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The Communicator

The Communicator

FOS 3 Gets Soapy


While the FOS 3 Soap Lab is extremely rewarding with students being able to take home their own soaps six weeks later, it is also incredibly dangerous. The students had to mix sodium hydroxide and fats; the combination of the two is a slippery chemical burn waiting to happen. Many strict safety procedures were in place including wearing goggles and gloves at all times, having long hair pulled back and a deep clean after they finished.

The Soap Lab is an annual tradition in FOS 3 classes; the project wraps up the unit on Organic Chemistry in a risky, yet engaging way.

“The soap lab should be a holiday in the FOS curriculum,” said Marcy McCormick, FOS 3 teacher at CHS. “It’s one of, if not, the best lab of the year!”

Students in FOS 3 can use this project for more than just learning about chemistry. Each group gets to create a theme surrounding their soap — displayed in the scent, color, ingredients and shape of each bar. It’s an opportunity for students to create silly or unconventional soaps that they will actually get to use in the future, often gifting them, selling them or using them in their own washing routines.

“We got to design a lot of what we wanted in the soap and its chemical properties,” said Kaylie Peters, a FOS 3 student in Rebecca Buell’s class. “We even got to pick out our theme and bring in some outside things into it. It turned out wonderful.”

The lab is followed by a waiting period of at least six weeks before students are allowed to touch their soap. Despite the excitement from the students to unveil their soaps, the safety precautions are in place for a good reason; the sodium hydroxide used in the soap can not only burn skin when touched too early, but can create toxic fumes when mixed with water.

“There’s this thrilling element where, yes, the experiment can be dangerous, but it has beautiful results,” Peters said. “I think it was worth the risk.”

The projects will cure in a dark room until the end of April as excitement for their unveiling grows in the FOS 3 classrooms.

The projects’ debut will be at “Arts, Science and Letters Night” on May 17, where those attending will have an opportunity to purchase soaps; the proceeds will be donated to the FOS program to support future labs and trips.

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About the Contributors
Molly Hamalainen
Molly Hamalainen, Journalist
Molly Hamalainen is a senior at Community High School, going into her third semester on The Midnight Sun. Documentation is a passion of Molly’s, and she loves to document CHS and beyond. Their three favorite m’s are music, matcha, and maxi skirts, which coincidentally keep them going while writing. Find her if you want to discuss fashion or feminism, but never alliteration.
Hannah L. Rubenstein
Hannah L. Rubenstein, CET Specialist/Journalist
Hannah Rubenstein is a senior at Community High School. This is her third year on the Communicator staff and second year in her position as CET Specialist Journalist. Aside from journalism, Hannah enjoys stage managing and photographing for jGirls+ Magazine. Her goal for this year is to spend less money at Sweetwaters.

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