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Make butter from cream
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Chemistry: Physical Changes, Solutions, Mixtures and Separating (2, 4, 5, 6)
  • whipping cream, to fill each jar 1/3 way
  • jars to shake in, about one per 6 students
  • dixie cups for tasting buttermilk
  • plates for butter
  • salt to add to butter
  • knives to spread butter

For a lesson on states of matter, the students pointed out when they found a state during this activity, whether an ingredient or a new state from a reaction.

Add the whipping cream to each jar.
Students in a circle, shake the jar, then pass it on.
Shake until the cream is whipped (see first photo), then shake more to separate the fat and buttermilk (see second photo).
Pour out the buttermilk to taste.
Dump out the butter, add a little salt, and eat on bread or crackers.

Discuss the changes in states of matter while making butter: start with a liquid (cream), which becomes a foamy solid (whipped cream), which then separates into a solid (butter) and a liquid (buttermilk).

Every step of this activity relates to mixtures, with different type of colloid formed at each step:
Cream is an emulsion (drops of liquid fat in liquid water)
Whipped cream is a foam (air bubbles in the liquid cream)
Butter is a gel (liquid water droplets in solid fat)
See attached mixtures file for examples of other colloids, and other types of mixtures.

(Song used while shaking with younger students, to the tune of "Row, row, row your boat":
Shake, shake, shake the cream,
Shake it in a cup,
We are making butter now,
Then we'll eat it up)

Attached documents: 

Milk can be looked at under the transmission scope to see the fat droplets. Do the same for whipped cream and butter?

Grades taught: 
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Gr 6
Alane Lublow
Barbara Duncan
Christy Wong
Gretchen Bartlett
Heather Wallace
Kecia Boecking
Lisa Shideler
Lynn Gonzalez
Patricia Ellis
Sharon Ghuman
Taj Badesha
Teaching site: 
Dorothy Lynas Elementary
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
ingridscience afterschool
JEMZ+ After school science
Maple Grove Elementary
McBride Elementary
Laurier Elementary
After School Program at Elementary schools in New York City
Tyee Elementary
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Science Development Programs Inc, New York