Bubble blowing is not just child’s play. It is a bona fide learning opportunity for Great Bend Middle School students.
“Any opportunity to perform ‘real’ science is always well received by middle schoolers,” said Brandy Proffitt, seventh-grade science teacher. “Especially if it includes making a mess!”
Proffitt said the “bubble-ology” lab introduced the process of scientific inquiry to her students. The lesson is part of the new science curriculum from McGraw Hill.
“Any time we can use hands-on learning to engage kids in the concept being taught helps students to learn,” said David Reiser, GBMS principal. “This lab was a great way to teach the scientific process while making it fun and interesting for the students.”
“The goal was to conduct an experiment that would test the tensile strength of three different brands of dish soap – essentially which one could create the largest bubble,” she said.
“As a whole, the students hypothesized that a more expensive product would result in a larger bubble,” Proffitt explained. “They calculated the value per ounce of the three brands and each group predicted that a Dawn bubble would hold the most air.
“Even though our experiment itself did not yield usable data, I still feel it was very successful,” she said. “When we evaluated our results, we found that our data was extremely varied.
“We were able to find small discrepancies in how each group performed the experiment, opening the door to an excellent discussion about how and why we control the parts of an experiment and why our process needs to be repeatable,” she said.
Students were able to tie in the mathematical principles of averages and outliers as they evaluated the data each group collected.
“The kids had a lot of fun with this experiment and they showed great interpersonal skills as they worked with their teams,” Proffitt said.
She noted that the students would like to repeat the experiment with a closer eye to detail and that she may give them the opportunity.