Chemistry classes make ice cream to beat the heat


Nadya Carreira

Chemistry students focus on the directions needed to make their ice cream.

Nadya Carreira, Staff Writer

As a treat after their finals took place, chemistry classes at Amador used thermodynamic principles to make a delicious summer snack: ice cream. As one of the only edible experiments performed in class, this lab is a favorite among students. 

“Personally I don’t like this lab because it’s messy, and as a teacher I have to clean it up and everything is sticky afterwards. The students really enjoy it, and we try to do labs that the students like, just not every year,” said chemistry teacher Brandy Barnett

The lab works like this: the ingredients for ice cream are sealed in a bag and put into a larger bag filled with ice and salt. Because the ice needs energy to melt, it absorbs energy from the smaller bag’s ingredients making it all into cold ice cream. Salt is added to the ice because it lowers the ice’s freezing point, making it absorb even more energy and cooling the ice cream further. 

“It was hard to make the ice cream cold because you had to shake it for thirty minutes [to increase the reaction rate]. I thought it was really really fun even though it made my hands really cold, but it was a hot day so it turned out okay,” said Michelle Lee (‘24). 

Although the main focus of the lab was not necessarily the science behind it, students loved performing the experiment as well as eating the results, especially since the temperature outside on the day they did it the experiment was 95°F. 

“It took a long time for my ice cream to turn into ice cream, but it was really fun. The ice cream turned out way better than I was expecting it to be. I think it was a great team bonding event more than a learning experience,” said Montana Parkinson-Lubold (‘24). 

Regular and AP chemistry classes participated in this tradition that took place on May 25 and May 26. Students reported feeling happy as they came away from the class knowing how to make ice cream in a bag. 

“We all had fun and enjoyed our ice cream outside after. Everyone just made vanilla. Eating ice cream definitely helps with my understanding of endothermic reactions,” said Ajay Reyes (‘24).