We all Scream for Ice Cream

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In this activity, learners observe how salinity affects the freezing point of water by making and enjoying ice cream. Pairs of learners will combine ingredients in a plastic bag and then add varying amounts of rock salt to each bag. Learners will estimate how long it will take for their mixture to freeze and then measure the actual freezing times. At the end of the activity, learners can eat their ice cream! This resource explains how salt content lowers freezing points and includes tips about cold weather safety.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Sandwich-size zip-seal plastic baggies
  • Freezer-size zip-seal plastic baggies
  • Milk, cream, or half-and-half
  • Vanilla extract or chocolate syrup
  • Sugar
  • Plastic spoons
  • Several bags of ice
  • Rock salt
  • Measuring spoons/cups
  • Stopwatch or clock


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
      • Atmosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Human Body
      • Health and Nutrition
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, National Weather Service,