Soap Making in Chemistry Class
One of the things I do is teach Chemistry high school students how to make soap. I love it because it’s a practical application of what they are learning in class. Saponification is a chemical reaction between a strong base (the lye) and a fat (the oil) which results in a salt. When we mix lye (Sodiun Hydroxide) with oil the salt that is formed is called soap.
The students get really excited for this lab. I let them choose the color and the scent of their soap. They are disappointed to learn that they have to wait a week to bring their soap home. I explained that the soap needs 4 weeks to cure so the saponification reaction is complete and the excess water has evaporated and the bar is hard. A hard bar of soap lasts longer than a soft bar. And they are also disappointed to learn I will be grading their soap making labs. I’m happy to say that they all did a great job on their write ups, and most of them said it was their favorite lab.
Four weeks later, both classes are ready to take their soaps home to use. The 7th period class made a lavender soap and the 9th period used eucalyptus. I wish I had a soap making lab in my high school Chemistry class, don’t you?
Yours in Gratitude,