This morning, we practiced using the scientific method in a really fun and delicious way.
We first did some research about molecules. We learned through our reading and DVD viewing that molecules make up everything, and that temperature can affect how molecules move. Warmer temperatures make the molecules move faster, while cold temperatures make molecules move slower. With that in mind, students made a prediction: Using two different temperatures of cream (icy cold versus room temperature), which cream would turn into butter the quickest?
Then came the fun part. Half the students received jars with room temperature cream, while the other half got cream directly from the refrigerator. At 9:37a.m., we started shaking! You can watch a few seconds of the action by clicking the link above.
Femi was the first to hear the clunk, clunk sound that can mean only one thing - fresh butter! He got results at 9:50. Spenser, Marann, and Andrew were right behind, with end times of 9:52, 9:53, and 9:54. All of these students started with room temperature cream. Some children with cold cream had to shake for 30 minutes, but ALL eventually got a clump of yellow butter, and the liquid residue - buttermilk!
Students then had to make a conclusion. Based on the results of all of their experiments, did temperature affect butter making? I will be talking to individual students to find out if they can think of other variables that may have affected the results. For instance, although we all used the same size jars, and the same amount of cream, what else (besides temperature) could have had an effect? Did everyone shake at the same speed and with the same energy?
We ALL concluded one thing: Homemade butter is delicious. I heard more than one child say that it was the best butter they've ever had.
At home, your child will most likely want to make more butter. I wonder if they can design other experiments by changing another variable. For instance, what would work better, whole cream or half-and-half? What would work faster, 1/4 cup of cream or 1/2 cup of cream? What happens if you add a couple marbles to the jar (warning: use plastic jars!).