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Why Soap Works - An Experiment

Updated: Mar 9, 2022

A hands on science experiment for kids.

What is a virus? What is a germ? How can something as simple as washing your hands with soap help you from getting sick? These are some of the questions that children are asking. Here is a fun, and informative science experiment that can illustrate to children what happens when they wash their hands with soap and water. It is a fantastic way to have children visually see how soap can keep them healthy.

The materials you need are:

  • White plate or bowl

  • Small dish or clean yogurt container

  • Water

  • Black pepper - ground

  • Dishwashing or hand soap

The procedure:

  1. Place the plate or bowl on a flat surface.

  2. Pour a small amount of soap into a small dish or clean yogurt container.

  3. Pour approximately 1 cm deep of water into the plate/bowl.

  4. Cover the surface of the water with pepper.

  5. Dip your finger into the water and record what happens.

  6. Now dip your finger into the container with soap.

  7. Once your finger is coated in soap, place it back into the bowl with water.

  8. Record what you see.

I have created a PDF worksheet that follows the scientific method for you to use with this experiment. I will also post two general scientific method worksheets. One for older elementary and middle school students and a simplified version that can be used with younger students or for differentiation within you classroom.

Here is a link to the web sites main printable page where you can access these two worksheets as well as a general Scientific Method worksheet for any experiment.

These are some great books that will compliment your science experiment. Enjoy!

This is a good book to use as a read aloud for introducing the experiment.

This is a good book to have as a reference for after the experiment. The "How" of the experiment is explained using technical chemistry terms( but in an accessible format for children. They has also included a short online quiz to check for understanding. QUIZ

Happy experimenting.

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