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From Cow to Cone – Ice Cream Factory teaches students the science


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  • Becky Kelbaugh/Paradise Valley Unified School District

Paradise Valley Schools Ice Cream Factory HP

As the popular song goes, “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream,” but do you really know the science behind creating ice cream?

For four weeks this fall, 1st grade students in Paradise Valley Schools will explore and learn the process of how the delicious treat is made from cow to cone by participating in Ice Cream Factory.

From Cow to Cone - Ice Cream Factory teaches students the science IceCreamFactoryInsideIce Cream Factory is an innovative live experiential learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program that was developed by PVSchools’ Community Education department.

Each week, 1st graders will participate in a live broadcast for 20 minutes where they will meet Ice Cream Factory host Clayton Kingsley, a junior at Pinnacle High School, as well as weekly agriscience experts who will answer their questions in real-time. The remaining 40 minutes is spent completing hands-on STEM activities that bring science to life in the classroom.

Upcoming dates for Ice Cream Factory and guest experts:
Week 1: October 29th – Casey Stechnij, owner of Superstition Farms
Week 2: November 5th – Julie Murphree, education director at Arizona Farm Bureau
Week 3: November 12th – Helen Yung, ice cream chef and co-owner of Sweet Republic Artisan Ice Cream
Week 4: November 19th – Daryl Parks, outreach specialist at SubZero Ice Cream & Yogurt

This is the second year that PVSchools has incorporated Ice Cream Factory into the 1st grade curriculum.

“This year, we created an English Language Arts component for the program, which includes two on-level readers that may be used by the teachers for guided reading groups, independent reading, whole group instruction or sent home to be shared with the family,” said Michael Linn, director of Community Education.

Another new component for this year is a visit from Southwest Dairy Farmers from Sulphur Springs, Texas. In January 2016, Southwest Dairy Farmers will visit all 1st grade students at every elementary campus in the district with a Mobile Dairy Classroom. This classroom is a pulled trailer that opens up to display two large screen monitors and a real cow. A trained instructor will lead a 30-45 minute presentation that includes a live demonstration of a cow being milked.

At the completion of the program, an optional field trip is planned so that students and their families can visit Superstition Farm for a tour.

“We have received positive and supportive feedback from our parents, teachers and administrators after we introduced the program to the 1st graders last year. Overall, the students love the live sessions with industry experts and question and answer time. The hands-on activities were meaningful and engaging, and those surveyed could see a direct connection to our science curriculum. Our teachers stated that the program is easy to implement because it is very organized and all the needed supplies are contained in the science kit,” said Mr. Linn.

For the 2016-17 school year, the Community Education department anticipates partnering with four school districts to expand the Ice Cream Factory program across the Valley.

If you would like to learn more about Ice Cream Factory or learn how to bring it to your school district, please contact the Ice Cream team at icecreamfactory@pvlearners.net.