Investigation Sequence


Bubble Two Investigation Sequence

Written by:

Jessica Sebade and Melissa Loetscher



Focus Questions

What is a bubble? What are the characteristics of bubbles? How big or little can a bubble get? How can we measure the change in bubbles? How do bubbles change?


Content: Earth, Physical, & Life

Bubbles have many observable properties, including color, texture, size, shape, mass, volume, density, and the ability to interact with other objects.
Bubbles can be measured with scientific tools and compared to a standard unit (linear, time, temperature, mass, volume, and density)

Cross cutting concepts

Constancy enables people to understand the universe.
Objects, properties, and events stay the same or happen in similar ways.
Almost anything has limits on how big or small it can be.
Finding out how big or small something can be is sometimes as revealing as knowing what the usual value is.
Drawing pictures, making charts, graphs, or taking measurements helps to see change.
Properties and change of properties can be quantified.
Change can happen in a variety of ways (size, rate, color, texture).
Measurement helps in making more accurate observations.

Science Practice

Observations are used to help make explanations.

Personal, Social, Technology, Nature of Science, History


Background information

Bubbles come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be created using a variety of different objects. Their size, including circumference and diameter can be measured. In addition to coming in a variety of shapes and sizes, bubbles possess every color in the spectrum. Bubbles play a very important role in our world. They are used in a variety of products such as foam board and insulation. Bubbles are found all around us. They can be found in water and even things we eat!


Activity Sequence

1. Bubble Bomb
2. Hand Bubble
3. Bubbles using different objects
4. Measuring bubbles
5. What colors can you see in bubbles?
6. Wow! Really big bubbles!

Activity Descriptions

Activity 1: Bubble Bomb
ÿ Safety glasses or goggles, Water (warm and cold), film canister, 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets, paper towels, paper, pencils
1. Ask students what do you think will happen when you add an Alka-Seltzer tablet to cold water and to warm water within a closed container.
2. Tell students they are going to do an experiment to find out just what happens.
3. Explain to students that first they will experiment with warm water and then cold water.
4. Have students put on their safety goggles, find a partner, get two film canisters, one half full of warm water and one half full of cold water. Next have students take an Alka-Seltzer tablet, drop it into the film canister with the warm water, immediately put the lid on, and stand back to observe. Then record their observation and repeat the procedure with another Alka-Seltzer tablet in cold water.
5. Bring the whole class back together and discuss what they observed.
6. Ask them to describe the bubbles. What did they look like? Do? Change? …
7. Ask where at home would they be able to see the same results (when a balloon pops, or a plastic bag). How are balloons, plastic bags, car tires, … like the bubbles in the experiment? How are they different?
8. How would you describe the change?
9. Where else do they see change?
10. How do scientists use change?

Activity 2: Hand Bubbles
Materials: water, pail, bucket or wash basin, liquid dish soap, 1 cup measuring cup, 1/8 measuring cup, glycerin, spoon, rags/paper towels

Prepare the solution with 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of liquid dish soap, and 1/8 cup of glycerin. Mix everything with a spoon. Stirring too vigorously will create unwanted foam. If foam does develop, remove it. Have plenty of rags and paper towels ready to use in case of spills. The bubble solution can be quite slippery, so it is pertinent to wipe it up if it spills or drips.

1. Tell the students that they are going to experiment with bubbles.
2. Ask them what devices or mediums are used to create bubbles.
3. Let all students share.
4. Show the students where the bubble solution is that they will be using. Ask them to use their thumb and pointer finger, to try to make an "Okay" sign. Then they will dip the circle created by their fingers into the bubble solution and gently blow through the middle. Tell them to experiment with different blowing speeds. Example: See how bubbles are created when you blow fast and when you blow slower. Even try blowing at a medium speed.
5. Bring the whole class back together and discuss what they observed.
6. Ask them to describe the bubbles. What did they look like? Do? Change? …
7. Discuss with students what happened by blowing bigger bubbles, and using different speeds.
8. How would you describe the change?
9. Where else do they see change?
10. How do scientists use change?

Activity 3: Bubbles using different objects
ÿ Bubble solution, straw, ruler, scissors, black plastic bag
1. Ask students if it’s possible to make the same size of bubble.
2. Ask them what sizes they think are possible to make.
3. Tell students that they are going to experiment with making different sizes of bubbles. Tell them they will first measure and cut out about a 12 inch square from a black plastic bag and lay it on a tabletop. Then they will take a straw and dip one end in the bubble solution, lift it out, and gently blow through the other end.
Tell them to blow bubbles and rest them on the plastic. Explore to find out if it is possible to make bubbles the same size, make a bubble inside another bubble, and make a chain of linking bubbles. Ask students what they discovered about exploring with bubbles. Finally, try other objects to make bubbles. An example would be using a ring that is found on a canning jar. Interlock straws in different geometric designs with tape and try blowing bubbles of different shapes.
4. Bring the whole class back together and discuss what they observed.
5. Ask them to describe the bubbles. What did they look like? Do? Change? …
6. Ask students if it is hard or easy to get it to rest on the plastic.
7. Have students explore how they could use different objects to make bubbles at home. Discuss their ideas.

