Square Bubbles

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Is a bubble always round?


The "How To" From Science-U

You Will Need:

  • 1/4 cup Liquid Dish Soap
  • 4 cups Water
  • Bucket
  • Pipe cleaners or bendable wire or drinking straws and clay
  • Straw or pipette tip
  • 2 Tablespoons Glycerin (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix the dish soap (and glycerin) with water
  2. Construct a cube using pipe cleaners (or wire or straws and clay).  null
  3. Dip the cube in the detergent and pull it out
  4. If a square bubble does not instantly appear, dip your straw end in the solution, insert into the center of the cube and gently blow a bubble within the cube.
  5. Try making different bubble wands and experiment with them!!!

For educators and parents - How to guide young learners in science:

  • Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a teaching approach that is fundamental for the development of higher order thinking skills (summarizing, analyzing, evaluating, creating). It puts the student in the driver's seat and promotes learning through engaging student-based investigations, following the same process used by scientists.
  • IBL begins by posing a question, problem, or scenario rather than simply presenting facts or a standard method to solve a problem. The learner is actively engaged and investigates concepts to reach authentic meaning.
  • The IBL process can vary, however the basics are as follows:

1. The student creates a testable question of their own.

2. The student obtains supporting evidence to answer the question by making observations, doing research, collecting data through an experiment, changing variables from a previous experiment, etc.

3. The student explains the evidence collected.

4. The student creates a claim (explanation) and justifies it using evidence form the investigation.

5. The student creates predictions for future investigations.

  • Recording information during the IBL process is also important to promote science literacy. The following chart is a helpful tool to guide students through the process.

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Questions to ask:

  • Into what shape can you blow bubble gum? Soap and water?
  • Can balloons be different shapes? Why?
  • What shape are the end of the sticks you use to blow bubbles? What if they were different shapes?
  • What if you made a pyramid wand? What shape would the bubble inside be?
  • What if your wand was twice the size as the one you made? Could you still make a square bubble inside?

The science behind it:

  • A free flying bubble, no matter what shape wand it was made with, will always be round.  This is because when you blow a bubble, the soap solution stretches as the air flows into it, and the air pushes equally on all sides of the bubble.  This creates a perfectly spherical bubble with equal pressure on all sides.
  • However, when you use the 3D cube wand to make a bubble, there are bubbles on all 6 sides and these "side" bubbles push against the "center" bubble, squishing and squashing until it has corners and sides—like a cube!

Resources:

  • Teaching Great Lakes Science (http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/lessons/teacher-tools/guided-inquiry-process/)
  • Educational Innovations blog (http://blog.teachersource.com/2010/11/12/bubble-basics/)
  • Steve Spangler Science - Square bubble kit (http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/store/amazing-square-bubble.html)

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