Skip to main content

How to Do a Science Experiment using Bubbles

Learn how to use bubbles to demonstrate how gases take up space with the instructions in this Howcast science project video.


Everything on earth is made up of matter. Now matter is made up of three states and it's not New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. I'm corny. But, three states, solids, and then you have liquids, and then you have gases. Now it's really easy to teach about a solid because you see you can hold the solid. Solids tend to keep their shape and the only way you can change the shape is by using the force. Think of an apple, if you bite into you can change its shape.

Then you have a liquid. Liquids flow, you can hold the liquid, and liquids will take the shape of whatever container you put it into.

Now think about air, think about gases. How hard is it for a teacher like me to teach a kid like you about something that you just can't see, right? It doesn't really have a shape, or a size, right? How do I tell you that it exists?

Well, what I like to do is to create a really, really cool solution that I kind of like to as "Bubble-ology". Your rule, everybody loves bubbles. If you're in the bathtub and I love to take bubble baths, that's why my skin is so smooth. But, think about it, you play with bubbles in the bath, right? Or if you fart in the bath you make a giant fart bubble. That's not that bad until the fart hits the top of the water and then it smells. That's a little disgusting. But you don't want to do those types of bubbles. But, right now, all I'm going to need is water, and then you're going to have use some of your parent’s dishwashing soap, okay? Keep it a secret. But it has to be dishwashing soap. Not shampoo, not body wash, dishwashing soap. And I'm going to show you what I'm going to do.

First, cup. I love, you see science and math go hand and hand, okay? I'm going to measure four cups of water. So you guys can count with me. One cup, two cups, that's three cups, and that is my fourth cup. And I'm going to use half a cup of dishwashing soap. Just like this. I apologize, it does look like someone's going to the bathroom, a little gross. And I'm going to pour this into my container, just like that. And I created a mixture. A soapy water mixture.

Now, I have a cool little secret for you guys, okay? If you do not have my next chemical, you do not need to use it. But, when you go to the store, to the toy store, and buy that special bubble solution, the reason why those bubbles do not pop as fast is because they're using a special ingredient that you can get at any pharmacy. It's not that expensive. It's called glycerin. Glycerin will cause your bubble not to evaporate.

You see? Bubbles are made out of water. When the sun heats up the water think about if you have a spill on the floor, right? The spill is there. You go out to play. You come back. Is the water still on that floor? No it's not. What happened to it? It evaporated. It turned into a gas that's all around you.

Well, by adding glycerin it causes the bubble, see bubbles have skin, their skin is not like our skin, it's extremely elastic. It can stretch and stretch and stretch. I can take the smallest bubble, I can turn it into a bubble the size of this room. Bubbles have amazing properties.

But now, by me adding this glycerin it causes my bubble not to evaporate as fast. Remember, evaporate is when liquids turn into gases, okay?

So, I'm going to put one teaspoon of glycerin and again you don't need to do this, it'll still work without it. So you don't have to be upset. You all have dishwashing soap because hopefully you wash your dishes. And you all have water. This will just cause it not to evaporate as fast. And I'm just going to put four of these in. And then I'm going to stir it around. And now I have created an amazing bubble solution.

Now some of you are going to say to me ‛Carmelo, what does this have to do with how we started? You started talking about matter.’ And I told you that matter takes up space. And I said that there were three states of matter, right? Solids, liquids, and gases. And I then said how hard is it to show you that gases take up space?

Well, I can show you now. Check this out. All I need now is a straw. Now some of you are going to be like, ‛oh man, this is boring. The dude's going to blow bubbles in the air. I've been blowing bubbles since I'm two.’

But wait, we're going to do this with a twist. Take your straw. First I do need to show you something because if you dip the straw in and you take the straw out and you blow hard, you kill the bubble already. It didn't have a chance to become a bubble. The bubbles dead. You want to blow slow. Now, you have a force of air. Your lungs are your source of your air. So when you dip your straw in and you take your straw out, it sounds like the Hokey Pokey. Dip your straw in and you take your straw out and you do, no, all right.

Dip it in. Take it out and blow slow.

And it pops. Actually, it evaporated. Did you see the more air I put the bubble got bigger. This is proof that air and gas does take up space. But how about this? I said we're going to do it with a twist. Bubbles have an enemy. It hates things that are dry. If a bubble touches something dry, the bubble will go bye-bye. But if you wet anything, you can make a bubble on anything because bubbles love things that are wet and they won't be upset. But remember if it touches something dry it will go bye-bye.

If you don't believe me, check this out. See my table? It’s dry. Everybody blows bubbles into the air. You could blow a bubble on anything. But if you blow it, it popped, right? The tables dry, bubble goes bye-bye.

But watch this. If I wet the table. Little spray. I'm going to wet the surface of the table. The more the tables wet, the bigger I can get my bubble. But the moment that bubble touches a dry spot on that table, that bubble will pop.

Now believe it or not, I can make a bubble the size of this entire table. I just need to put more what? Gas. The more gas, the more space. I put gas, the more space. This is proof that gases take up space. It's just so cool how we can use bubbles in water to illustrate that air takes up space.

Dip your straw in, take your straw out, and now observe the master. Check this out.

I'm going to keep blowing until it pops.

Look at that. Think about how small the bubble skin was inside the straw. It evaporated. Now once it evaporates, you know what’s cool? It leaves a perfect circle on your table. Take a ruler and you can do like a bubble Olympics. Challenge yourself or challenge your friends. Measure the diameter of your bubble. And you can be like, 'Wow. That was eight inches.' Well now try to make it ten inches. And you want to see something even cooler? Check this out.

What happens if you touch a bubble? The bubbles going to pop, right? Watch this. Make a bubble, now if I touch it with the dry part of the straw that's not wet, bubble pops. But I could actually cut a bubble with a knife or with a straw or with a scissor, as long as it's wet. Check this out.

Make a bubble, wet my straw. Sha, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing. Doing, doing, doing, doing, doing. Look. I can cut it. The bubble doesn't pop. But the minute you touch it with something dry, bubble pops. Saw that?

And want to see something even cooler? I'm able to put my straw in the bubble.

See this is all about what science is. It's about asking questions. Ask a question and then you make a prediction and then you test your predication to see what happens.

Well if I'm able to put my straw in a bubble, what happens if I blow another bubble in a bubble? That's the question. Now my prediction is, maybe the bubble will get bigger. Now I'm going to test it. That's the process. I'm going to do it now.

So let's see. I'm going to make a bubble.

Now I'm going to make a bubble or see what happens if I dip this back in my solution, what happens if I blow another bubble in a bubble? I just made a bubble inside of a bubble. Could I make a bubble in a bubble in a bubble? And blow. Can I make a bubble in a bubble in a bubble in a bubble? Oh my gosh.
Now you can ask another question. What happens if I touch the outside bubble? Make a prediction, test it. Pop, pop, pop. Look at the baby bubble.

Wait, do you think I could pick up that bubble if my hands are dry? Probably not. What if my hands wet? Could I pick up a bubble? I got him. Think about how much fun you can have. We can prove that air takes up space and just have so much fun using nothing but soap and water.

And that's my Bubble-ology experiment.

Popular Categories