Sublimation Bubbles

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"Sublimation Bubbles" allows learners to explore how some solid materials, such as dry ice, can phase change directly from their solid to gaseous form. Participants use water to observe dry ice sublimating into gaseous carbon dioxide, and then capture the gas in soapy bubbles, which are safe to observe and play with. Activity includes a facilitation guide with potential misconceptions, Earth & space science infosheets with real-world connections, table sign, and activity & content training videos. All public-facing materials also available in Spanish.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Hot/cold insulated bag to store dry ice
  • Dry ice pellets
  • Pitcher of warm water
  • Bubble solution (dish soap, glycerin, water)
  • Tablespoon
  • Tongs
  • Heavy-duty gloves (to handle dry ice)
  • 2 8-ounce carafe-shaped containers
  • 3 trays (2 for carafes, 1 for bubble solution)
  • Felt strips for bubble solution
  • Rinse container
  • Microfiber cloths (or paper towels)
  • Splash safety goggles + cleaners
  • Marker and labels


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
      • Changes of Phase

Informal Categories

  • Science Festivals Activity


Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities