Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sour Milk Ice Cream?

Having taught 4th grade the past three years, sometimes I look at my new curriculum and say, "I really have to teach THAT?" Not because it's something I don't want to or is bad to teach, but because it's something you'd never think someone couldn't know. Haha. How do you not know how to read the words 'a' and 'I'? They're letter words. Also, how do you not know what money is? Teaching Kindergarten has given me a whole new appreciation for parents and other Kindergarten teachers. You wouldn't even believe the list of things that actually need to be taught.

Another example is solids, liquids, and gases. I understand that those are semi-big words, but explaining the definitions and concepts behind each was a lot harder than I was expecting. I thought I'd introduce it and the kids would just throw the vocab on substances they already knew very easily. I was wrong. It took about 3 days before they finally seemed to grasp the fact that liquids were liquidy and solids held their shape. (Even this is not a good definition because they keep finding exceptions like toothpaste and play-doh!) To try and provide real-life examples of the states of matter, I found an 'experiment' online for making ice cream in a bag. It looked awesome, had all the components of what needed to be taught and I could find all the ingredients in Malaysia.

Wednesday arrived. I got my kids pumped for our 'experiment' and even more excited for ice cream. And then, Malaysia happened.
Problem #1: I forgot vanilla. (Ok, so that was my fault, not Malaysia's, but still...)
Problem #2: Boxed milk. It doesn't taste like milk... probably because it's some processed nastiness that can sit in a box on a shelf for months on end. But, that's what we had to work with. Also, I bought low-fat, which a teacher later told me was dumb because we were making ICE CREAM.
Problem #3: Zip-loc bags. You can buy them here, but the selection is very limited and they're way over-priced. Ideally, for the experiment, you have a quart-sized heavy duty freezer bag and a sandwich sized regular bag. We just had two regular sandwich bags per kid. The ice kept puncturing them and water started flying all over the place.
Problem #4: I live on the equator. It's supposed to take 5 minutes to shake the milk into ice cream. My kids hands got frost-bite and we still ended up with a 'milk shake' texture at best. So much for the term 'solid'.

My first student to finish was too afraid to try it (Really? You had just watched me pour milk and sugar into a bag? What could POSSIBLY be scary about it?), so he gave it to a 3rd grader who happened to be observing our craziness. The brave soul took one sip (yes, it was still very liquidy) and got a disgusted look on his face. When asked to describe it he said, "It tastes like salty sour milk." Excellent.

One of my kids said he was never going to eat ice cream again. Doubtful. Another kid said, "Why would you make us do this awful experiment?"
To which I replied, "I made it in America and it tasted really yummy!"
She said, "Well, then can't we make the American version?" Sorry, dear. I wish we could. I wish we could.

We went upstairs to take a quiz after the excitement of the afternoon and they almost all aced it, so it must have been at least a somewhat productive experiment!

Their facial expressions are priceless. :)


  1. The facial expressions are killing me!! So funny. I wonder if vanilla would've made all the difference...

    1. Haha. Doubtful. It was pretty awful. And I'm not about to try again anytime soon. :) Maybe next year, although more than half my students will be the same one! Haha