We love STEM experiments and fall science projects, but when they are easy, that makes things even better. There is nothing more satisfying than doing a simple science experiment that cannot go wrong. For this classic STEM experiment, we explored what happens to cream when it is shaken. The process of making butter is the perfect classic STEM experiment to start with for preschoolers because most of them move a lot and love eating butter.
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We’re big butter lovers at our house, which made this experiment particularly relevant. The kids had no idea how butter was made, and they were super excited when I told them we would be making our very own butter. All it takes is cream to recreate this project at your house!
Classic STEM Experiments: Exploring Butter Chemistry
What you’ll need to make the classic butter chemistry STEM experiment:
- Heavy whipping cream
- A mason jar
- Two small containers
While you’re doing this butter chemistry experiment, ask your kids what they think will happen as they mix up the cream. Try this experiment with cold cream and warm cream and see which cream turns into butter fastest!
First, we poured the cream into our jar and tightened the lid as tight as possible.
Then, it was time to shake!
It took us about five minutes of solid shaking before we saw butter. Our favorite part was right between the cream and butter stage when the butter started to separate and turned the cream grainy. We’ve had this happen before in the kitchen when making regular whipped cream, but in this STEM experiment it wasn’t a mistake!
As soon as the butter ball formed, we placed the ball of butter into one container and poured the buttermilk into another container. The kids did not like the taste of the buttermilk at all.
The kids actually had quite a bit of fun playing with the ball of butter after the experiment was over. They rolled it and played with it like play dough. Of course, there was also some tasting going on! They said the butter tasted salty.
The Science of Butter Making
Kids will be fascinated to see how the cream magically turns into butter. But you can explain that it isn’t magic- it’s science!
When cream is shaken, the fat molecules start separating from the liquid and clumping together. Eventually, the fat molecules cling together in one clump forming butter.
What remains is buttermilk!
Try this simple experiment with your toddlers and preschoolers (and even older kids), they will love it!
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