Archive for Thursday, August 24, 2006

5th-grade lesson ends with treat

August 24, 2006

Cheryl Rader's fifth-grade class was in for a cool treat on only the third day of school. Students had the opportunity to make - and then, of course, sample - their own ice cream.

"Don't get bored," Rader warned her Lansing Intermediate School class as she gave instructions on making the ice cream. "We're not doing lessons. Well, we're doing a fun lesson."

The 29 students in Rader's class appeared far from bored as they prepared to assemble their miniature ice cream manufacturing containers - a coffee can with a premade ice cream mixture inserted inside a larger metal can and surrounded by ice and salt.

Rader explained to the students that they would use salt to help lower the temperature of the ice. She said the salt would allow the ice to get colder and drop in temperature from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to a more ice cream-friendly 23 degrees.

The class divided into groups of three or four to assemble their ice cream mixers and then traveled outside for the most intensive part of the process: agitating the mixture until it became the perfect consistency of ice cream.

The best way, Rader demonstrated, was to continually roll the can among the people in the group.

While the temperature outside climbed into the 90s, the students were eager to taste their cold homemade treat.

"It's a good day to have ice cream," Jasmine Hill said while she rolled the can to classmate Kaitlin Woods.

"You have to roll it fast or else it will melt," Jasmine said about what she had learned while making ice cream.

Jasmine and Kaitlin have also learned a lot about dairy cows in the lessons leading up to making the ice cream. They said they now know that cows have four stomachs, there are more than 10 million dairy cows in the U.S., and farmers can get milk from a cow 305 days a year.

While the students may not have necessarily been aware, Rader made sure her class was learning in every step of the process while still having fun the first week of school.

Rader learned the recipe from Kansas State University's Agriculture in the Classroom seminar. She has been using the activity to teach her students for 12 years.

Rader said the students learned about milk's nutrition and the scientific method and how to take notes about dairy cows. They also received an introduction to agriculture.

"They didn't just play," she said, "they learned some things too."


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