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Physical Science

Sinking bubbles

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Amy Casey Amy Casey 2360 Points

My family and I went to a fair at a community college. Some of the Science major students did mini demonstrates for the kids. When my kids and I passed by the booth. One of the students had a beaker full of dish soap. He had another container that contained dry ice and water. There was a rubber tube connected to the top of the containter. The student dipped the other end of a rubber tube into the dish soap. He told the kids to stick their hands out and he would let the bubble come out and it would form on their hands. The bubble would sink if he just let it form and be released. The kids just loved the mini demonstration. After watching the demonstration. I thought that I need to make my Science lessons a bit more fun and engaging. In school, what are some ways that you help make Science fun and engaging?

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

Amy, There is an interesting book that is free is PDF form from National Academies Press. It is entitled "Ready, Set, Science!: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms" by Sarah Michaels. The website to get it is I believe this book may give you some ideas about how to make science even more fun!!

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92296 Points

Hi Amy,
I did an advanced search plugging in the word fun for the keyword, clicking on e-journal articles for the type of learning resource, and filtering for elementary school for the grade level. Nearly 100 science resources popped up. One that sounded like you would be particularly interested in seeing is this one:
A Science Night of Fun.

I hope you will try the advanced search option. There are so many FUN ideas for teaching science in the Learning Center.

Theresa Smith Theresa Smith 3450 Points

When I went to the Maryland Science Center, I was really surprised by how interested the kids were in a "sinking and floating" activity. Kids of all different ages gathered around a cart with two containers of water, corks with hooks, and washers. They were very engaged and enthusiastically participated in mini, informal experiments attempting to make the biggest corks sink and the smallest corks float (using different size washers). They also found it a fun challenge to make the corks "flink" (just stand in the middle of the water, not exactly sunk but not totally afloat). I think something simple like this would be fun to do with younger children. It can also introduce them to some of the properties of experiments, like forming educated guesses and changing variables.

Alicia Mochizuki Alicia Mochizuki 1470 Points

Hi- I've done the will it float egg activity with first graders: They students loved it. They got to add the salt into the water using a teaspoon. We made predictions and then counting how many teaspoons of salt it needed to make it float. We also made observations about the color of the water as more salt was added. The other science activity (penny dropper) the first graders liked was the found on this website: I also found this website that has other science activities:

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

1. Here are some veteran but valuable demos listed on the Nebraska site: N.E.R.D.S. Nebraska Educators Really Doing Science Forty Demos to Make Science Come Alive They mention and you may want to check out the lovely demos described and shared by the 2. Exploratorium, the site to explore the museum offerings is: 3. This neat site focuses on the lower grades: Grade School Science Experiments Science Experiments for Grade School or Elementary School

Nancy Iaukea Nancy Iaukea 2710 Points

Amy, Here is a super easy experiment right along the same line as yours, but the kids actually get to "blow things up" (their very favorite thing to do. It's great fun and so easy.

David Hanke David Hanke 2395 Points

I try and bring as many hands on activities as I can with my Phy Sci class. One of their favorites is I have a bunch of wiffle balls and we go down to the gym and all the students try their hand at various pitches for baseball. The wiffle balls are a safe alternative and they produce easier results for the students.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Ah, Amy, thank you for your great post. AND it gets me thinking about bubble science and Bubblelogy all over again, from the GEMS book which is so applicable to elementary grades to the interesting lessons that may be crafted for high school science. Let's explore and chat more please. Thanks a bunch. ~patty

Sandy Gady Sandy Gady 43175 Points

Steve Spangler calls them “Boo Bubbles”. You can find videos at I have done this as a demonstration around Halloween with my middle school students. Since dry ice is involved, I generally create the bubbles, but place the bubbles on the students hands to handle. Steve’s website is full of wonderful videos and experiments to do with students that hold their attention for hours. These are also great for after school programs or Science nights.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Ah, dry ice is such fun and as you mentioned it can burn our hands and we need to take care when handling it. But what a fun site, Sandy. Thank you so much. After the bubbles, blow up a balloon and put it in the container of dry ice and watch it shrink and decrease in volume and then take it out with a pair of tongs and watch what happens. Ask the students to predict, observe and then explain. Fun! Thanks

Samantha Breeden Samantha Breeden 1380 Points

I like to do fun experiments that the kids themselves can do. One that I have done is let a few glass bottles freeze over night and till science time. Then I placed a quater on top to cover the mouth of the bottle. The children then hold the bottle. The heat from their hands warms the air molecules and as the hot hair rises it makes the coin jump or "dance." The loved it and had fun doing it over and over and its a cheep and fun way to put science in their hands.

Chris Leverington Chris Leverington 4035 Points

some kids in my chem class said they had seen a video on youtube where the teacher had put soap over the mouth of a flask that contained HCl and zinc. As the hydrogen gas was released it filled the bubble and eventually floated away...the teacher then ignited the bubble in a huge bang. Anyone ever seen this...or done it?

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Samantha, Thank you for sharing a neat idea. It is worth re-sharing. Do you use plastic soda bottles? I would be concerned about one accidentally breaking. What questions do the students ask as they observe what happens? How do you integrate this fun idea into your lesson? What is the main science content that you target? Thanks for sharing more! :} ~patty

Ryan Matsumoto Ryan Matsumoto 1060 Points

I love the dry-ice bubble demonstration. Its great fun and students love to play with the bubbles (no matter the age). There are a bunch of great physics demonstrations that you can find at: This is the same guy that makes guest appearnaces on the Ellen Degeneres show. You can sign up for a weekly email for a 'experiment of the week'. Of course, it will also send you advertisements to sell you stuff from the website, but I think its worth the hassle for the neat experiments ideas.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Ryan, Welcome to this thread of discussion and thank you so much for pointing out a really fun demo for density and buoyancy as well as pointing us to another resource. I have never met this gentleman so it will be interesting for me to visit the site and, like you, I regret that so many possible outside resources have commercial aspects attached to them. But hey, creative teachers like you know how to take the good stuff and run with it:} Thanks muchly, ~patty

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Samantha, What a great "What do you think is happening?" opportunity with the jumping quarters on the frozen bottles. Little warm hands can create neat things to observe with this contribution to the thread. Thank you for sharing. ~patty

Raeann Hackey Raeann Hackey 1020 Points

Along with the NSTA resource, honestly googling "how to make science fun" will give you such great insight. You will find articles upon articles on how to be successful in providing a fun learning enviroment for students.

Patricia Rourke Patricia Rourke 45925 Points

Hi Raeann, Have you found any items via your 'googling' that might be of interest to our community her? When you have a moment, please share your thoughts and peer reviews of memorable generic web sites with us. Often, we like to keep a library of information in our personal goodie bags for future reference and use. Thank you so much for sharing. We build along with each other:} (smile) Patty

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