If you haven’t tried the Ivory soap experiment yet, you have to do it now! All you need is a bar of Ivory soap, a microwave-safe dish, and a microwave!
First hand your children the bar of Ivory soap. Let them feel it, and talk about what it feels like. Is it solid? soft? hard? smooth? rough? Then ask them what they think will happen if you put it in the microwave. Our group predicted it would “explode” “melt” or “break into pieces.”
Have the kids place the soap on the plate. Then have an adult do the rest – microwave the bar and plate for about 90 seconds (be careful – don’t let it get too hot). You and the kids will be amazed to watch it bubble and expand!
Wait until the soap cools, and then touch the fluffy expanded soap. You can talk about the transformation, and the differences in how the soap looks and feels. And even check to see if the pieces will still float on water!
We also predicted what would happen to a bar of soap left in the freezer, left outside, and left submerged in water (you could try other liquids, too!).
Ivory soap will float in water, unlike other brands of soap, because of the air bubbles trapped inside. It’s these air bubbles that cause the soap to expand – check out Steve Spangler’s explanation for more of the science behind it.