Introduction: IND States of Matter Soap Making

Good morning, class! This week we will be working on the 3 states of matter!

I teach middle school IND (intellectual disabilities/ESE/special ed) and once I saw this contest, I knew exactly what we had to do!

In Florida, we use something called Access Points to work with students with disabilities.

Access Point #: SC.8.P.8.Su.1: Recognize three states of matter, including solids, liquids, and gases.

Number: SC.8.P.8.Su.1

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08 Category: Supported 1

Big Idea: Properties of Matter : A. All objects and substances in the world are made of matter. Matter has two fundamental properties: matter takes up space and matter has mass which gives it inertia.

In class, we talked about matter and the three states. The worksheets we used came from from TeachersPayTeachers (link:


States of matter unit worksheets

Melt and Pour Soap - I bought mine from Amazon, but they can also be found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

Essential Oils - we used fruit and flower scents

Soap Dye - there was a small pack of 10 on Amazon

Rectangular Soap Molds - I bought 3 packs of the silicone molds so they can pop out a little easier; you can find them in the cake aisle at Michael's, the soap aisle at Hobby Lobby, or again, on Amazon.

Coffee Stirrers - we used the 1000 pack that I "borrowed" from the front office at my school, but you can find them in the coffee and craft section of basically any store. The thinner popsicle sticks work, too.

Rubbing Alcohol Spray - optional; it removes the bubbles on top of the soap. Some students chose to use it, others didn't like the smell.

Soap Cutter - optional; a knife works just fine, I had a parent bring one in after we took our initial pictures.

Step 1: Cut Soap


Even with a soap cutter, it is a BLADE. Precut the soap before the kiddos come in in.

My students loved to touch and smell the pieces. They got to choose if they wanted a solid or clear soap to melt.

I put the two kinds of soaps in separate bowls so they could see the differences and feel them.

Note: We had to cut the white blocks to be much smaller! They do not melt well in that large of pieces. It took about 4 minutes to melt down just 3 of those blocks. The smaller pieces melted much quicker.

Step 2: Melt and Color Soap

We broke the kiddos into 3 small groups and rotated them. We did the 3-2-1 worksheet from the packet in one group, the solids and liquids sort, and, of course, the soap making table.

At the table, I had my instructional assistant melt the soap while the parents and I helped the students choose colors and scents. They really enjoyed choosing for themselves. However, this can be a lengthy process and you may need to remelt the soap if it starts to solidify.

We initially tried to have the students mix the colors directly in the mold, but some would get upset when other students would get too close.

Step 3: Add Scents and Pour Into the Mold

Once we decided it would be easier to give the students their own small cup, they could mix in their colors and scents on their own.

To get a good color, we put in about 5 drops of the dye and about 5 drops of scent. I chose 5 of each so they could see and smell the changes as they stirred. If you're doing this at home, you probably do not need as much of either. Add more or less to get to your desired color and smell.

Note: I poured the soap for some of the students who did not have that level of skill. The soap is still hot as you pour it and, although it won't burn you, it can hurt if it splashes you.

Step 4: Label and Wait

We have a dry erase table in the classroom, so I wrote directly on the table, but you can just as easily put a sticker or sticky note next to the molds. OR if you're feeling fancy, you can draw a graph on the board and label them that way.

We melted and poured the soaps in the morning and by after lunch, they were completely solidified.

Note: Even with the soaps labeled, I still had some students trying to take soaps that were not theirs, so make sure to keep an eye on them. Also, there is a length of time where the soaps are getting more solid, but are squishy - we had a few with little dents in them when they had finished solidifying.

Step 5: Let the Students Hold and Try Their Soaps!

Not all of them wanted to wash their hands with it, so we put those ones in baggies and sent them home along with a note in their backpacks that said, "SOAP IN BACKPACK! :)"

The following day, we did the assessment page in the packet. We did it as an "open book" test with their "my book about matter" mini book from the packet.

We also took a group photo for our weekly class newsletter!

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