Maths 3D Shapes – Tensile Bubbles

Tensile Bubbles

http://babbledabbledo.com/science-engineering-kids-tensile-bubbles/

STEM Activities: Tensile Bubbles
Materials
Straight Straws like these
Chenille Stems AKA Pipe Cleaners
Bubble Solution- Homemade or Store Bought
Tall Tupperware container
Instructions
Pyramid (Tetrahedron) Bubble Wand
I recommend starting with a pyramid shape for your first geometric bubble wand.

bubble1

Step One – Cut your straws. First cut each straw in half, then cut in half again. You will get 4 straw sections from each straw.
Step Two – Thread a pipe cleaner through one straw and bend the end of the pipe cleaner to secure it at the end.
Step Three – Thread two more straws onto the pipe cleaner.
Step Four – Bend the long end of the pipe cleaner back to meet the starting point and twist the two ends around each other.
Step Five – Add two more straw sections onto the end of the pipe cleaner.*
Step Six – Thread the pipe cleaner through one of the adjacent straw sections.
Step Seven – Add one more straw section and bend it back to one of the straw joints to form a pyramid.
Step Eight – Thread the pipe cleaner through an adjacent straw section to secure everything in place. If desired, add a straight section of straw onto the end of the pipe cleaner to form a handle.
*Add additional pipe cleaners as necessary and twist the ends together to secure.

bubbles2

Step One – Cut your straws. First cut each straw in half, then cut in half again. You will get 4 straw sections from each straw.
Step Two – Thread a pipe cleaner through one straw and bend the end of the pipe cleaner to secure it at the end.
Step Three – Thread three more straws onto the pipe cleaner.
Step Four – Bend the long end of the pipe cleaner back to meet the starting point and twist the two ends of the pipe cleaner around each other. You will now have a square shape.
Step Five – Add three more straw sections onto the end of the long pipe cleaner.*
Step Six – Thread the pipe cleaner through one of the adjacent straw sections.
Step Seven – Add two more straw sections.
Step Eight – Bend the shape to form two sides of a cube and thread the end of the pipe cleaner through one of the straw sections on the edge of the cube.
Step Nine – Repeat Step Eight to form another side to the cube.
Step Ten – Add one final straw section to complete the cube. Thread the pipe cleaner through an adjacent straw section to secure the final shape. If desired, add a straight section of straw onto the end of the pipe cleaner to form a handle.
* Add additional pipe cleaners as necessary and twist the ends together to secure.

Make the Bubbles
To make your tensile bubbles have a tall container full of bubble solution. You can use homemade solution or store bought, we tried both and each worked well. Carefully dip your wand into the solution; some frothy bubbles will form on the top of the solution as the straws are submerged. You can scoop them away with a spoon. Now lift the wand out of the solution SLOWLY. You should see a multi-faceted bubble! If you don’t, dip the wand into the solution again until you get an inverted bubble shape.

bubble3

Tips
For the best bubbles you will want to avoid too much froth on the surface of the solution. Scoop away the bubbly froth that forms with a spoon as necessary.
This project can also be done without straws by simply bending pipe cleaners into 3D shapes. This will help avoid the bubbles that form on the surface of the solution when the wand is submerged. I liked using the straws to help give rigidity to the shapes, however.
When making 3D shapes that have more than 4 sides try and make your wand as an extruded shape. We tried making a wand in the shape of a dodecahedron and it got complex quickly and was too large to dip into the bubble solution.
Make your own shapes! Explore what happens to your bubbles when you add more straw section onto your wand at the joints. Expand your wands with additional sections and check out the cool bubbles that form as a result.
Do this project outside or over a watertight surface. Plenty of bubble solution will drip off the wands.
Wind and even a slight breeze will blow these bubbles apart so do the project in a place with still air.

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