Ice Cream and Fractions

We had the best math time today! We’ve been working on fractions and as a reward I found a recipe to make ice cream right in the classroom. Now in 20 years of teaching, I’ve tried lots of things. In fact, one of the first things I teach my new students in the fall is what it means to be a guinea pig. There have been some successes over the years that make it into the annual rotation, but frequently the new things are a bust. So I didn’t have very high hopes for our homemade ice cream today.

First things first, the kids wanted to wash their hands and sanitize their desks. (Yes! They have been listening.) Next, the kids had to find a partner to work with a so their little Ziploc bags of milk wouldn’t tip over. They also had to figure out measuring cups, fractions of teaspoons and tablespoons, as well as “What’s vanilla?” “Why is it brown?” and “Why did we put the salt in a bag with the ice?”

After the kids measured out their ingredients and put them in a little bag, they added salt and ice to a gallon bag. Then they put the milk mixture in the ice bag, wrapped a dish towel around in, and started shaking the bags like crazy. They were a riot to watch- so busy laughing and complaining their arms were getting tired. They kept peeking under the dish towel to see if the milk was solid yet.

It didn’t take very long, and wouldn’t you know it? We seriously got ice cream in our little Ziploc bags. I was astonished! I couldn’t believe it worked so well! The kids used spoons to scrape out the ice cream and then added some chocolate syrup and sprinkles. It was one of the coolest math days ever! It is definitely going in the “Repeat Next Year” pile.

5 thoughts on “Ice Cream and Fractions

  1. Lovely lesson! I was in a conference with a parent about math enrichment and we were discussing real life applications for self-directed math instruction / exploration. As we got up to leave, the dad offered any assistance with real life ice cream scenarios in future math lessons. This slice feels pertinent to this conversation. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Making ice cream…one of the “coolest” days ever?! You are so clever, Brenda. Sounds like a hoot! Now that’s “application of math in real life situations” to a T! Way to go, Teacher!

    Liked by 1 person

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