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Activity

Bubble shapes with pipecleaners

Summary: 
Students make different shapes on the end of their pipecleaner (heart, square...) to try and make different shaped bubbles.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Physical Science: Properties of Objects and Materials (grade K)
Physical Science: Properties of Matter (grade 2)
Physical Science: Materials and Structures (grade 3)
Physical Science: Chemistry (grade 7)
Lessons activity is in: 
Materials: 
  • Two pipecleaners per student
  • Bubble mix
  • Plate per student or tray for a pair
  • Straw per student
  • Pipecleaner/straw frame in a cube to blow square bubbles in
Procedure: 

A. New York After School Programs
Make different shapes with pipecleaner and dip in soap to make different geometric bubble shapes within the pipecleaner.

B. Gordon Elementary Science Club
Are bubbles always round? What happens if you make another shape with your pipecleaner? Make two shapes. (Optional: add straw for handle.)
Blow and watch others in your group - look for bubbles that are not round. Let me know if you see one.

Why are bubble always round? Show structure of a bubble (layer of water molecules trapped between two layers of soap molecules). The soap molecules can move around, so can the water molecules - they are elastic. They move until find most stable shape: for one bubble this is a sphere.

Notes: 

For winter 2011 science club (grades 1 and 2) we did this inside. Students sat around the perimeter of a large blanket and blew their bubbles into the centre of the blanket.

Grades tested: 
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 5
Teacher: 
Ingrid
Teaching site: 
CAGIS (Canadian Association for Girls in Science)
General Gordon Elementary Science Club
After School Program at Elementary schools in New York City