We All Scream for Ice Cream
Duration of Activity:
Description of Activity:
Students will learn the difference between exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions by labeling given reactions as either exothermic or endothermic. Students will make ice cream and use the scientific method to determine if the reaction is exothermic or endothermic.
- Students will label chemical reactions as either endothermic or exothermic.
- Students will use the scientific method to hypothesize an outcome, collect, record, and interpret data, and analyze experimental results.
- Students will determine if making ice cream is an exothermic or endothermic reaction.
- Students will make a chart of the temperatures recorded during the experiment using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software.
- Ice Cream ingredients including milk, sugar, and vanilla flavoring.
- Plastic zipper bags, quart and gallon size (Freezer bags work best.)
- Thermometers, one per group
- Gloves or hand towels for each student
- Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software
- Handout 1: Exothermic or Endothermic?
- Handout 2: Ice Cream Recipe and Directions
- Handout 3: Heating Things Up With Ice Cream
Prerequisites (skills or background needed):
- The teacher should teach a lesson defining the basic types of chemical reactions prior to conducting this experiment.
- Basic knowledge of the Scientific Method
- Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software
The teacher will
- prepare for the lesson by using Handout 2: Ice Cream Recipe and Directions to measure milk, sugar, and vanilla and place in zippered plastic bags before class.
- lead a discussion concerning the differences in exothermic and endothermic reactions.
- distribute Handout 1: Exothermic or Endothermic? on which students will list whether a given reaction is endothermic or exothermic.
- distribute Handout 3: Heating Things Up which the students will use for recording their
- supervise and facilitate students during the ice cream experiment.
The student will
- participate in a discussion concerning the differences in exothermic and endothermic reactions.
- discern whether a given reaction is exothermic or endothermic and label each given reaction using Handout 1: Exothermic or Endothermic?
- complete the assigned experiment as detailed on Handout 3: Heating Things Up. Students will place the zippered plastic bag containing the ice cream ingredients into another zippered plastic bag that contains a measured amount of ice and salt. Students will use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the ice/salt mixture and record that temperature on Handout 3: Heating Things Up. Students will then shake the bags for 2 minutes and will again measure the temperature of the ice/salt mixture. Students will continue to shake and measure the temperature in two-minute intervals until the ice cream begins to solidify (approximately 6 to 8 minutes). A final temperature measure will be taken and recorded.
- be allowed to eat the results of the experiment.
- record the temperatures found during the experiment in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
- make a graph showing the temperature data recorded during the experiment using the chart wizard option.
- Students will use the graphs to show whether the reaction of the salt/ice mixture was an exothermic or endothermic reaction.
- Those teachers who do not have computers in their classrooms should reserve the media center or a laptop cart.
- Substitute ice cream ingredients if necessary for students who are allergic to milk.
- Students could study the thermodynamics of refrigeration.
- Students could enter their temperature data into an Excel spreadsheet and write a formula converting Fahrenheit to Celsius.
- Students could study cryonics (freezing bodies in order to resuscitate them at a later date when a cure is available for their diseases).
- Language Arts
- Home Economics
- Teacher Observation
- Completed Graph
- Investigate chemical and physical properties of matter. (P)
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):
- Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations to support learning and
research. (3, 5)
- Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a
variety of tasks and solve problems. (5,6)
19 Science Inquiry (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts of science inquiry. Demonstrate the
ability to perform science inquiry.
Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of investigations, analyze
investigations, and communicate results.
20 Physical Science (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of physical science.
Apply physical science knowledge to investigations and real-world contexts.
Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of physical science concepts
Link and Feedback to Author(s):
Joyce B. Boyd, Hunter Middle School, Drew, MS