Thursday, February 18, 2016

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Bubble Rainbow Science & Dr. Seuss ABC's

Bubble Rainbow Science & Dr. Seuss's ABC's--B is for "Bubble!"

Bubbles have been a favorite topic here since my 3rd grader was a baby...and we have the stories to prove it!  We have made giant bubbles, bubbles inside pumpkins, edible bubbles inside apples, frozen bubbles, bubble spider webs, bubble paintings, and more.  We even lost a computer one time because someone left a bottle of bubble juice next to it, and someone else (clearly remaining anonymous!) knocked it over onto the computer!  We drained, dried, and did our best to save that computer, but in the end, it was a lost cause.  *sniffle*

But today, we're talking about something much more fun!  Today we're talking about making rainbows in our bubbles, and the science of how that happens!

Isn't that pretty?!

Bubbles and rainbows came together for us as I looked at the themes our older and younger kids will be working on during the next two weeks: Dr. Seuss and rainbows!  It just happens that our kids also go through phases of loving things (like bubbles) on a regular basis, and right now they are very much into bubbles.  So, of course we read Dr. Seuss's ABC's (where we learn that Barber, Baby, Bubbles, and Bumblebee all begin with "B")!  Finally, it seemed very natural to tie it everything together with a science activity they were thrilled about.

We began by blowing bubbles in old water bottles.

Kids love to blow bubbles, and giving them permission was like handing them another Christmas present.  They loved it.

Then we started looking for rainbows inside the bubbles.  They were all over!  It's easiest to find the rainbows near a bright window (but not in the direct sunlight) or outside (best on a super bright day in a well-lit shady spot).  If you don't have the "best" conditions, it works fine in the sun or even inside near a light.

So how do you make your own bubble rainbows?  It's super easy!  You just need these

Simple Supplies:

* water bottle
* liquid dishsoap
* water 
* straw

Easy How To:

1- Put 1 good squirt of dishsoap into your empty water bottle

2- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of water.

3- Stick a straw in and blow until you fill the bottle up with bubbles!

4- Carefully turn the bottle and look for bubbles!  These are easy to find!  We even had one "accident" where someone spilled their entire bottle's soapy water...but the bubbles stayed behind!  You could still find rainbows in them too!

What's Going On?

Bubble "skin" has three layers: soap, water, and soap.  Inside the skin is air.  The skin is the key to making rainbows.  When light hits a bubble, some of that light is reflected right back by the outside soap layer, but some of the light travels past that outside layer and hits the inside layer of soap.  Some of that light is also reflected back at you.  When the two reflections overlap, interesting things happen.  Sometimes the lights "add" together and look like one color while other times the lights "cancel" each other out and look like no color at all.  And because the lights overlap in different amounts, they create collections of different colors that look like rainbows!  The really cool thing is that since bubbles have moving water in them, they constantly change size, so the rainbows also change!  When the bubble has a thick layer of water, the color looks blueish.  When the bubble has a thin "skin," the color it reflects looks more magenta/violet.

I tried to catch the rainbow effect on a video for you. Towards the end, you can also see water (and color) streaming through the bubble rainbow!  If it doesn't load, you can see it here.  I hope you enjoy it, but even more...I hope you grab your kiddos and give it a try!

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Looking for rainbows in bubbles is fun for all ages!  Today, the Early Elementary Blogging Team is sharing rainbow themed learning activities you can do with elementary aged kiddos!  Check out all these great ideas:

And be sure to let me know if you find rainbows in your bubbles!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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