A Dissolving Solid

Today I had a unique opportunity to talk to my son about solids, liquids, and gases. Now, we don’t usually spend time discussing this at home, lol. Today we made some homemade shower steamers though and it led to a fun conversation!

What are shower steamers and why am I mentioning them here? Well, just keep reading!

I’ve been looking for a way to make bath bombs (this wasn’t quite it) but it did lead to something cool.

I didn’t have citric acid, which you must have for bath bombs, but I did have baking soda, water and essential oils. I decided to try my hand at shower steamers. My kids love taking showers and I knew they would love using these, plus they are great for colds!

I’ll share the recipe for these in a bit, but the conversation that followed with my son was really neat. We started talking about what makes a solid, then how some things can change from a solid to a liquid, then to a gas. The shower steamer was a great example! It started as a solid (when I handed it to Rex) then he placed it at the bottom of the shower (if you used these in your classroom, you could just use a bucket of water.) As the water hit it, it dissolved. He was able to see it dissolve and smell the vapors of the essential oils.

We didn’t get too deep with the chemistry, but it made me think, “how cool would these be in the classroom?” Have the students make them (discussing mixtures and solutions) then have the students investigate the reactions when the tablet hits water. The ingredients are completely safe for students to handle and cheap for the teacher to provide!

Ingredients: (makes 5 BIG tablets)

2 cups of baking soda

1/2 cup of water

15 drops of Essential Oil (I used lavender, it is calming 🙂

Cupcake Pan (with liners, preferably.)


Mix water and baking soda into a paste, add in oil and mix more.

Divide into the different cupcake slots.

Let sit for 18-24 hours or bake at 250 degrees for an hour.

Done! Then just pop the (carefully) out of the liners)

If you wanted to have the students make them, they could sit until the next day, or you could make them at home and just have the students investigate the reaction in water.

I know the kids would have a blast with this! If you don’t teach science, please share it with your science person!

And don’t ever underestimate the integration that can happen with things like this. For example, having students measure targets math, have the journal about their experience after they are finished to build on writing, and then have the students read What is the World Made Of? (A great book about states of matter!)

I hope you found this useful! Have a great week!

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