Activity

Perfume making

Summary
Mix some plant smells to design your own perfume
Science content
Biology: Sensing, Organ Systems (4, 5, 6)
Chemistry: Physical Changes, Solutions, Mixtures and Separating (2, 4, 5, 6)
Lessons activity is in
Materials
  • smelly plants e.g. lavender, mint and fruit peels, either collected by the teachers, or picked by students from a garden
  • mortar and pestle
  • water in a squeeze or dropper bottle
  • optional: ½ or ¼ teaspoon measure
  • pipette
  • small tubes or vials, with optional necklace string
Procedure

Smell the fragrant leaves, flower petals and fruit peels. Choose two or three that you like best. Pick out one leaf, petal or piece of peel from each of your chosen plants. Tear the leaves/petals/peel into small pieces and put them in the mortar.
Add one spoonful of water. Grind with the pestle - push down while you grind in a circle. Grind until the plants are completely mashed up.
Suck up the perfume with a dropper. Put the perfume in a small tube to take home. Think up a fancy name for your perfume. (Your perfume will smell nice for just a day or two, so use it soon!)

What’s going on?
You used water to extract the fragrant chemicals from the plants. Professional perfume makers also extract fragrant chemicals from plants using water, or other solvents. Then they mix different fragrances to design new perfumes.

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 4
Gr 5
Teaching site
Gordon Elementary Science Club
ingridscience afterschool
Van Dusen Botanical Garden