Today in 8th-grade science, students are learning about physical states of matter and how things change from solids to liquids and then to gases. What better way to learn about this than to make ice cream? Students are separated into partners and given a plastic ball which they fill with salty ice water. There is a metal tube in the middle of each ball where the ice cream is actually made. They add the ingredients for their ice cream and roll it back and forth to mix it up and make sure that all of the ice cream is getting cold and not just freezing to the sides. They are just making plain vanilla, but it's a great lab that has all kids engaged.
Not only are kids learning about states of matter, they are also learning through this lab how salt lowers the freezing point, allowing the ice water to get even colder and they learn how some materials transfer heat better than others, and that is why the cylinder in the middle is made out of metal instead of plastic or some other material.