Education Through Entertainment

Summer Science Project: Ice Cream in a Bag

Posted on Tue, Jul 5, 2022

Summer Science Project: Ice Cream in a Bag

(Image from Wayland Library)


If your kids are enjoying the summer heat, they may need a treat to help them cool down. Turn your afternoon treat into a “cool” chemistry project by creating ice cream in a bag!


This classic experiment is one of Mobile Ed’s favorites (as well as our students’) and awes students across different grade levels. Not only is there a delicious treat involved, but there are several scientific concepts that students can learn from this experiment. This project creates an emulsion and results in chemical changes. 


Emulsions are the combination of two liquids that do not typically mix well, and in this example, we are mixing fats (milk) and water. When we combine the milk mixture with the low temperature, the mixture begins to change from a liquid to a solid. Adding salt to the bag of ice creates a freezing point depression, which makes the temperature at which the water freezes lower than normal water. As the salt encourages the ice to melt faster, the ice mixture will absorb heat from the milk mixture, lowering its temperature and creating solids. 


Shake up your summer with some hands-on learning by completing this timeless science experiment with your students!


What You’ll Need: 

  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cups
  • Small towel
  • Timer
  • 2 sandwich-size sealable bags
  • 2 gallon-size sealable bags 
  • Sugar
  • Half-and-half (or whipping cream)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • 8 cups of ice cubes


What You’ll Do: 

  1. In both of your sandwich-size sealable bags, add one Tablespoon of sugar, ½ cup of half-and-half, and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Seal them both tightly. 
  2. In one of the gallon-size bags, add 4 cups of ice cubes. Then add ½ cup of salt to your bag. 
  3. Take one of the sandwich-size bags filled with the milk mixture and place it inside the gallon bag with the ice. Confirm that the smaller bag is sealed tightly, and then seal the gallon-size bag with the small bag inside. 
  4. Wrap your small towel around the gallon-size bag and shake, shake, shake! Continue shaking the bags for about 5 minutes. Observe what happens to the small bag as you continue shaking. 
  5. Set aside your shaken mixture. Fill your second gallon-size bag with 4 cups of ice. Do NOT add any salt to the bag this time. 
  6. Place the second bag of milk mixture into the second gallon-size bag. 
  7. After confirming that both bags are sealed tightly, cover the second gallon with a small towel and shake for 5 minutes.
  8. Open up each small bag and have your kids notice the changes in texture, temperature, and taste of each bag. 
  9. Grab some toppings and enjoy a bit of your chemistry experiment!


ADVANCED VERSION: Repeat the above experiment with different types of salt to see which forms the best ice cream consistency. 


NOTE: Please consider allergies before serving to students or children. 



Did your student enjoy this chemistry project? Our Magic of Science educational program introduces students to even more chemistry projects to show students how “magical” science really is! Help your students be amazed by science by bringing more captivating hands-on experiments right to their classroom. 


In the Magic of Science program, students will learn: 

  • Chemistry experiments students can recreate at home
  • Tricks to solving math problems
  • Magnetism
  • Physics
  • Optical illusions
  • How all of the sciences can be made to look like magic!


Visit the Mobile Ed website for more resources that help educators get students excited about learning!


Blog post inspired by Science Buddies


Topics: science fair projects, DIY, Summer