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I Can’t Believe It’s Butter! (2 Favorites)

LAB in Phase Changes, Physical Change. Last updated May 23, 2017.


Summary

In this lab students will learn about the phases of matter and phase changes while making a small sample of butter.

Grade Level

Middle School

Objectives

By the end of this lab, students should be able to

  • Identify and differentiate between the 3 phases of matter: liquid, solid, gas)
  • Identify phase changes by name and description.

Chemistry Topics

This lab supports students’ understanding of

  • States of Matter
  • Phase changes
  • Physical Change

Time

Teacher Preparation: 5 minutes

Lesson: 15-20 minutes

Materials (per person)

  • 1 Film canister with lid
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) COLD heavy whipping cream (without added sugars)
  • 1 tbsp. measuring spoon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Paper towel

Safety

  • Always wear safety goggles when handling chemicals in the lab.
  • Students should wash their hands thoroughly before leaving the lab.
  • When students complete the lab, instruct them how to clean up their materials and dispose of any chemicals.
  • Do not consume lab solutions, even if they’re otherwise edible products.
  • Food in the lab should be considered a chemical not for consumption.

Teacher Notes

Procedure:
  1. Open canister and add 1 tbsp. of the heavy whipping cream.
  2. Place lid on tightly and shake for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid every 30 seconds to observe the change.
  4. Add a pinch of salt to the butter.
  5. Allow students to taste butter (per teacher discretion)
    Stages of butter formation are as follows:
    • Frothy to partially thick cream
    • Whipped cream (thickened cream)
    • Butter (it may look like cottage cheese a bit but it’s butter and it spreads smoothly)
  • It’s important to tell the students to refrigerate their butter immediately as it will turn back into liquid whipping cream if it does not stay cool.
  • Students should be able to determine that the heavy whipping cream is the liquid phase of butter while the butter itself is the solid phase.
  • Students should also be able to determine that environmental factors such as temperature have an effect on the states of matter.
  • Students should be able to determine that cool or cold temperatures make solid substances and heat produces liquid or gaseous substances.

For the Student

Background

In this experiment, you will learn how to make butter and identify the liquid and solid stages of matter.

Pre-lab Questions

  1. List an example of matter that can exist as a solid, liquid, and a gas.
  2. What environmental factor do you think is responsible for changing a state of matter?

Objective

You will identify the liquid and solid phase of butter.

Materials

  • 1 Film canister with lid
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) COLD heavy whipping cream (without added sugars)
  • 1 tbsp. measuring spoon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Paper towel

Safety

  • Always wear safety goggles when handling chemicals in the lab.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before leaving the lab.
  • When you’ve completed the lab, clean up and discard materials per your teacher’s instructions.
  • Do not consume lab solutions, even if they’re otherwise edible products.
  • Food in the lab should be considered a chemical not for consumption.

Procedure

  • Open canister and add 1 tbsp. of the heavy whipping cream.
  • Place lid on tightly and shake for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the lid every 30 seconds to observe the change. Record observations in data table below.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the butter.
  • Allow students to taste butter (per teacher discretion)

Data

Time

Observations

0 seconds (before any shaking)

30 seconds

1 minute

1 minute and 30 seconds

2 minutes

Analysis

  1. As you shook the liquid whipping cream what did you notice happen?
  2. Do you think it was helpful that the cream was cold at the beginning?
  3. Would you obtain the same results if the cream was warm or hot? Why or why not? Explain.
  4. Why is it important to keep butter stored in the refrigerator? What would happen if you left it out?
  5. Prior to this lesson you have learned about chemical vs physical changes, what type of change are you demonstrating in this experiment. Explain.
  6. If you could see the particles that make up the liquid phase of butter and the solid phase of butter, sketch how they would be arranged in the space below:

Liquid Phase



Solid Phase