about endothermic vs exothermic reactions?
2. Were there any errors during this experiment? Why or why not?
3. What did you enjoy most about this experiment and why?
Dry Measurements: Units of volume to measure dry things such as grain or vegetables, etc.
Liquid Measurements: System of units of capacity ordinarily used in measuring liquid commodities, as milk or oil.
Volume: The amount of space that a substance
or object occupies that is enclosed within a container.
Weight: a body's relative mass or the quantity of matter contained by it, giving rise to a
downward force; the heaviness of a person or thing.
Grams: A metric unit of mass equal to one-thousandth of a kilogram.
Ounces: A measure of mass in the US and Imperial measurement systems. (29.34 Grams).
Meniscus: The curved upper surface of a liquid in a tube.
Matter: Any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume.
Density: The amount of matter in a given space or volume
Accuracy: The closeness of the measurements to a specific value.
Precision: The closeness of the measurements to each other.
Percent Error: The difference between the estimated number and the actual number when compared to the actual number when expressed in percent format.
This was a fun activity for teachers and adults to try out with their learners. To check out more fun stem activities and educational resources, visit our website. Interested in booking our Food Playground program where this activity comes from? Inquire at the link.