We all scream for ice cream!

The day had finally arrived! Friday was the day we would get to make ice cream from scratch!

All the students gathered in a circle and glanced over the ingredients in front of them. At first, the students weren’t quite sure what we would be making. Someone guessed meatballs, but after looking over the ingredients again, we decided it would be pretty difficult to make meatballs with half & half, sugar, and vanilla. Another student guessed that we were making a cake, which was obviously a little closer, but not quite what we were looking for. Then, one child remembered that we had been discussing ice cream and it clicked! The classroom erupted with excitement!

Their very next concern was if they would be permitted to eat the ice cream that same day. When they learned the answer was yes, another wave of excitement hit the students. First we needed to figure out how much of each ingredient to put in the bowl. One student suggested we look in our cookbook and find the recipe. Before we knew it, we had our ice cream mixture ready to go. The only problem was that it didn’t look very much like ice cream at all. In fact, it just looked like milk with a little brown swirl. In order to make the ice cream, we had to put ice and salt in the other side of our ice cream maker. Then we closed up both sides tightly and began to roll!

After about 15 minutes of heavy duty rolling, the students grew tired and elected to eat the ice cream (or milkshake) a bit early. Despite it’s liquid state, it still managed to get two thumbs up from the students and teachers!


Tasty Mathematics

A large collection of paper ice cream cones arrived in the math center this week. During small group time, the children have been finding ways to group them together. We’ve been recording their attribute choices to find out what the children value in their ice cream. The sorting rules they have used so far are:

  • Colors (pink, brown, white, yellow, blue, and green)
  • Cone Shape (triangle and rectangle)
  • # of Scoops (1, 2, 3,  and “a lot!”)
  • Size (big and small)

This morning, the ice cream cones were requested during choice time. After dumping them out, sorting them all, and mixing them back up, the children decided that we should use these for our dessert shop. We discussed what happens when a customer approaches the window at an ice cream shop and the role of the worker.

Child: Welcome to our shop. What ice cream do you want?
Me:  I’d like one scoop of vanilla, please.
Child: (searches through the pile to find the right one)

Searching for the right order.

Child: Here you go.
Me: I need to give you money, right?
Child: Yes.  One money.

Paying “one money” for a single scoop.

We decided to use the magnet square blocks as our cash since they were handy and easy to count. At first, all of the ice cream cones were “one money”. When I began ordering cones with eight scoops, the children caught on quickly to the need for higher costs. After negotiation, we finally decided that cones would be $1.00 per scoop. At first, they attempted to charge me $1300 for a cone with one scoop, chocolate dip, and peanuts, but we found out that the pricing on that item was a little too steep. Eventually, the sharp sales-children bargained for one dollar for each add-on plus the original one dollar per scoop.

Counting scoops.

Later, the counting bears were added to the mix as “Gummi Bears”.  They, too, were one dollar per bear.  We practiced more one to one correspondence by placing each bear on a “money magnet” to make sure we had the right amount of payment for a handful of bears.

Isn’t it exciting when the children grab an idea and run with it?

Chop Chop

Our ice cream shop is open.  Here we have a few children chopping up some dough-cream.  Looks like they’ve had some experience with Coldstone, yes?

Playdough can offer many experiences for strengthening our dexterity and fine motor control.  Pulling, rolling, squishing, and pinching all exercise our hand muscles.  This week, the children have been fascinated by the addition of plastic knives.  Using a knife combines both fine motor and large motor control.  It also frequently requires you to use the opposite arm for either leverage or to provide a steady workspace.  This involves activating connections in each side of the brain.