Beacon Lesson Plan Library

The Best Butter

Christine Davis
Bay District Schools


The students learn the importance of cooperating by working in cooperative groups. The groups are divided to show the many possiblities of how students work together.


The student writes questions and observations about familiar topics, stories, or new experiences.

The student knows the skills needed to be a responsible friend and family member (e.g., doing chores and helping others).


-4 Baby food jars
-1 Pint of whipping cream


-Prepare 4 babyfood jars with whipping cream. You only need to fill the jar about 1/4 of the way.
- Divide the students into the four groups. Since you know the students, you can place them in the group that you feel they will learn the most about cooperation..


1. Ask the class what cooperation means and write their responses down on the board.

2. Explain to the class that they are going to make butter and that everybody will get a chance to help make it.

3. Divide the students up into the following four groups and explain what each group needs to do.
Group 1 - Choose one student to be in this group by himself. He will be the only member of the group and be responsible for all the work.
Group 2- 1/3 of class - Instruct the group that they are all responsible for how the butter turns out, but only two students are going to be shaking the jar. The rest of the students may talk quietly.
Group 3- 1/3 of class - Instruct the group that they are all responsible for how the butter turns out and that everybody will be shaking the jars. The student who is shaking the jar gets to decide when to pass the jar to the next person.
Group 4- 1/3 of class - Instruct the group that they are all responsible for how the butter turns out and that everybody will be shaking the jar. The student will get the jar, shake it twenty times, and then pass it to the next person.

4. When all the students understand what they are supposed to do, pass out the jars with whipping cream in them.

5. Let the students shake the jars until butter is made.

6. Go around to the different groups, asking questions like: Are you getting tired yet? Are you having fun? Are you bored? Do you think he is being fair with his turn on with the jar?

7. After the butter is made, discuss as a group how they felt in their group. Ask them which group came closest to matching their definitions of what cooperation is? Do they need to change their definition of cooperation? Why or why not?

8. Put some butter on the crackers and let the students sample their work.

9. Have the students write in their journals about how they felt in their groups and which group they would have liked to be in. Ask them to explain why they would like to be in this group.


The students demonstrate their understanding of working cooperatively in their journal writing.
When this project is being done, the following results usually happen:
Group 1- The student usually is tired. He says that he would have liked some help.
Group 2- The students who didn't get a chance to shake the jar say that they were bored. The students who did all the work say that it is not fair that the ones who talked to get the butter. They didn't help make it.
Group 3- There is a lot of disagreement in this group. They all argue over whose turn it is and when to pass the jar. They are in agreement that everybody deserves the butter.
Group 4- This group works out the best. The students realize that they all did the same amount of work and they deserve to all eat the butter.

The teacher should relate the butter and the work to school work.

The journal entry should contain from 3-5 sentences to a few paragraphs depending upon the grade level that you are teaching. The sentences need to be related to the butter experience. Students should be able to list the skills needed to help others and work cooperatively.
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