STEM Play Packs – Bubbles

Bubble Wonders

Aim: Have fun observing and chasing bubbles to notice science and get some physical activity.

Supplies: Bubbles; wand; gloves.

How to play: 

  1. Open the bottle of bubbles, dip the wand in, and blow on it to release a bubble.
  2. Try catching bubbles with dry hands.
  3. Try catching bubbles after putting water on your hands.
  4. Put on a glove and try catching the bubbles.
  5. Follow a bubble and watch it land. Notice how quickly it pops. Repeat this on different surfaces like the sidewalk, a table, a plant, a window, etc.

Questions to Ask

    • What do you notice about the color of bubbles?
    • What happened when they landed on a dry, wet, or gloved hand?
    • How did the type of surface the bubble landed on, affect it?
    • What can you do to be a better observer of the bubbles?

Where is the STEM?

    • Science: Looking closely and noticing things informs scientists about objects.
    • Technology: The wand is a tool to help form the bubble.
    • Engineering: Experimenting with the landing surface can increase the life of a bubble.
    • Math: Bubbles are circles.

What is the Science?

Making observations is a very important skill in science as well as everyday life so with each of these bubble science experiments a great question is what did you see?

When young children blow into the bubble wand and produce bubbles, they are learning by observation, about cause and effect; this is an important STEM concept and basic principle for understanding the world around them.

 

Better Bubbles

 

Aim: Making the best bubble recipe. 

 

Supplies: Liquid dish soap; distilled water; light corn syrup or glycerine, sugar, lukewarm water; vegetable oil, bubble wand, paper and pencil (optional), measuring cups and spoons.

 

How to play:  

  1. Choose one of the following recipes and make it.
  2. Use the bubble wand to blow bubbles from this mixture. Notice how easy it is to blow a bubble, how long it lasts, and how big you can blow them.
  3. Blow bubbles from the store bought bubbles in the kit. Notice the same things. You can write down your observations so you can remember the differences. Do this multiple times for each mixture.
  4. Make a second recipe.
  5. Use the same bubble wand and notice the same things.
  6. Repeat 1 and 2 with the third recipe.
  7. Pick your favorite recipe and try altering the ingredients to see if you can improve it.

 

Bubble Recipe 1: 

1/2 cup liquid dish soap like Joy or Dawn (not “ultra”)

3 cups distilled water inside a clean container that has a lid

2 TBsp  light corn syrup or glycerine

 

Pour the dish soap into the water and mix it without letting bubbles form (that’s for later!). 

Put the corn syrup into the mix and stir.  You can use it right away, but some

bubble-lovers recommend covering and letting the bubble mix sit overnight. The overnight to 24 hours allows everything to mix well.

 

Bubble Recipe 2: 

4 Tbsp water.

1 Tbsp concentrated dish soap.

2 Tbsp sugar.

 

Add the water to a small bowl and pour in the dish soap. Add the sugar and stir gently until the sugar is dissolved.

 

Bubble Recipe 3: 

1 cup of lukewarm water

4 tbsps of dish soap 

2 to 4 drops of vegetable oil

 

Pour the water into a large bowl or pot. Add the dish soap while stirring until dissolved. Let the mixture sit for about five minutes. Add a few drops of vegetable oil and you’re done! 

 

Questions to Ask

    • How can you change the bubble recipe to make longer lasting bubbles?
    • What bubble recipe works the best? How do you define “best?”
    • Did one bubble mixture pop easier than the other? 
    • What happens if you add more or less of each ingredient? 
    • What happens if you use a different liquid dish soap?

 

Where is the STEM?

    • Science:Mixing ingredients together can create a new solution with different properties than the original.
    • Technology: We use tools to measure and stir.
    • Engineering: Solve the problem of making longer lasting bubbles or bigger bubbles.
    • Math: Using measurements requires numbers and proportions. 

What is the Science?

Anything that slows down the water evaporation will delay the bubble from popping.

 

Other Resources:

Science of bubbles

 

Science of blowing bubbles

 

Bubble Wands 

Aim: Build and experiment with different bubble wands. 

Supplies: Pipe cleaners; plastic funnels; plastic cup (a parent and a knife); drinking straws. 

How to play: 

  1. Create any shape you like from a pipe cleaner, just make sure you keep a small section as a handle. Try making circles, stars, hearts, or triangles. 
  2. Use a plastic funnel as a wand. Using the large end to dip and the small end to blow.
  3. Use a drinking straw to blow bubbles.
  4. Tape or tie multiple straws together and blow a bubble with the group. Notice if the bubbles join together when you blow them.
  5. Punch a hole in the bottom of a plastic cup to blow through. Dip the large open end into the solution and blow. 

 

Questions to Ask

    • How does using wands of varying sizes and shapes affect the bubble created? 
    • What is the difference if you blow into or wave the object fast or slow? 
    • What bubble wand worked the best? 
    • What kind of wand makes a bigger bubble than the others? Why?
    • If the wand is not a circle, what shape is the bubble while on the wand and in the air? 
    • How does the size of the wand change its ability to blow bubbles? Especially think of this with the funnel wand and plastic cup.
    • What happens when two bubbles join together? 

 

Where is the STEM?

    • Science: Once bubbles come off a wand their will always become spheres.
    • Technology: Wands are tools for blowing bubbles.
    • Engineering: Designing and building your own wand. 
    • Math: The shape of the wand can affect the shape of the bubble while it is in the wand.

 

What is the Science?

Observation is an important skill to introduce and nurture in kids. These activities are filled with opportunities to observe. These observations and questions will support the natural curiosity of kids. Follow that curiosity and observation with predictions and a little experimentation and you are on your way to becoming a scientist!

Why is a bubble round? Bubbles can stretch and become all kinds of crazy looking shapes. But if you seal a bubble by flipping it off your wand, no matter what shape a bubble has initially, it will try to become a sphere. The sphere is the shape that minimizes ​the surface area of the structure, which makes it the shape that requires the least energy to achieve.​  That’s why even if it had a crazy shape before you sealed it, once sealed shut, the bubble will become a sphere shape. Compared to any other shape, a sphere has the smallest surface area for the amount of volume. Why do bubbles stick together? Since a bubble tends to minimize its surface area, bubbles will join together to share one common wall.

Other Resources:

Geometric bubbles (use drinking straws taped together instead of these tools)

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