I've missed a few science experiments due to our family vacation and some other activities, but I am trying to get back on track. Experiment #19 was especially entertaining because I pitted my four children against four of my nieces (who we were babysitting for an afternoon) in an epic "Battle of the Butter." It was the giggliest battle I've ever witnessed!
I issued each family a pint-sized container of heavy whipping cream and told them to see which team could shake it into butter first. They shook and passed and shook and passed from older to younger and back to older again. Soon they were convinced they had butter. I told them to shake again. They did, but the littlest team members soon dropped out and lost interest although the competition stayed high between the older cousins.
After about 10 minutes of shaking they were POSITIVE they had better inside those boxes. So I opened them up and found.....drum roll please.........foamy heavy whipping cream. They were rather disappointed. So we dumped the liquid into my mixed and started it going. After it mixed for a while they got to taste real (but unsweetened) whipped cream.
Further mixing finally produced real butter, which they also tasted.
I think they got a good lesson in how much work it takes to produce the foods we eat and how thankful they should be that they don't have to churn their butter every day!
Oh, and the science? (Watch out for highly technical jargon here.....) Heavy whipping cream is a liquid with tiny blobs of fat floating around in it. When you mix it, the tiny blobs of fat bump into each other and stick in a clump. The more you shack, the bigger the clumps get until eventually you have butter.
Happy science, everyone.