It’s still summer, so there’s still time to scream for ice cream. While we’ve talked about ice cream a lot here, do you know how to make it? Ice cream is cream, sugar, and flavorings that have been stirred while being chilled by a layer of ice. The more you stir, the more you break up any little bits of ice, and the more air you fold into it. That gives you smooth, scoopable ice cream. In the old days, people stirred that mixture in a bowl sitting inside a bigger bowl of ice. Today there are electric ice cream maker machines. But you can just dump the mixture in a plastic bag, put that in a bigger bag of ice, and shake it. There’s even a ball-shaped version that you toss back and forth with a friend, where the cream sloshes around inside. Let’s see how long everyone will throw it before opening it up to eat!
Wee ones: If your recipe calls for 2 cups of cream and 1 cup of sugar, how many cups of ingredients is that?
Little kids: If you stir your ice cream mixture, then shake it, then smush it, then stir, shake, smush…what’s the 8th thing you do? Bonus: If you’ve made 6 cups of ice cream and want to share equally with a friend, how many cups does each of you get?
Big kids: If you need a teaspoon of vanilla for every 2 cups of ice cream, how many teaspoons do you need if you’re making a gallon (16 cups)? Bonus: If you have 24 teaspoons of vanilla and 40 cups of cream, which one will run out first as you make vanilla ice cream?
Wee ones: 3 cups.
Little kids: Shake it. Bonus: 3 cups.
Big kids: 8 teaspoons. Bonus: The cream will run out first, because 24 teaspoons of vanilla is enough for 48 cups of cream.
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.