Activity 4: Measuring bubbles
ÿ string, bubble solution, ruler, pencil, tape measure, paper, table or large flat surface
1. Ask students how they would measure bubbles.
2. Record all ideas on the board.
3. Cut pieces of string about 10 and 18 inches long.
4. Have the students blow a pretty big bubble and rest it on the table. Tell them to leave it alone until it pops.
5. Tell students to observe the ring that it left on the table.
6. Have students record their answers.
7. Explain to the students that the diameter of a bubble is one way of measuring how big they are. The diameter is the distance straight through the middle of a bubble.
8. Have the students take the piece of string, measure the diameter of the bubble you blew. Next have them lay the string straight through the middle and mark with a pencil the end. Have them take the string and line it up against a ruler or outstretched tape measure to see what the diameter is. Use the longer string and measure the circumference of the circle or bubble print. This is the measurement of the line all around the outside of the circle or bubble. Mark the end point of the circumference and lay the string down next to the tape measurer to see what the circumference is of the bubble circle and print.
9. A lot of things can be done with measuring bubbles. Have students chart different kinds of bubbles blown with different objects (short and long straws, canning jar rings) to see how big and how little their bubbles can be.
10. When a bubble is resting on the table, you can use string to measure how high the bubble is, too. Or you can use your hand and note where the top of the bubble is on your hand and then use the tape measurer to see how tall it was.
11. Bring the whole class back together and discuss what they observed.
12. Discuss how you can measure a bubble and the units you use when measuring it.
13. Ask them what the largest bubble was that they measured.
14. Ask them what the smallest bubble was that they measured.
15. Discuss why they think some bubbles are bigger than others.

Activity 5: What colors can you see in bubbles?
ÿ Black construction paper, tape, bubble solution, straw, piece of black plastic garbage bag
1. Ask students if color exists in bubbles. Ask them where the color comes from
and how is it created.
2. Have students cut a long rectangle out of black construction paper-about 12
inches long and 3 inches wide. Tape the two ends together so you form a circle. A "bubble house" has just been created. With a straw, have students blow a bubble and rest it on the plastic. Put the construction paper bubble house around the bubble. Very carefully look down at the bubble. What colors are seen? The bubble film will have all the colors of the spectrum or rainbow. Watch as the bubble gets ready to pop: just before it pops a little dark black circle will form in the middle.
3. Bubbles are "film" and light reflects and refracts on and through the film so that we see all the colors that are in light.
4. Discuss what they observed and why they saw the colored bubble.
5. Ask them how the colors appeared on the bubbles (i.e. all mixed together or in a pattern, etc.)
6. Ask them where they have seen something similar where light reflects. (example: rainbow)
7. Have them draw a picture of the bubble including all the colors they observed on it.

Activity 6: Wow! Really big bubbles!
ÿ Small wading pool or very large tank, bubble solution, hoola hoop, tape measure, tubing, cotton clothes line, brick
1. Ask students how big they think a bubble can get.
2. Have them write down their predictions on a designated "record sheet."
3. Using a small wading pool or very large tank, make a bubble
solution of 8 gallons of water, 8 cups of liquid dish soap, and 1 cup of glycerin.
Have students use different sizes of Hula Hoops to make big bubbles. Have students try standing in the middle of a big bubble or layering big bubbles on top of each other. Using a tape measure have them figure out the print left on a sidewalk from a big bubble. Find out the circumference, diameter and height.
Have students try making bubble windows from pieces of tubing and cotton clothes line. String the clothes line through the middle of the piece of plastic tubing and make squares, triangles, etc. With another student to provide assistance, dip the big window frames into the pool of bubble solution and carefully lift up and let some wind past through. If there is lack of wind, walk quickly to get air to pass through and "blow" a bubble. Have students find out how big of a bubble you can make.
Have students put a concrete block or couple of bricks in the middle of the swimming pool. Let someone stand in the middle on the block or brick. A couple of people can lower a hoola hoop down over the person into the bubble solution. Carefully bring the hoola hoop up. Let the person in the middle tell what it is like being in the middle while looking out of a bubble.
2. Have students record their results.
3. Discuss the various sizes of bubbles created.
4. Discuss what it felt like being inside of a bubble.
5. Have them draw a picture of what it was like to stand inside of the bubble.

Activity 7: Bubbularium
ÿ small clear plastic lid (from yogurt or margarine container), clear plastic tape, flashlight that works, bubble juice, spoon, straw, room you can make dark
1. Ask students what bubbles look like when they are moving and floating.
2. Have students tape the plastic lid over the end of the flashlight the light shines from. Then turn the flashlight on and hold it so the light shines straight up.
Have students dip their finger in the bubble juice and wet the lid. Put a spoonful of bubble juice on the lid. With a straw have them blow one big bubble to make a bubble dome that covers the whole lid. Have students turn off the lights and hold the flashlight so that the bottom of the bubble dome is just above their eyebrows. Have the students watch the swirling colors. If they put the wet straw into the bubble dome and blow very gently, they can move the colors around.
3. Watch the colors. How many do you see? If you watch a bubble for a few minutes, do the colors change? What colors do you see right before the bubble pops? Do you ever see black and white polka dots?
4. Ask them about the actions of the bubbles they observed.
5. Record the observations on a big chart in the front of the room.
6. If time permits, have students illustrate a picture showing the actions and motions the bubble underwent.

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes