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Lesson Plan #:AELP-SCI001
Submitted by: Cindy Robinson, Owasso Junior High, Owasso, Oklahoma
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teachers from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.
Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 8, 9


  • Science

OVERVIEW: The concepts of matter can be at times too scientific. This activity enables the students to observe the changes of matter in a fun way. OBJECTIVE(s): Students will be able to:

  • Observe matter changing states.
  • To describe change.
    2 cups sugar
    4 cups half and half
    2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    clean gallon jug with cap
    crushed ice
    table salt
    spoons and cups
    large re-sealable plastic bag (1 for each 2 students)
    small re-sealable plastic bag (1 for each 2 students).

    **NOTE 1:
    For a richer tasting ice cream, add four beaten eggs (use PASTEURIZED EGGS) to step 1. Pasteurized eggs are safer than raw eggs. Adding raw eggs to the recipe increases the risk of salmonella poisoning. Please see: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/salment_g.htm

    **NOTE 2:
    This activity is more pleasant for the teacher when it is done outdoors!


  • Place the sugar, half and half, vanilla, and salt in the clean gallon jug. Add milk until the jug is almost full. Place the cap on the jug and shake well to mix all the ingredients.
  • Give each pair of students a small re-sealable bag. Pour approximately 1 cup ice cream mixture in each bag. Seal well.
  • Give each pair of students a large re-sealable bag half filled with ice. Have the students place the ice cream filled bag into the bag of ice. The students should place about 1/4 cup of salt over the ice. Seal the large bags.
  • The students can take turns or work together to churn the ice cream. The ice should be continually moved around the ice cream mixture.
    Note: additional salt may be added to decrease freezing time. Have the students guess how long it will take to freeze the ice cream
  • When the ice cream is frozen, remove it from the bags, place in individual cups and allow the students to enjoy their ice cream!
  • Have the students compare their guesses to the actual time it took the ice cream to freeze.

  • Why did some bags of ice cream freeze faster than others?
  • Would twice as much ice cause it to freeze twice as fast?
  • How would the absence of salt affect the freezing time?