Buoyant Bubbles

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What keeps bubbles and other things, like airplanes, floating or flying in the air? In this activity, learners blow bubbles and wave 3x5 cards above, below and on different sides of the bubbles to keep them afloat as long as possible. The Did You Know section explains the Bernoulli principle: how waving cards above the bubbles helps keep them afloat because faster moving air exerts less pressure to push the bubbles down. The activity can be extended by having learners wave their bubbles through an obstacle course they design themselves.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Tube 7”-11” long, 1”-2” in diameter (paper towel tube, PVC piping…)
  • Bubble solution in open container (size of a cottage cheese container)
  • 3 X 5 card
  • Bubble obstacle course (optional): hula hoop, wall mounted mini-basketball hoop, small trash can…


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
    • Motion and Forces
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids

Informal Categories

  • Games
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 2009