Education Technology

The physics of getting from cow to cone

Turn your physics lessons on states of matter and phase change into an ice cream social with this activity from STEM Behind Cool Careers.

Ice Cream, Cool Science takes students through the process of making ice cream stage-by-stage, and then challenges them to explore, discover and connect principles such as:

  • States of matter and phase change
  • The effect of temperature and pressure at the molecular level

John Urschel, the former professional football player who is a published mathematician, visited Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream parlor.

Get your students ready for the activity by sharing this fun video of John churning up some tasty physics in your classroom.

Watch video

Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream churns out 200 gallons of premium ice cream a day, five gallons at a time, from its Emery Thompson batch freezer machine.

And each batch of Beth Marie’s 100 flavors starts with area supervisor Margaret Rich’s secret-recipe 14 percent butterfat ice cream mix, plus some add ins, plus a healthy dose of middle grades physics.

Margaret took STEM Behind Cool Careers host John Urschel on a tour to give him a look at the math and science that are covered in Ice Cream, Cool Science.

For instance, a specific amount of mix goes into the machine where it is doubled in volume to ultimately produce unflavored ice cream.

“The proof of the science is in the eating,” John said as he enjoyed a STEM lesson in a bowl with co-owners Bob Moses and Ken Willis.

Texas Instruments software for Mac® and PC

TI Connect™ CE software application for the TI-84 Plus family

Free software for downloading and installing the activity file.


TI-Nspire™ CX and TI-Nspire™ CX CAS Teacher Software

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