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Bubble Trouble

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    American Chemical Society

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Bubble Trouble

In this activity on page 15 of the PDF, learners measure the amount of bubbles that they make using a detergent. Learners investigate whether adding Epsom salt to the solution affects its "sudsiness"--an important attribute of soap, since sudsy bubbles help soap clean greasy dirt. Use this activity to explore how chemicals can change a material's properties and how substances dissolve.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 3 disposable, clear plastic bottles with caps (20-ounce soda bottles work well; the bottles should be the same size and shape)
  • Ruler
  • Permanent marker
  • Distilled water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Epsom salt
  • Clock or timer with second hand


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Department of Volunteer Support, American Chemical Society


  • All Rights Reserved, American Chemical Society, ©2011


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