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...but they all come out round!
Science content
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-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

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 taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2
Gr 3
Gr 5
Teaching site
CAGIS (Canadian Association for Girls in Science)
Gordon Elementary Science Club
After School Programs at Elementary schools in New York City