Soapy Science: Bubble LabLearning
Soap bubbles are made of thin layers of soap and water that create a flexible membrane strong enough to be stretched around some air. All soap bubbles—even strong ones—pop when they touch oil or dirt or when the water evaporates. So how can you and your girl create bubbles that last long enough to bounce without popping? The secret is in the science.
Before you begin, set up your work space in a kitchen or outdoors, and protect your clothing from spills. Also, make sure your supplies are assembled and within your reach—but safely out of reach of young children and pets.
YOU WILL NEED
- 1 bowl
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon dish soap
- plastic pipette or bubble wand
- knit gloves
Pour the water and sugar into the bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the dish soap, and gently stir again until mixed.
Use scissors to cut off the wide end of the plastic pipette. Put on one glove. Dip the cut end of the pipette into the soap solution and remove. Blow on the thin end of the pipette, and a bubble will form on the cut end. Catch the bubble with your gloved hand.
Carefully bounce the bubble up and down. You should be able to bounce the bubble a few times before it finally pops.
Why doesn’t the bubble pop easily?
- As a bubble’s water evaporates, its membrane becomes more fragile. Adding sugar to the bubble solution can slow the water’s evaporation, so the bubble is stronger for longer.
- You can bounce these bubbles using a glove, but not your bare hand. That’s because the glove protects the bubble from your skin’s natural oils and any other particles that could make a bubble pop.
Adapted from American Girl magazine, © 2017, 2018 American Girl. All American Girl marks are trademarks of American Girl.