Cold Weather Science – Frozen Bubbles

By Blog Editor Susan Wells

Over the weekend, the girls and I took advantage of the Denver deep freeze to brave the cold and do a little science. We pulled out the summer bubble kit and experimented with what would happen to a bubble when it is 3 degrees outside.

We bundled up and headed outside. The plan was to use plain dish soap to blow the bubbles, but the dish soap we keep with our bubble blowers had frozen too. We quickly discovered that frozen dish soap is an experiment in its self. The water in the dish soap had frozen into crystals in and around the soap solution. As the dish soap defrosted, it became a snow globe. The frozen crystals slowly blobbed and moved around in the soap.

After our dish soap and bubble solution defrosted, we re-bundled up and went outside.

We tried blowing bubbles in the coldest part of the yard, where our bubbles were protected from wind. The bubbles blew all over the place and took off on the wind. We discovered the bubbles that didn’t make it far and landed on the deck, began to freeze. We blew more bubbles and caught them on the blowers. It took about a minute or so for the swirling solution to slow down and eventually stop. As the thin layer of bubble solution froze, it became like celofane. Very thin paper. The bubble didn’t pop when touched, but ripped instead.

Small holes opened up in the bubble skin as the remaining bubble waved in the air. Blow hard on the bubble, and pieces of it float everywhere.

This was really, really cool! The girls continued to blow bubbles and experiment on different surfaces to find the best places to freeze a bubble. We found the bubble wands were ideal, because you could really watch and observe what happened as it froze.

They also experimented with allowing the bubble solution in the wand to freeze. It looked like frozen water or frost on a windowpane.

Our bubble blowing didn’t last long in the sub-freezing temperatures. After about 10 minutes, we went back inside to warm up. The rest of the afternoon the girls commented about how fun the bubble adventure was and how much they wanted to do it again.

How to Blow Frozen Bubbles

  1. Go outside when the temperatures are below freezing 32 degrees F. The colder the better.
  2. Allow your bubble solution to cool before blowing bubbles.
  3. Find a place outside that is cold and protected from the wind.
  4. Blow a bubble and catch it on the bubble wand.
  5. Wait. The bubble won’t freeze immediately. Depending on the temperature outside, it may take a few seconds to a few minutes to freeze.
  6. When the bubble is frozen, touch it lightly and see what happens.
  7. Try making frozen bubbles in other places. What would happen if you carefully put a bubble in the freezer? Or blow it onto dry ice?


Density in Action: Can You Sink a Marshmallow?

By Loralee Leavitt, Candy Experiments

At the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC, children crowd around the Candy Experiments booth.  A volunteer asks if they’re ready to take the marshmallow challenge: “Can you sink a marshmallow?”

As Steve Spangler teaches in the lemon and lime sink-and-float experiment, an object sinks if it is more dense than water.  It floats if it is less dense than water.

When you drop a marshmallow in water, it floats like a balloon.  A marshmallow is full of air bubbles, which puff it out.  The sugar in the marshmallow gets spread out over a large area, making the marshmallow less dense than water.  So how do you make a marshmallow denser?  You have to make it smaller.

To try the marshmallow challenge, take a mini marshmallow and squash it.  You can do this by smashing it between your palms, rolling it between your fingers, or smashing it against a flat surface.  Try to roll it into a ball rather than flatten it into a pancake, because a pancake shape floats better than a ball.

When your marshmallow is as small as you can make it, drop it in water.  Does it sink?  If it does, you’ve made it denser than water.  You beat the marshmallow challenge!

If that was too easy, try a harder challenge: sinking a regular marshmallow.  Squash or roll it on a cornstarch-covered cutting board to keep it from getting too sticky. (Otherwise, you may have to scrape the marshmallow goo off your hands with a spoon.)  Then drop it in a water to see what happens.  You can also try this experiment with Peeps, 3 Musketeers, or other kinds of candy that float.



Loralee Leavitt destroys candy for the sake of science at Her new book, Candy Experiments, contains dozens of amazing experiments including creating giant gummi worms, turning M&Ms into comets, and growing candy crystals.  Candy Experiments is available at

Japanese Scientists and Discovery Channel Capture First Pictures of Giant Squid

The first images and video of a giant squid swimming in the ocean depths has been captured by a Japanese-led group of scientists, with support from the Japanese national broadcaster NHK and the Discovery Channel.

The squid was on the small side – only about 3 meters (10 feet) long. The largest ever found measured about 18 meters. The giant mollusk’s eyes are the size of a human head and it can weigh up to a ton.

Little is known about the giant squid, also believed to be the mythical Kraken in folk-lore stories. Researchers have searched for the real creature for years in hopes of learning more about the species. Giant squid have been found washed ashore but never fully observed in the ocean. No one has caught the beast on film in its natural habitat like this.

This cephalopod was found near the Ogasawara Islands, south of Tokyo.

Giant squid are very elusive, solitary and shy animals.

The crew spent hours in a small submersible that used lights invisible to both human and squid eyes. At 630 meters, they lured giant squid using small squid as bait. After about 100 dives, the giant squid appeared. The sub followed it down to 900 meters (3,000 feet).

The footage will be aired for the first time in the Discovery Channel’s “Monster Squid: The Giant is Real.” The program premieres on Discovery at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 27th.



Inside Winter Wonderland – A Christmas Village Covered in Insta-Snow

Becky I. from California shared pictures of her Christmas village with us. She uses Insta-Snow and sprinkles it all over her Christmas village. Insta-Snow fluffs and feels like real snow. It is perfect for creating an indoor winter wonderland. The snow sticks on trees and bushes and lightly covers sidewalks and buildings.

Just hydrate some Insta-Snow and spread it all around your village. You may want to use gloves or avoid touching the snow. Dirt and oil from hands can transfer to the snow and make it look dingy and dirty after a few days. The snow will start to dry out. Just spritz it with a water bottle every few days to keep it fresh and looking great.

Thank a Teacher Day – December 17, 2012

As the horrific events of Friday, December 14th unfolded, we all felt helpless and angry. Angry that someone would walk into a school and take the lives of children and the educators who not only taught them but protected them to the end.

As we all look for ways to do something in the shadows of this tragedy, there is something immediate and easy that we all can do.

Thank a Teacher Day 2012, created in loving memory of those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT, and in honor of the hundreds of thousands of teachers who would do that tomorrow for your child.

How often do you show your appreciation to your child’s teachers? Today, bloggers and those in the media are participating in Thank a Teacher Day 2012. Our teachers spend at least six hours a day with our children. They not only work tirelessly to give them an education, but also provide comfort, support, a listening ear, hugs and safety.

On Monday, December 17, 2012, take a moment and thank a teacher. Send her an email, a card, a bouquet of flowers. Create a “thank you” bulletin board. Offer to help from home. Make time to volunteer in the classroom.

Take a few minutes in your day and connect with your favorite teacher, or your child’s teacher. It’s simple; just tell him or her “thank you.”

If you can’t do it today, make sure you do something this week. Teachers truly dedicate every aspect of their lives to give to their students. It is time we give back to them.

If you are a blogger, please share this message on your blog or website. The original image and post are found here – Julieverse Thank a Teacher Day. You can also tweet at #ThankaTeacher. Or share in your Facebook groups, with friends and family to spread the message of hope and thankfulness.

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