Learning About Science Through Ice Cream 


Cami Focht

Eighth grade students learning about how ice cream is made from nitrogen.

Just recently the eighth grade students at the Bellwood-Antis Middle School had the chance to take part in a really neat presentation by the folks from Sub Zero, a local ice cream shop. The students got to see first-hand how liquid nitrogen ice cream is made as well as the science behind cryogenics to make delicious desserts. We also learned that Sub Zero makes the ice cream at -321 Fahrenheit!

Sub Zero serves ice cream and yogurt, including vegan and soy options, that are made to order and flash-frozen. Even though students only got to experience three flavors during the presentation (chocolate, cotton candy and vanilla), there are about fifty flavors and around thirty mix-ins to add to the ice cream. They also brought a sweet, interesting, and delicious “dragon’s breath,” which was very enjoyable.

We asked two students, Jessie Corrado and Kailynn Hinish, about their thoughts on the presentation with SubZero and below are their responses.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did you like the SubZero presentation?

Jessie: 6 because it was fun, but I couldn’t see everything.

Kailynn: 7 because it was fun and we got to eat ice cream.

What did you learn from this presentation?

Jessie: I learned a few things about what nitrogen can do.

Kailynn: I learned that it is safe to eat nitrogen.

What was your favorite part about the presentation?

Jessie: My favorite part about the presentation was eating the ice cream.

Kailynn: I enjoyed eating the ice cream.

Did you know anything about nitrogen ice cream previously?

Jessie: I’ve had it before, so I knew a little about it already.

Kailynn: No, I didn’t.

If given the chance, would you like to have SubZero come again in the future?

Jessie: Sure.

Kailynn: Yeah.

We also asked Mr. Martin, a science teacher at Bellwood-Antis Middle School, a few questions regarding the presentation. 

What made you bring Sub Zero in?

Mr. Martin: The company was started by a chemist, and they used liquid nitrogen to freeze their product, so it seemed like a good tie-in for our units on states of matter and heat transfer. Plus—it tastes awesome!

What did you expect students to learn from this?

Mr. Martin: Students were able to observe the effects that liquid nitrogen has on many types of objects, which is unique since it is cold. Students were also able to learn about the many applications of liquid nitrogen.

Would you bring Sub Zero in for another presentation in the future?

Mr. Martin: Of course!

All in all, the eighth graders enjoyed the presentation with SubZero. We recommend that you visit this ice cream shop soon!