November - oh my, how did THAT happen? My days (and weeks!) fly by!
Have you ever made butter with your class? It's a fun and active Thanksgiving project that will amaze your little ones!
You'll need a small container of heavy cream, a bit of salt, and a jar (clear glass or plastic). You could have each child use a baby food jar instead for individual "butter churns", but in my experience, some kids will poop out after two minutes, and you will get very sore and tired arms if you have to take over the job for more than a few of your students. Besides, using one large jar makes it more of a "community project". And that's part of the fun!
Pour the cream and a bit of salt into your container. If you fill it only halfway, you'll find that it's easier for the cream to get the movement it needs to solidify.
For safety's sake (and because there's always someone who needs to test the lid to see if it's on tight enough!), I put the whole jar into a ziploc bag. When the children shake the bottle, be sure they're holding the bottle and the bag, not just the bag.
Very cold cream takes longer to turn to butter. You can save yourself a few minutes of shaking by letting it sit out for a while before you begin.
It will take about 12-15 minutes of vigorous shaking to turn the cream to butter. When the jar is completely white and you can't feel the liquid sloshing anymore - keep shaking! You've made whipped cream, but the job isn't done. After a few more minutes of shaking, you'll start to see the white separating from the sides of the jar as a ball of butter begins to form.
Warning: although 15 minutes can pass like a blink in the classroom, it definitely won't when you're shaking up the butter jar.
You might want to be prepared with some fun ways to keep your students involved in the process. A favorite is to sing and dance to "The Butter Boogie". I'm sorry that I don't know the author, but I used this song with my classes for years. If you wrote this, please let me know so I can credit your clever work! Click here to get a copy that will also be a nice addition to your students' poetry notebooks.
* Sing the alphabet song. Sing it fast, sing it slow, sing it in a funny voice, ...
* Count! Count by fives to 100, count from 1 to 25, count forwards, count backwards, ...
* Sit in a circle on the floor and pass the jar around as you shake it. Stand as you pass it, march in place as you pass it, kneel as you pass it, ...
And keep on singing that Butter Boogie!
Have some bread or corn muffins on hand to enjoy with your homemade butter!