Bubbles: Using Controls

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In this experiment, learners use JOY liquid detergent and glycerin to make the largest bubble they can that lasts 15 seconds. They blow the bubbles in a Teaching Tank, a narrow tank that is commercially available, which allows them to easily measure and monitor the bubbles. Results are collected and graphed by learners. Questions and teaching notes are included to encourage learners to consider what the multiple variables are, and what the effects of sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners are on their bubbles. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Teaching Tank
  • Glycerin
  • Water
  • Plastic Cups (small)
  • Transparency Sheets
  • Water Soluble Markers
  • Tape
  • Centimeter Graph Paper
  • Flex Straws
  • Medicine Droppers
  • JOY Liquid Detergent
  • Graduated Cylinder


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Captivation, Inc., 2000