Exploding Soap!

We’re beginning a new series in our lives. I intend to blog about it, but I’m smart enough to not make any promises. The littles have been excited for science recently, and are all about trying different experiments. I had searched all over the internet for a good experiment kit, but in the end I think pinterest is going to do us nicely for a great resource. And so, thanks to Pinterest, I introduce, Experiment Wednesdays.–no, don’t expect any alliteration here. I’m not that fancy.

Our first go in, we discovered exploding soap.  Which translates to–perfect home experiment for a 6 and 4 year old, and their parents. I admit, I’m easily amused.

Unfortunately for pinterest and the blogs the idea linked to, I couldn’t find a good explanation of WHY the experiment worked like it did. It took me a bit of googling to find a good explanation. So before I go on, I’ll tell you now, that this blog–5 Orange Potatoes--goes above and beyond in explaining this experiment, with extra fancy ideas included. We ended up keeping her blog post up and basing most of our experiment off of her suggestions. ^_^

For us?  We began by creating our own science journals. The girls intend to use them to document every experiment they do, and as Z would have it in her fancy nancy fashion, they needed to be pretty.
the science journals

(I bet you’ll never figure out which one is Zuri’s)


The littles then wrote down their observations–many to the suggestions of the 5 Orange Potatoes post, and some of our own as well. (if you’re interested, her post has a downloadable little booklet she made for the experiment)

We observed that the soap was white, it was easily molded–unlike the Irish spring soap bar we were also testing–it floated unlike the Irish Spring soap, and Z noticed that it smelled fantastic.

inside the science journal

Then the fun began:

Microwave Rays

For this experiment all you need to do is

  • put a chunk of the ivory soap in the microwave
  • Start the microwave with a couple of minutes on the clock –The results will happen immediately, and any time you stop the microwave you’ll be satisfied with the results.

If you chose to do this experiment don’t forget your hypothesis!  Hosanna hypothesized the soap wouldn’t change at all, while Zuri predicted it would melt.  Both were more then thrilled with the results.
exploded soap

and then to round things out, and per 5 orange potatoes suggestion we wet our hands and made fantastic little soap molds.–a word to the wise, don’t add to much water like some 4 year olds might be prone to do. All that will happen is you’ll have some thick soapy water in the end. BUT, it’ll be fun doing it.

taking experiments to another level

So WHY does this happen as opposed to other soaps?

The experiment is an example of Charles’ Law in action:

Charles’s law  (chärlzz)


The physical law that the volume of a fixed mass of gas held at a constant pressure varies directly with the absolute temperature.

To translate into human terms that a mamma can explain to her 6 and 4 year old:

When the soap gets hot the water that inside the soap vaporizes making bubbles while the heat also causes the air that’s trapped inside to expand. When the soap is heated the air molecules move faster causing them to expand.  Making the soap changes it’s proportions and “explode.”–again, I’ll tell you now, that I might not be the greatest at explaining this but if you check out 5 Orange Potatoes, her explanations really helped me out.

I’d say for our first experiment we sure had a good one. ^_^ Stayed tuned for more–but I’m not making any promises…


2 responses to “Exploding Soap!

  1. Awesome! We did that one last year with our home school group. The science journal is a great idea, though. We do science experiments a lot, a journal would be helpful! Today we learned that salt water and sugar water freeze at different temperatures than regular water. 🙂

  2. I thought the title said “exploding SOUP”. imagine my confusion reading about SOAP. we will definitely have to try this one. the boys will love it.

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