First published online on 2004 December 31.
Canville Communications: Article
Now. Tommie, what will you do while I write letters this morning?
Blow soap bubbles, Mamma, please, and Tommie jumped up and down,
clapping his hands for pleasure.
Well, run and get me your pipe and bowl and I will mix you some
The soap-suds were soon ready, and Tommie took his favorite position
on the broad window-sill with the bowl in his lap.
Mamma, writing in the next room, could hear the Ohs and squeals
of delight, as the bubbles grew larger and rounder.
Why is Tommie in all the bubbles? asked the little boy at last.
Because, said Mamma, the bubbles are like a mirror, and when
my little boy is near enough to look at them, he will be reflected
in them, just the same as when he looks in Mammas long mirror.
But the mirror doesnt break like the bubbles, said Tommie.
Where do they go when they break, Mamma?
They evaporate, dear; that is a big word for my little boy. Spell
it after Mamma and then perhaps you will remember. E-v-a-p-o-r-a-t-e
What does evaporate mean, asked Tommie bringing out the long
word with a jerk.
Do you remember, dear, answered Mamma, that early in the morning
when the grass is all wet with dew, my little boy cannot run in
it without his rubbers? But before long it is all dry and then
my little boy takes off his rubbers and does not get his feet
wet. The sun and the air absorb or suck up the water and carry
it off to their homes. Now, the bubbles are made of a little water
and a little air. The water is on the end of the pipe, and Tommie
blows the air into the pipe, and the bubble grows big and round.
When it breaks, the air sucks up the water, which was the outside
of the bubble, and the air which was inside mixes with the air
in the room.
Now do you suppose you can tell Papa all about it, when he comes
home to dinner? asked Mamma.
Of course I can, said Tommie, proudly. Havent you just told
me all about it?
Though you can buy bubble solution at a store, its more fun to
make your own, as Tommies mother did! Then have fun performing
a bubble experiment. First ask your mother or another adult to
supervise you and to open the can for you. Please be sure to ask an adult to open the can for you.
What you will need:
- 8 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid
- 1 quart water
- 1 drinking straw
- A shallow tray
- 1 aluminum can (such as a small can of soup) that an adult cut
open at both ends
- A journal for writing down your results
What to do:
1. Mix the dishwashing liquid with the water. Fill the shallow
2. Blow through your straw and move the straw slowly across the
surface of the solution. How big are the bubbles you get?
3. Do you want to make a really big bubble? Then try this. Dip
one end of the straw into the sudsy solution. Hold the straw slightly
above the surface of the solution. Blow into it very gently. Keep
trying this until you make a really big bubble.
4. Wet your finger. Now touch the big bubble with it. What happens?
5. Make another big bubble. Make sure your finger is dry. Touch
the bubble with your dry finger. What happens?
6. Try making bubbles with an aluminum can that an adult opened
for you at both ends. Be careful when you touch the can so you
dont cut yourself. Dip the can into the soapy solution and then
pull it out. You should get a soap film that stretches across
one end. Blow gently on the other end, and you will form a bubble.
Want to make an even bigger bubble? Use something bigger such
as a coffee can.
7. Have fun making a lot of bubbles. Look closely at each bubble.
How many colors can you see? Do the colors change?
What happened: Bubbles are bits of air or gas trapped inside a liquid ball. The
surface of a bubble is very thin. Bubbles are fragile when a dry
object touches them. Thats because soap film tends to stick to
the dry object. This puts a strain on the bubble. If you want
your bubbles to last longer, keep everything wet, even the sides
of the straw.
(The above experiment is based upon information from the U.S.
Department of Education at http://www.ed.gov/pubs/parents/Science/bubbles.html )
This story contains the unabridged and unaltered text of and modified
illustration from Bubbles from Who Killed Cock-Robin and Other Stories, published in 1905 by Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
with additional new text by Anne Verville. Spanish translation
by Lyssette Rivera Cripps. Spanish translation and new material
Copyright 2004 by Canville Communications.
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