Continuing our Science for Kids series, Michelle Woodworth of Mad About Science, shares 6 Fun Summer Science Experiments.
Us scientists love the summertime – lots of fun outdoor science stuff. It’s great to be able to get outside and do those experiments that we only dreamt of during the dreary winter months. So get your messy clothes on and step outside for some summer fun.
Of course, we must be realistic and remember that the weather could turn at a moment’s notice, so most of the experiments can be adapted to indoor use.
1. Make homemade ice cream and learn about the freezing point of ice.
It wouldn’t be summer without most of us consuming large quantities of this delicious dessert, but have you ever wondered how it is made? There are many, recipes out there, but I find the easiest for kids to make contain just milk products and sugar. Feel free to add flavourings and fruit if you wish.
- 1 gallon plastic jar or a coffee can.
- 1 medium zip-loc bag
- 1 large zip-loc bag
- 6 tablespoons of rock salt (available at your local co-op store)
- 200ml of full fat milk,
- 200ml of whipping/double cream,
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- Crushed ice
- 1-2 tsp. of vanilla essence
- Towel or wool gloves
- Fill the plastic jar/coffee can about half full with crushed ice.
- Add about 6 tablespoons of rock salt to the ice. Seal the plastic jar and shake the ice and salt for about five minutes. You’ll need to wear your gloves or use a towel when you’re handling the jar. If you’re curious as to this is because the rock salt and ice mixture gets down to about -100C
- Mix the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla essence until the sugar is dissolved.
- Carefully pour the mixture into the medium zip-loc bag.
- Seal tightly, allowing as little air to remain in the bag as possible. Too much air left inside may force the bag open during shaking.
- Place this bag inside the large zip-loc bag, again leaving as little air inside as possible and sealing well. By double-bagging, the risk of salt and ice leaking into the ice cream is minimized.
- Place the two bags inside the jar with the ice and seal the bag. Wrap the bag in the towel or put your gloves on. Shake, rock, roll, and mix that can! Your ice cream should be ready after about 15-20 minutes.
- Once mixed, remove the inner bags from the jar and rinse them well with water. You don’t want any salt water accidentally getting into your ice cream.
How Does It Work / What does the salt do?
- When salt comes into contact with ice, the freezing point of the ice is lowered from 00C to approx. -100C. The lowering of the freezing point depends on the amount of salt added. The more salt added, the lower the freezing temp of the ice. This provides an ideal environment for ice cream to form as the temperature needs to be well below freezing.
- Ice cream is a colloid, an emulsion where two substances, i.e. milk and cream are just suspended within each other rather than being chemically bonded together.
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