Blowing Bubbles: An Interdisciplinary Science and Mathematics Labby: Lynn Stallings and Kim Wimpey

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Are you looking for an inexpensive, hands-on way to introduce the nature of molecules, surface tension, light waves, and color? How about blowing bubbles? Allowing middle school students to explore abstract mathematics and scientific concepts concretely and actively builds a firm foundation for future analytical study. The following is a great way to engage students in higher-level thinking through active exploration.

Grades
  • Middle
Publication Date
2/1/2000

Community ActivitySaved in 130 Libraries

Reviews (4)
  • on Wed Aug 17, 2016 5:56 PM

I am very excited about this lesson. I saw something similar to it last year but I did not have enough background knowledge to implement this. One thing that others might find useful when they do this is, soak some Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas the night before the activity. When students create other shapes to find the different planes, they can use toothpicks and the Garbanzo Beans to be the vertices. What I like about using them is that once they dry, the 3D shape is very sturdy. I love the art aspect of adding food coloring to the bubble solution and then as the bubbles pop you can see some colorful designs on the light colored bulletin board paper or construction paper.

Pamela Dupre  (Lake Charles, LA)
Pamela Dupre (Lake Charles, LA)

  • on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:49 PM

My middle school students enjoyed this bubble lab. Many had been struggling in their Geometry classes with angles, edges and vertices. My Math counterpart and I decided we would do this lab together, she introducing the Math, I the Science. Eventually the students got to the place where the Math made sense and they could predict the number of diagonals and angles before they even tested their wands. We extended this lab to include different concentrations of soap to see if there was a difference in the length of time the bubbles lasted, if there was a difference in the color intensity and length you could see it, and size of the bubbles able to be blown. The questions that accompany the lab caused the students to think about the bubbles, color, angles and measurement and shapes in ways they had never thought of before.

Sandy Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandy Gady (Renton, WA)

  • on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:35 PM

This is a very interesting article that details a middle school level bubble blowing activity. This inexpensive, hands-on lab introduces the nature of molecules, surface tension, light waves, and color in a fun and innovative way. This lab has multiple cross-curricular connections with math (volume, surface area of different shapes), language arts (writing a technical report), art (making pictures from the popping bubbles, architecture). The article includes a lab worksheet for students to fill out. The authors have included in-depth answers to the questions and include additional bubbleology background. This lab will be a great addition to any middle school science class and will help get students excited about science in an innovative and fun way.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:38 AM

This is a fantastic way to engage students to learn about math and science. Students will truly enjoy doing this bubble lab as they learn about the bubble solution and investigate the different shape that they can make. This lab will definitely engage students as they have fun while learning about math and science.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)


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