Standardized testing is boring and draining of both student and teacher. Liven up your classroom by rewarding them with a fun, educational, and…tasty activity! Create a fun day for your students after testing as a reward for good behavior. (A little bribery can go a long way, as any good teacher knows.)
Homemade ice cream is not only exciting to make; it also engages students through a simple educational activity. Making ice cream can teach students the different components of milk, the process from producer to consumer, and different jobs available in this field. The dairy industry provides a variety of jobs for many Americans. Every student is somehow connected to the dairy industry as either a consumer or even a future producer! By opening your students’ eyes to another industry or career field that they may never have considered before, you are giving them more opportunities-which is why we chose this career in the first place.
One of the best aspects of this dairy lesson is that it can be catered to any grade level. The activity is definitely what you make of it! Even high school kids enjoy making ice cream! A great video for middle school students to assist this lesson is “Dairy Kids Club” by Heartland Farms.
In addition to making ice cream, try playing a guessing game on dairy trivia! Use the Purdue website link of dairy facts for content. Kids love to play games and the competitive aspect will take their minds off of their stressful testing days so you can have your lively classroom back! Every teacher has, at some point, experienced the “blank stare” which can represent a multitude of things-boredom, confusion, exhaustion. At times like these, you may feel like you’re talking to a brick wall. Take an opportunity like this to tie the dairy lesson into your own content. Agriculture science can teach students many different things. The dairy industry and process in particular is great for tying into subjects such as economics, the digestive system, biology, animal science, nutrition, genetics, and even mathematics! Build off of their excitement from this lesson to make progress on your own. This will also ease the transition from testing mode to learning mode so your students are back in gear and ready to go!
The most beneficial part of this lesson is the amount of resources available to all teachers. The Illinois Farm Bureau-Ag In the Classroom has developed handouts to guide this lesson. These handouts, called “Ag Mags”, are free! They are also available online through Ag-in-the-Classroom.
Each county has a local Farm Bureau which are generally more than happy to come into your classroom and help with agriculture lessons like this. By establishing this line of communication, you are opening a line of support as well as more opportunities for your student’s education. Your passion for teaching will reflect through your efforts to expand your classroom resources. And most importantly, what teacher doesn’t want to sit back for a day and watch someone else handle their rambunctious yet endearing class of students-who are more than willing to get their hands dirty with the prospect of a tasty sugar high in their future!
Recipe for the ice cream:
Try this simple recipe to make your own homemade ice cream!
1. In an empty and clean 1-pound coffee can, mix 1 pint of half & half with ½ cup sugar. Add a little vanilla or fruit if you like.
2. Place the lid on the can, secure it with duct tape, and then place it inside of an empty and clean 3-pound coffee can.
3. Pack ice around the small can. Then sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of rock salt on the ice. Finally, fill the rest of thecan with ice.
4. Place the lid on the large can. Secure the lid with duct tape so it does not fall off.
5. Sit on the floor with some friends and roll the large can to each other. You may want to put a tarp on the floor for this. After about 10 minutes of rolling your can, you will have made ice cream in the small can!
6. Remove the small can and rinse it with water before opening. If you don’t, you may end up with salt in your ice cream.
Ice cream image from: http://spoonful.com/recipes/homemade-ice-cream-bag