Ice Cream: STEAM Activities

Looking for something unique to do with your students as the school year winds down…or anytime, for that matter?  Ice Cream is a fun topic that most students enjoy, especially on a hot day!   Ice Cream: STEAM Activities gives you a variety of options to explore with your students that will keep them engaged and enjoying a sweet treat!


  • Introduce the topic with a competitive activity!  Students must individually assemble a digital puzzle to discover what the focus food will be. The first person to assemble the puzzle must stand and yell “DONE”. After you check to be sure they have completed the puzzle, the winner shares the food topic and wins a prize. I like to give out a coupon for a free ice cream at lunch (if available) or from our local ice cream stand.
  • Now that students know that the topic of study is ice cream, have them individually list what they believe the top ten greatest flavors of all time are.  After they’ve completed their individual list, pair them up with another students to share and compare lists.  Have them circle shared flavors and then draw a line under their original list and add any flavors their partner had that they did not.  Have them draw another line under that and then view the video.
  • Show the video titled, “The Top 10 Greatest Ice Cream Flavors of All Time” or use this list from the Food Channel (please note, the two resources do vary a little) and again, have them annotate their lists. This time, have them highlight flavors they had listed or their partner had listed and add any flavors not listed under the drawn line.
  • At this point, you could have students complete the “Thin Slides” Eduprotocol activity, sharing their favorite ice cream flavor. Give them 3 minutes to find a slide, add their name, favorite ice cream flavor and an image of it before time is up and then have them share the info as you move through the slide deck.
  • If you wanted or needed to add more writing, you could ask students to respond to an opinion prompt, sharing and defending their favorite ice cream; why it’s better than all the rest.


  • iPad or Laptop
  • Screen & Projector
  • Lab Ingredients and/or Taste Test Ingredients
  • Ice Cream Coupons (optional)


  • Have students explore the history of ice cream and create a one pager as they complete the question prompts in a creative sketchnotes manner, using the provided resources. Resource #1: Explore The Delicious History of Ice Cream from PBS, Resource #2: The History of Ice Cream, One of the World’s Oldest Desserts from Reader’s Digest and Resource #3: The History of Ice Cream from the International Dairy Foods Association.  Note: Students may use additional resources, however, they must be cited.  Prompts include:
    • How was ice cream discovered?
    • Who invented it?
    • What are the most unique types?
    • What is the most liked flavor?
  • After students know the history of ice cream, show them how it’s made via the Modern Marvels video. If you wish for students to complete a video guide sheet while viewing, you can download a free one from this site by Genevieve Wilde.
  • Depending on your time, budget, students, etc., there are a couple of different ways to share ice cream with your students in the lab.
  • The first way is to conduct a taste test of different versions of “ice cream” using the same flavor such as full fat, reduced-fat and non-fat.  Conduct a taste test for students to evaluate the appearance, texture and flavor and determine which version is their most preferred and which is the ultimate class favorite. If you teach food science, this would be a great place to talk about the role of fat in ice cream. Note: Don’t show students the labels or nutrition facts until after the taste test.
  • Another way is to actually make ice cream.  An easy, fun, engaging way to do this is to make “ice cream in a bag“. One year, I had my students make a freezer ice cream which was well received and add-ins such as chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, strawberry or cherry pieces or M & M’s  could be fun additions.
  • If you have extra time, a fun activity that my students enjoyed was learning about their personality via their favorite ice cream flavor (from their thin slide).  We also took it one step further one year and surveyed the faculty and staff and then created a school-wide bulletin board display of the results using free ice cream cutouts such as these from TPT.  Personality descriptions for ice cream flavors can be found via these resources:  “Hidden Personality Traits Revealed Through Your Favorite Ice Cream Flavor” from Reader’s Digest and “What Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream Says About Your Personality” from Wide Open Country.
  • Another fun, creative activity is for students to create their own ice cream wrapper based on the ice cream they made in class or their favorite using this template. You could have them create a slogan and image based on their flavor or advertising campaign around it or make it just for fun to use if you serve your ice cream in a cone.



Photo by Maria Orlova

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