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Camp Yellow Scope: Better Bubbles

Soap Bubbles | Camp Yellow Scope


Howdy Campers!

Welcome back to Week 8 of Camp Yellow Scope! It's our last week - it went fast, didn't it?  We hope you had fun experimenting and learned some interesting science facts! Maybe you even designed your own experiments? 

Click here to download printable instructions. You can also print out a lab worksheet to record your observations, jot down ideas, and design your own experiments! If you collect your worksheets together from all eight weeks, by the end of the summer you’ll have your very own Camp Yellow Scope notebook! You can even add some extra sheets for new experiments you design yourself. 

Experiment 1: Build a Better Bubble

When we think of summer, we think of blowing bubbles! They’re so easy to make and fun to play with, who would guess that there’s a really important science concept at work? This week’s experiment explores the concept of surface tension (remember that from Week 2?) And at the same time, you will learn some tricks to make your bubbles last longer!

All you need is some glycerin, corn syrup and dish soap, and we will teach you some tricks to make your bubbles last longer!

Let’s get started!

Clear some space on your kitchen counter or outside on your picnic table and get ready to science!


Which ingredient do you think will help you make stronger, long-lasting bubbles: glycerin or corn syrup? Write your hypotheses on your worksheet.


Supplies Camp Yellow Scope
  1. Place the 3 bowls on top of the 3 pieces of paper on flat surface, like the kitchen counter or picnic table.
  2. Label the papers:
    1. Dish Soap
    2. Dish Soap + Glycerin
    3. Dish Soap + Corn Syrup
  3. Add 1/2 cup of tap water to each bowl.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of dish soap to each bowl. Mix gently with spoon.
  5. To “glycerin” bowl, add 1 tablespoon of glycerin. Gently mix.
  6. To “corn syrup” bowl, add 1 tablespoon of corn syrup. Gently mix.
  7. Make a loop in each of the 3 pipe cleaners to make bubble wands. Try to make all 3 loops the same size.
  8. Start making bubbles by dipping the loops into the liquid and gently blowing.
  9. Start the timer once the bubble is formed. (If you have a Foundation Chemistry Kit, you can use the purple timer!)
  10. Record how long each bubble lasts.
  11. Repeat the experiment 3 times with each bubble solution. (It may take some practice to make really good bubbles consistently!)
  12. Calculate the average time a bubble lasts for each solution. Remember how we calculated averages when we counted drops on a penny in Week 2 of Camp Yellow Scope?
  13. NOTE: To control the strength of the air passing through the bubble, you can also try holding the loop in front of a fan, set on its lowest speed.






Run 1

Run 2

Run 3


Dish Soap





Dish Soap + Glycerin





Dish Soap + Corn Syrup






What did you see? How long did your bubbles last? Did glycerin or corn syrup help them to last longer?

What's Happening?

Bubble Camp Yellow Scope

On its own, water is not very good at making bubbles because the surface tension is too strong. (You learned all about surface tension in Week 2). When soap is added to water, the soap molecules push their way between the water molecules and lower the surface tension. When air is blown into the mixture, a round bubble forms. A bubble is just a “skin” made of soap and water surrounding a pocket of air.

Substances like glycerin and corn syrup help the bubbles to last longer by making them more stable. They also help prevent the evaporation of water.


Extensions soap bubbles | Camp Yellow Scope

Why does it matter?

Did you know that bubbles are not just for playing with!? Can you think of some real-life applications of bubbles?

  • Scientists are designing tiny bubbles that can carry and deliver drugs to specific regions of our body.
  • Pistol shrimp release bubbles to kill their prey!
  • Did you know that when bubbles burst they release a lot of energy? Scientists hope that we will be able to capture and use this energy in future.

You Own It! Test yourself: True or False?

  1. Dish soap increases the surface tension of water.
  2. You can make better bubbles with glycerin.
  3. Corn syrup and glycerin make the bubble unstable, causing it to burst.

Answer Key:

1. False. Dish soap decreases the surface tension of water.
2. True.
3. False. Corn syrup and glycerin make the bubble more stable.

Foam Camp Yellow Scope

Congratulations, Camper! You did it. Eight weeks of hands-on experiments at Camp Yellow Scope. Give yourself a pat on the back! We hope you had fun and learned some cool science facts along the way. 

For completing all eight weeks of camp, you earned a certificate! Print it out and hang it on your wall with pride.

If you didn't get a chance to try out all the experiments, don't worry - the experiments are staying put on the Yellow Scope blog page, so you can come back to check them out anytime!

Happy summer and happy experimenting!
Team Yellow Scope

Yellow Scope
Yellow Scope