March 20, 2011

I Scream, You Scream!!

We wrapped up our study of Matter this week in science, and I must say that I loved teaching this unit.  My kiddos tend to have pretty bleak background knowledge when it comes to science and social studies.  Unfortunately I think this is the truth in more schools than not, especially in lower income schools, thanks to NCLB and our test mania focus on reading and math.  Anyways, it can be frustrating to teach a unit in science when our text book expects so much background knowledge and is written at a very high level.  I decided to pick and choose my text readings based on what the kids most needed to know to understand matter and to supplement with as many labs, demos, and hands-on activities as possible.

When I remembered making ice cream in a bag in my Methods of Teaching Science course in college, I knew I had to make time for this activity.  Have you done this activity before?  Basically, the kids combine milk, sugar, and vanilla in a quart-sized ziplock bag.  Then, they combine salt and ice in a gallon-sized bag before sealing the smaller bag inside the larger one.  10 minutes of shaking later, ice cream!!  I loved doing this activity because not only is it super fun and relatively easy to execute (although prepping and clean-up are a PAIN, as is often the case for science labs), but it gives kids a great opportunity to cause a phase change to happen (liquid --> solid).  We had a great discussion about how the cold from the ice slows the molecules down in the milk liquid, freezing it into a solid.  And YUM!  It actually makes some tasty ice cream!

My kiddos may not be science experts after this unit, but they definitely have a better understanding of solids, liquids, and gases, their properties, and what causes the phase changes between them.  All in all, a success!  Wish I could post the cute pictures, but they all have faces. :(  If you are interested in trying this lab, I'd be happy to send it to you:  email me at juiceboxesandcrayolas AT gmail DOT com

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