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The phase changes of matter are studied here by making ice cream in a recloseable plastic bag


Math, Science  


3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11  

Title – Ice Cream: Science Has Never Tasted So Good!
By – Kelly Wilkin
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Math
Grade Level – 3-11

Name of Unit or Concept:

    Phase Changes

Lesson and/or Activity:

    Making Ice Cream in a Baggie

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills Science Standards:

    B: The student will be able to identify matter as a liquid, solid, or gas.

      (b)7: The student knows matter has physical properties;

Learning Objectives:

    The student will be able to:

    • Use math to determine how many times they will need to fill their given measuring tool
    • Recognize the different phases of matter that come about with the duration of the lesson
    • Effectively use teamwork to make their ice cream and clean up the mess.

List of Material needed:

  • newspaper to cover all desks
  • plastic spoons
  • paper bowls
  • paper towels
  • 2 quarts of whipping cream or half-and-half
  • 1 gallon of milk
  • sugar
  • rock salt
  • ice
  • measuring cups
  • vanilla
  • pitchers
  • gallon-sized Ziploc Baggies
  • quart-sized Ziploc Baggies
  • chocolate syrup and sprinkles (optional)

Pre-Activity Preparation:

  • Divide students into groups of seven or eight.
  • Have students completely cover their working space with newspaper.
  • Pass out 1 ingredient, 1 pitcher, 1 measuring cup, and two quart-sized baggies to each group.


  • Tell students that they are going to making something.
  • Show them the ingredients and have them make an inference about what they are going to make.

Learning Experiences:

  1. Present hook (above).
  2. Put the instructions on the overhead.

    1. With your group of seven or eight, mix the following ingredients into your pitcher:
      • two cups of milk
      • two cups of whipping cream
      • a capful of vanilla
      • three fourths of a cup of sugar
    2. Stir your ingredients.
    3. Pour half of the mixture into one quart-sized bag and the other half into another.
    4. Your groups will then split into two groups of three or four, with each group responsible for one of the quart-sized bags of mixture.
    5. Send one person from your group to the teacher to get a bag of ice.
      • Put your little bag into the bag of ice and seal the bag tightly.
      • Then shake the bag until your mixture becomes ice cream (about 10 minutes).
  3. Read the instructions over with them. Explain to them that when they split the mixture, they are going to split into groups of three or four.
  4. Have one person from each group come up and get a gallon-sized bag filled halfway with ice with a half of a cup of rock salt mixed in.
  5. Time them while the shake or, if you’re daring, toss the bag.
  6. Go around checking the consistency of their mixtures.
  7. Once everybody’s mixture is ice cream, have them settle down in their desks.
  8. Have the person who got the bag of ice go to the sink, pour their ice out, throw their big bag away, wash off their little bag with cold water, and pick up a spoon.
  9. Go around to each group and divide their ice cream equally. If you choose to, pass around chocolate syrup.
  10. While they are eating, put the “How it Works” sheet on the overhead.
    How it works:

        When two substances come into contact, the substance with the lower temperature absorbs heat from the substance with the higher temperature until the two substances are the same temperature.

    For example

      : if you touched your hand to a hot plate, your hand would absorb heat from the plate.
  11. Have one student read the “How it Works”.
  12. After closure (below), have the students place all ingredients away in the place of your choice and throw everything else away.


  1. Ask them: ” Was this a chemical or a physical change?
      They should answer “physical”.
  2. If they don’t, say: “Okay, when you cook a pizza, can it go back to how it was originally?”
      They should all answer “no”.

    Then say: “Is that a physical or chemical change?”

      They should all say “chemical”.

    Then ask: “What did our mixture do when we shook it?”

      Answer: Freeze.

    “What did it do as we were eating it?”

      Answer: Melt.

    “So is it a chemical or a physical change?”

      They should all get the correct answer now.

E-Mail Kelly Wilkin !

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