Soap Making in Knoll’s Chemistry Class

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Students in Chemistry participated in a lab where they made their own soap. They had to use bunsen burners, beakers and cheesecloths to create the soap. The students were permitted to wear eye goggles during the whole procedure and worked in groups of two or three.

Chemistry teacher, Duane Knoll said that to make the soap they need ingredients such as salt, coconut oil, and sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide is often found in drain cleaners and can be harmful to humans when used incorrectly.

“It’s a strong base which will destroy skin, hair or any kind of organic matter,” Knoll said.

Knoll admits that although the chemicals are dangerous he does feel comfortable enough to let students do the lab each year.

“This is stuff you can buy and use in your home,” Knoll said. “They need to understand these chemicals because it is a part of what they will be doing for the rest of their life. And that’s how I try to teach this chemistry class.”

Junior Priscilla Araujo is in Knoll’s 5th hour chemistry class. She said it was fun to learn how soap is made, but it was also frightening.

“I was mostly afraid because the chemicals are toxic, so we got this whole lecture of how dangerous it can be,” Araujo said.

Next year Knoll will not only be instructing juniors and seniors through the lab, but he will also be instructing sophomores.  

“We moved all the freshman to biology this year so next year all the sophomores will be taking chemistry plus this year’s sophomores so there will be 12 or 13 sections next year,” Knoll said.  

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Soap Making in Knoll’s Chemistry Class