25 Jun STEM Challenge Week 13
This week we are doing some chemistry to test the shape of bubbles! Let’s make a hypothesis: do you think making bubble wands of different shapes will create different shaped bubbles? Let’s find out!
Visit our blog every Thursday to see our latest STEM challenge and share your creations on Facebook using #CMMSSTEMChallenge or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to submit your photos to us by Monday, June 29!
Chemistry for Kids:
What is chemistry? Chemistry is all about the way different materials are put together, and how they are made up including atoms and molecules. It’s also how these materials act under different conditions.
You will need:
- Pipe cleaners, straws, or anything bendable you can make into a bubble wand!
- Bubble solution (store-bought or homemade, recipe below)
- Shallow Pan
Homemade bubble solution:
- 1/4 cup of Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 cup of Dawn Dish Soap
- 1 ½ cups of water
Mix your ingredients together in a jar or plastic container and you are ready to use.
- Use your pipe cleaners to form different shapes. Try a circle, square, heart, or star, whatever shape you want!
- Test each wand that you created. What shape is the bubble that comes out for each wand? See the “Can bubbles be different shapes?” section below to understand your results.
- Send us a photo of you blowing your bubbles to email@example.com by Monday, June 29.
Can bubbles be different shapes?
Did you find that your bubbles always ended up being blown into a sphere shape? Why is that? It’s all due to surface tension.
A bubble is formed when air gets trapped inside the bubble solution. The air tries to push its way out of the bubble, but the liquid in the bubble solution wants to have the least amount of surface area, due to the clinging properties of liquid molecules.
Water molecules prefer bonding with other water molecules, which is why water gathers in drops instead of just spreading out.
A sphere is the least amount of surface area for the volume of what is contained inside the sphere (in this case, air). So you’ll find that bubbles will always form circles no matter the shape of the bubble wand.
Idea and photos adapted from: Little Bins for Little Hands