Math in the Kitchen: Ice Cream Math

Jul 7, 2023 | Centreville

Stay Cool this Summer with Mathnasium 😎

Hi Parents! Get ready to whip up some tasty treats, and to help your children uncover the secret world of math that exists right in your own kitchen! July is National Ice Cream Month - which makes it the perfect time to grab the aprons, roll up your sleeves, and invite your kids into the kitchen for an ice cream math adventure!

Almost everywhere you turn in the kitchen, there’s an opportunity to engage your child in math - but we know it can be hard to identify these opportunities, explain them in a way that makes sense, and keep an eye on the stove all at the same time. That’s why we’ve put together a no-bake ice cream cake recipe that your family is sure to love; and we’ve included a few tips on how you can engage with your kids and make this an educational experience for all involved!

A+ Ice Cream Cake

12 Rectangular Ice Cream Sandwiches (any flavor!)
1 Tub (8 oz) Whipped Topping, thawed
½ Cup Hot Fudge Topping or Chocolate Syrup, warmed
1 Package (3.9 oz) Instant Pudding Mix - Chocolate
16-20 Oreos or Other Sandwich Cookies
Strawberry Pocky (founding in the internat’l section of many stores) or other tasty decoration!

Aluminum Foil
Measuring Cups
Gallon Zip Top Plastic Bag


1️⃣ Measure ½ cup of fudge topping or chocolate syrup and 1 cup of whipped topping into a bowl.

💥 Math Break! Measurements are a fantastic way to discuss the real-world applications of math. Some possible questions to ask your child are:

  • How many ½ cups are in a whole cup? Can we test this with our measuring cups?
  • What’s the ratio of fudge topping to whipped topping in the bowl?
  • What if we only had a ¼ cup to measure with? How many ¼ cups are in a ½ cup? How many are in a whole cup?

2️⃣ Add pudding mix to bowl and whisk ingredients together.

3️⃣ Place cookies in the gallon zip top bag.

💥 Math Break! We can use volume to describe how much space is in a container (such as the gallon-sized bag) or how much space an item takes up (like our cookies). Some possible questions to ask your child are:

  • Is the volume of the cookies more or less than 1 gallon?
  • How many cookies do you think it would take to fill up the whole gallon bag?
  • What do you think will happen when we crush the cookies? Will this change the amount of space they take up? Why or why not?

4️⃣ Close the bag, squeezing as much air out of the bag as possible. Crush the cookies.

5️⃣ Mix half of the crushed cookies into the fudge/whipped topping mixture.

💥 Math Break! We use the word “half” a lot, but what does this word really mean? Ask your child what half means to them, and how they know that half of the cookies have been added to the mixture. (Hint: We teach students that half means “two parts the same.”)

6️⃣ Now it’s time to plan how you’re going to layer your ice cream cake! Lay out a 2 foot long (or longer) piece of aluminum foil. Arrange the ice cream sandwiches (still wrapped) in equal groups so you’re ready to create your layers.

💥 Math Break! How many different ways can you make equal groups out of 12 ice cream sandwiches? You can make 3 groups of 4, 4 groups of 3, 2 groups of 6, etc. Discuss which one will work better for your ice cream cake to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart (6 layers of 2 seems a bit wobbly) and you have enough layers (1 layer of 12 or 2 layers of 6 doesn't seem like enough layers in my opinion).

7️⃣ Arrange the first layer of (unwrapped) ice cream sandwiches on the aluminum foil. Cover with the whipped topping mixture. Repeat with remaining layers, ending with a layer of ice cream sandwiches.

8️⃣ Cover the side and top of the cake with whipped topping. Use the strawberry pocky to create an A+ on top of the cake, then cover the remaining space with crushed cookies.

9️⃣ Wrap loosely in tin foil and freeze for 4 hours.

Share your ice cream creations with us on Facebook and Instagram! And don’t forget to enter our National Ice Cream Month Photo Contest by July 22nd for a chance to win a free month of Mathnasium.

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