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June 3, 2014 AT 12:00 pm

Make Ice Cream in a Bag while Learning About Chemistry #makereducation

978B6D37 6CCD 4EEC 9EE60EA67DFE236A article

With summer on its way and temperatures on the rise, this tutorial from Scientific American on how to make ice cream couldn’t be more timely.

Introduction

Have you ever made homemade ice cream? It can be a lot of fun, and you end up with a tasty frozen treat! A lot of interesting chemistry is actually needed to make ice cream. For example, think about how you start out with refrigerated (or even room-temperature) ingredients and then need to cool them down to turn them turn into ice cream. How do the ingredients change during this process? How important do you think they get cooled to a certain temperature? In this science activity you’ll make your own ice cream (in a bag!) and explore the best way to chill the ingredients to make them become a delicious reward!

Background

To make ice cream, the ingredients—typically milk (or half and half), sugar and vanilla extract—need to be cooled down. One way to do this is by using salt. If you live in a cold climate, you may have seen trucks spreading salt and sand on the streets in the wintertime to prevent roads from getting slick after snow or ice. Why is this? The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, so with salt ice will melt even when the temperature is below the normal freezing point of water.

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