15 Making Butter

Competencies: Social Studies, History

History 4.2: Understands and analyzes causal factors that have shaped major events in history.

CBA: Meeting Needs and Wants


Objective: Students make butter just as the early settlers did. They look at an actual butter mold and press, and read an article about the history of butter presses.

Materials: article “Butter Prints & Molds” by Anne Colby (see attached), in kits 1 and 2 there are separate butter molds and presses, in kits 3 and 4 there is one mold with the press design already engraved in the mold, chilled whipping cream, clean baby food jars, crackers


  • Ask students if they eat butter or margarine at home.  Ask them what it looks like (wrapped sticks or in plastic tubs) and where their parents buy it (local grocery store).   Ask students where they think the butter comes from before it gets to the store.  Discuss how butter is made (comes from cows).
  • Read the article Butter Prints & Molds to the class.  Discuss how pioneers made butter.
  • Share and discuss the butter mold/press.  These are for viewing and discussing only, not to use.
  • Tell the students that they will get to make butter the way that pioneers did.
  • Pour 1-2 teaspoons of whipping cream into each clean baby food jar.
  • Shake the jar for several minutes until the cream turns to butter.  Chilled cream will form into butter faster.
  • Spread the homemade butter onto crackers and enjoy.


Activity 15 (DOC
Activity 15 (PDF)
Butter Prints & Molds

Return to Activity Guide