Soap Souffle

We are about one week away from school starting and it is getting harder to keep the superheroes entertained.  While the baby was napping, we decided to do a quick experiment.  Little did I know that this was going to keep them busy for over an hour!  So grab a bar of Ivory Soap and have some “clean” fun!

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Ivory Soap (No other brand will do)
  • Paper Towel
  • Microwave
  • Empty bin (optional)

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Unwrap a bar of Ivory Soap and have your superheroes observe it.  If they are younger, ask them probing questions:

  • What shape is it?
  • Is it soft or hard?
  • What color is it?
  • Is it smooth or bumpy?
  • Does it have a smell?

We cut the bar of soap in half.  Place it on a paper towel (we used two sheets) and place in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. (Ours was done in about a minute)

Have your superheroes WATCH through the microwave (mine had to stand on chairs to see).  They will be amazed at what they see!

Take your soap out of the microwave.  It will be warm so touch it first before allowing your little ones to touch it.

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Ask them to describe what happened and how it has changed.  Then I put it in a bin and let them play with it.  So much fun!  They called it “snow”.

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And when they were done, they only needed to wash their hands with water and that got me thinking… what if we add water to the crumbled soap?  And so we did.  The superheroes predicted it would make bubbles since that is what happens when we add soap to the water during bath time.

And now we had even MORE fun.

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And clean-up is easy!  Their hands are already soapy so a quick rinse is all they need.  Please note that I would play with the crumbly soap outside as the dust particles caused my little ones to sneeze a bit indoors 🙂

Observation Sheets

Observation Sheets

Extension:

For older kids, you can test this with another brand of soap and see what happens.  Prior to placing the soap in the microwave, have them place each bar in a bowl of water to see if there is a difference in how they behave in water (this is the reason why only Ivory soap works) and what that might have to do with the end results.

The Science behind the Activity:

Ivory Soap is one of the few brands of soap that has air whipped into it during the manufacturing process so it is less dense than water, therefore it floats in water.  Because of this air trapped inside when the soap is heated, the trapped air molecules move faster forcing the soap to expand.  The heat also makes the soap a bit more pliable, thus adding to fluffiness.

To see where I got the idea from and a fabulous, detailed explanation, follow the link below:

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/soap-souffle

 

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