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Activity: Making soap – Levels 1 and 2

Achievement Objectives - Whāinga Paetae: Te Pū me te More

1.2 & 2.1 Observe and describe the major properties, such as colour, texture and odour of familiar materials, and the changes that occur when materials are mixed, heated or cooled. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa: (p.99) Ō Kawekawe, Ngā Āhutanga me ngā Panoni Matū. Te Pū 1.  Te More 1.

Learning Outcome

I will be able to: 

  • make a bar of soap
  • describe the changes that happen to the soap as it is heated and cooled.

Success criteria

Success criteria Self-assessment Peer assessment Teacher assessment
I can make a bar of soap.                  
I can describe the changes that happen to the soap as it is heated and cooled.                  

Have a go at making your own soap. The soap will be a great present for members of your whānau. An adult will help you with the hot liquids.


  • Clear or white glycerine soap bars 
  • Knife 
  • Stove
  • Tin can or old saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Essential oil, such as peppermint or rose. Alternately you could use manuka oil or make an extract from a plant such as tarata which gives it lemon smell.
  • Ice cube tray
  • Baking paper


  1. Cut a bar of clear or white glycerine soap into small pieces and place the pieces into a tin can or old saucepan.
  2. Heat the soap until it is completely melted.
  3. Add 10 drops of your preferred essential oil to the melted soap and stir it.
  4. Push small pieces of baking paper into the sections of an ice cube tray. Pour the soap onto the baking paper. Store the ice cube tray at room temperature and allow the soap to harden. Remove the bars of soap from the ice cube tray.
  • Describe what happened to the soap when you heated it up.
  • Describe what happened to the soap when it cooled down.
  • Compare the smell of your soap when it was hot and cold. When did it have the strongest smell?

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