Week Thirteen: Milk Science


September 24, 2015 by libraryheather

Program Title: Milk Science

Target Age Range: Grades 1-3

Program Length: 60 minutes

Brief Description:
Learn about the nutritional properties of milk and engage in a variety of fun demos and experiments.

2 gallons 2% milk (may need more or less depending on how many participants you expect)

2 bags of ice (again, the amount/weight depends on how many participants you expect)

1 container iodized table salt

1 bottle of vanilla flavoring

Quart-sized Ziploc bags (1 per participant)

Gallon-sized Ziploc bags (1 per participant, though it doesn’t hurt to have some extras in case of leakage)

Food coloring (enough bottles so that each table has between 2-4 colors)


1 container dish soap

Dixie cups

Plastic plates that have a little depth to them with raised edges

Plastic sheeting for the floor underneath the tables (e.g. painter’s sheets, tarps, etc)

3 straight-sided clear glasses (preferably tall, but any will do)


2 20oz bottles Coca Cola

3 1/2-cup measuring cups

1 1/4-cup measuring cup

1 1/2-teaspoon

1 Tablespoon

Interesting die-cut shapes on watercolor paper

Aluminum foil sheets for drying the dyed paper

“Cow” – Jules Older

Computer with projector and screen

Optional: If you have kids with allergies, you can do the Ice Cream in a Bag experiment with soy, almond, or rice milk.

Cost: $ 0-50

Advanced Preparation:
-Try the Sunset in a Jar experiment at home with different amounts of milk first, just to make sure you understand how it works!

-Contact the parents a few days in advance to ask about milk allergies. If there are allergies, can their children substitute soy, almond, or rice milk?

-At least several hours in advance of the program, do the Invisible Soda experiment on one of the two bottles of Coca Cola. Hide it so the kids can’t see it before you reveal it!

-Make at least 2 sheets of tin foil for each table.

-Make die-cut shapes out of water color paper for the Marbled Milk Paper experiment.

-Put a little dish soap in Dixie cups and distribute one cup to every table.

-Lay plastic sheeting out underneath the tables.

-Ensure that you can sufficiently darken the room for the Sunset in a Jar experiment to work well.

Program Outline:
1. Settling In & Introductions: 5 minutes

2. Discussion of milk nutrients, reading pages 2-3, 5, 18 – 22 “Cow” – Jules Older: 10 minutes

3. Sunset in a Jar and Invisible Soda Demos: 15 minutes

4. Magic Milk and Marbled Milk Paper: 15 minutes

5. Ice Cream in a Bag: 15 minutes

Handouts: None

Special Instructions and Procedures:
We explained milk nutrients and the importance of milk as a dietary staple with the explanation pretty much verbatim from the excellent description in the World Book Encyclopedia! This included discussing how milk has water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, and vitamins, what those things are, and why they’re important. We also used this time to talk about lactose intolerance.

Sunset in a Jar:
To adequately explain what they’re seeing in the Sunset in a Jar experiment, you will first need to explain why the sky appears to be blue.  The reason is fairly complicated to explain to 1st-3rd graders–fortunately, NASA has this totally amazing explanation, complete with informative graphics.

Magic Milk/Marbled Milk Paper Experiment:
Don’t allow refills for the Magic Milk/Marbled Milk Paper experiment–you won’t have the time, and the kids could do just this experiment all day! However, if you have plenty of time and do refills, we strongly suggest taking a plastic container (like a dish tub) around to each table, so that you can dump the plates of dyed milk into it without carrying them across the room.

Invisible Soda:
Insofar as the Invisible Soda demo, do one in advance and one in front of them. Once you have done one in front of them, bring out the one that was prepared hours in advance to show them how much it has separated. Ask them what they notice happening in the two bottles and then explain what has happened.

Ice Cream in a Bag:
We more or less halved the recipe for the ice cream itself, so that each kid got: 1/2 cup 2% milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. It’s easiest to set up the ingredients assembly line-style and dole them out yourself. Have someone else there on the other side of the room to dish out ice and salt for the larger bags. Assembling the ingredients alone takes some time, so the more help you have here, the better. Ask the kids to stand on the plastic sheeting as they shake the bags full of ice–they will condensate and drip on the floor–but in case something springs a leak, it’s better to be on the plastic. We had kids who were really being too rough with the bags, and while double-bagging their ice bag that had sprung a leak, we had to remind them to be more gentle.

Resources Used:
Cool Science: Tie-Dyed Milk

Instructables.com: How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

Kids Play Box: Sunset in a Jar Science

Steve Spangler Science: Invisible Soda

About.com: Magic Colored Milk Science

Babble Dabble Do: Marbled Milk Paper

NASA.gov: Why is the Sky Blue?

What we would do differently:

Honestly, to keep it at an hour, one or two of these things could be removed. Because the kids got so wrapped up in the Magic Milk experiment (and really, who could blame them??), we ran at least 15 minutes over. We ended up rushing to get the Ice Cream in a Bag project assembled for 24 kids with parents waiting, and we didn’t get to adequately explain what to do or the science behind what makes milk into ice cream. Because Magic Milk and Ice Cream in a Bag are such obvious wins, we would take out the Sunset in a Jar explanation and demo, even though the kids were interested in the science and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the demo.

We would also cover the tops of tables with plastic sheeting (or something protective!) in the future. Magic Milk went from being fairly orderly for several minutes straight to food coloring and dyed milk being EVERYWHERE in about 30 seconds flat. Fortunately, bleach-water removed the food dye from our plastic tabletops. Still, this could be avoided with some tabletop protection.

Adaptation for older/younger audience:
Magic Milk / Marbled Milk Paper works great for all ages, and is a wonderful crossover of science and art. Similarly, you could do Ice Cream in a Bag with older kids and it would be very popular–perhaps in the context of a larger “Kitchen Science” program with more difficult concepts overall.

One thought on “Week Thirteen: Milk Science

  1. mara the COOL one LOL says:

    HELLO!!!!! just found out im adoptdie so theres that LOL and i thought you guys should be the first to know! love you fam!

    XOXO mara!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: