This sample lesson is one example of how you can implement the practice of Investigating Science through Inquiry. In this activity, students explore soap bubbles, what makes good bubble-blowers, and the properties of bubble-making substances. Students pose questions and conduct investigations to find answers.

Learning Goals:

  • Understand scientific inquiry through questioning, predicting, observing, recording and interpreting data, and communicating results
  • Use science and math tools—rulers, tape measurers, graduated cylinders—to measure and collect data
  • Develop group work skills such as working together and listening to others

Safety Considerations:

  • Students should wear safety goggles to protect their eyes.
  • Students should wear smocks, oversized T-shirts, or aprons to protect their clothing.
  • If solution gets in a student’s eyes, instructors should wash the student’s eyes with clear water.
  • Instructors should have a bottle of vinegar and a mop or towel handy to clean up any spills on the floor. Newspapers can also be used for clean-up.
  • After the investigations, students should wash their hands to remove any soap solution.

Explore bubbles in small groups with following activities:

Getting Started: Engage (5 min.) 

  • Ask students where they have seen or blown bubbles, and if they have ever used anything unusual to create a bubble.
  • Record students’ answers on the KWL chart, may print this sheet or just make one on board and revisit at close of lesson.
  • * Alternative – Bubble Brainstorm, record on board or have them record all student responses, anything pertaining to bubbles.

Activity 1: (design your own bubble wand, guess what shape it will make before blowing) (10 min.) 

  1. Pour soap solution into pie pans. (prepared by teacher, instructions attached)
  2. Have students bend and shape their coat hangers into squares, stars, or circles, but keep the shape small enough to fit into a pie pan.
  3. Have students guess the shape their bubble will form.
  4. Put the homemade wands into the soap solution slowly draw the wand through the air.
  5. Complete observation sheet for this activity 

Activity 2: (using store bought wands) (10 min.) 

  1. Using the wands that usually come in soap solution:
  2. Can anyone blow a bubble inside a bubble (Use the coffee stirrer)
  3. Complete observation sheet for this activity

Activity 3: (10 min.) 

  1. Put the soda in the shallow pan in the aquarium.
  2. Add the vinegar.
  3. Slowly blow a bubble where it goes across the top of the aquarium and sinks onto the cloud of CO2.
  4. Complete observation sheet for this activity

Activity 4

Activity 5

Activity 6

Life Size bubble Demonstration with all the classes (20 minutes)

After students complete Activity 4, 5, and 6 on Student observation sheet. Other activities listed below if needed. Complete KWL that was started at the beginning of class and continued discussion or test student ideas if possible. (10 min.p/act.) (Directions attached if desired)

Shape # of sides Volume Surface Area
Tetrahedron 4 1 cubic inch 7.21 square inches
Cube 6 1 cubic inch 6 square inches
Octahedron 8 1 cubic inch 5.72 square inches
Dodecahedron 12 1 cubic inch 5.32 square inches
Icosahedron 20 1 cubic inch 5.15 square inches
Sphere Infinite 1 cubic inch 4.84 square inches



For Activity 1, go into details of different types of shapes, table of shapes included.

For Activity 4, may brainstorm as class, maybe teacher throw out random suggestions such as how they could change solution (more water, less, soap, different type of soap)

For Activity 5 (Bubble Reflection) 

Guidance for Bubble Reflection if needed:

Think about how you made the bubble solution and blew bubbles. What did you learn about bubbles? How would you describe them? What can you do with bubbles? Are there patterns of things that you can do with bubbles? Do all bubbles act the same way? You are learning about soap film, light, measuring circles, doing experiments, building scientific models, posing a question and then checking it out. What else did you learn?

For Activity 6, the extension activity at the bottom could be performed as a demonstration to show one way that they may not come up with. (Bubble Footprint)

Life Size Bubble, volunteers for this demonstration, share what it was like being in a bubble.

Additional Activities if needed:

  • Try to make an “OK” sign with your thumb and pointer finger. Dip this circle made with your fingers into the bubble solution. Pull out and gently try to blow through the middle. Can you make bubbles?
    • Experiment with blowing slow, medium and fast. What happens?
  • Interlock straws in different geometric designs with tape and try blowing bubbles of different shapes, run some string through a few straws or pieces of straws to make a circle, oval or even a square frame and try blowing bubbles through those geometrically designed objects!
  • Measuring bubbles/ Math Connection ( Discuss and Find diameter, circumference, and height of a bubble)
    • Cut pieces of string about 10 and 18 inches long.
    • Blow a pretty big bubble and rest it on the table. Leave it alone until it pops.
    • Look at the ring that it left on the table.
    • The diameter of a bubble is one way of measuring how big they are. The diameter is the distance straight through the very middle of a bubble.
    • Using the piece of string, measure the diameter of the bubble you blew. Lay the string straight through the middle. Mark with a pencil the end. Take the string and line it up against a ruler or outstretched tape measure to see what the diameter is.
    • Use the longer string and measure whatl the circumference of the circle or bubble print. This is the measurement of the line all around the outside of the circle or bubble. Mark the end point of the circumference and lay the string down next to the tape measure to see what the circumference is of your bubble circle and print.
    • When a bubble is resting on the table, you can use string to measure how high the bubble is, too. Or you can use your hand and note where the top of the bubble is on your hand and then use the tape measure to see how tall it was.
    • You can do lots of things with measuring bubbles. Get some paper and with some help you can chart different kinds of bubbles blown with different objects (short and long straws, canning jar rings) to see how big and how little your bubbles can be.
    • Finding Averages, Charting, and Graphing recommended.

Bubble solution for activity 1: 

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1 cup DAWN dish washing detergent
  • 1 tablespoon glycerin ( pharmacy or science catalog )
  • Mix. Let sit overnight for SUPER BUBBLE.

Life Size Bubble Procedure and Materials 

  1. If you have a small wading pool, you can make a bubble solution of 8 gallons of water, 8 cups of liquid dish soap, and 1 cup of glycerin.
  2. Use different sizes of Hula Hoops to make big bubbles. Can you stand in the middle of a big bubble? Try layering big bubbles on top of each other.
  3. Use a tape measure and figure out the print left on a sidewalk from a big bubble- what is the circumference, diameter and height?
  4. Try making bubble windows from pieces of tubing and cotton clothes line. You can string the clothes line through the middle of piece of plastic tubing and make squares, triangles, etc. With someone else to help you, dip these big window frames into the pool of bubble solution and carefully lift up and let some wind pass through- or you may need to walk quickly to get air to pass through and “blow” a bubble. How big of a bubble can you make?
  5. Put a concrete block or couple of bricks in the middle of the swimming pool. Let someone stand in the middle on the block or brick. A couple of people can lower a hoola hoop down over the person into the bubble solution. Carefully bring the hoola hoop up- let the person in the middle share what it is like being in the middle and looking out of a bubble!


Reading and Writing Connection 

If you have extra time. Read the poem “Blowing Soap Bubbles” by Gerard Manley Hopkins and ask students to write and illustrate their own bubble poem. You may want to research and study how liquid detergent is made, test several more liquid detergents, or vary the amount of glycerin used in one brand of detergent to see if that variable makes a difference in the size of the bubbles. Create a bar graph to record the average class data.


Math Connection 

Ask students to create large bubbles by spreading a thin layer of bubble solution about the size of a large pizza over a flat surface. Next, students blow a bubble by wetting a straw and gently blowing just above the surface of the wet area. After the bubble pops, students measure the diameter of the bubble “footprint” to the nearest 0.1 cm using a clear ruler or a tape measure. Students should record their answers in their learning logs.

After all students have an opportunity to blow three bubbles each with one solution, they clean up their area and rotate to another table with a different solution. They will need about 15 minutes per solution.

Additional Resources:

Link to Data Table:

Class data sheet:

Sample Data sheet:

Create a Graph Link to make graphs online and print

*Organized and Collected by J.Pinn (sources below)