Soap Bubble Shapes

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Learners explore three-dimensional geometric frames including cubes and tetrahedrons, as they create bubble wands with pipe cleaners and drinking straws. Then they investigate how soap film flows into a state of minimum energy when they lift the wand up from the bubble solution. Learners also see how light reflection and interference create shimmering colors in the bubbles.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Plastic drinking straws
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Bubble solution (You can use a commercial solution like Wonder Bubbles™, or use the Exploratorium's recipe provided in materials section of activity.)


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Vision
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Solid Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Diffraction and Interference
    • Light and Optics
      • Electromagnetic Spectrum
      • Reflection and Refraction
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation
  • California Department of Education
  • NEC Foundation of America