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Soap and Water.

Background

Soap has a very interesting, but rather sketchy, history dating back to more than 4000 years ago. First invented by the early inhabitants of the Mediterranean area, soap was not originally used for washing or cleaning, but as a method for dressing hair and administering medicine to wounds. The first soaps were made from fats and oils rendered from animals and mixed with the caustic run-off water from fireplace ashes. The chemical interaction of fat and the sodium hydroxide leached from the ashes (also called Iye) created a harsh, but effective, brown soap.

Later, while soap was being used to clean clothes and ordinary household objects, it was not commonly used for bathing. Bathing was considered very unhealthy. People have only been using soap to wash themselves since the thirteenth century. Regular bathing did not become fashionable until about 150 years ago.

Cleopatra, whose beauty habits have been well publicized, rubbed herself with oil and then used a blade called a strigil to scrape her skin clean. She only soaked in water or milk for the beautifying effects it had on her skin, not for cleansing. In 1399, Britain's King Henry IV enacted the Order of the Baths, which required every nobleman to take a bath upon reaching the status of knighthood. This was a once-in-a-lifetime event, since most people never bathed! The first Queen Elizabeth's attendants boasted that their very modern queen bathed ever 3 months "whether she needeth it or not." Most queens of that era bathed only once in their lifetimes, before their wedding day!!!

How Soap is Made

Soaps are made from natural ingredients -- generally vegetable oils (like palm oil or olive oil) or animal fats, that are mixed with Iye. In the early days, Iye was obtained by the leaching of wood ashes with water, which produced a potassium Iye or caustic potash. Use of this type of Iye makes a soft soap. Hard soap, like bar soap, is made from sodium Iye or caustic sodium which uses electrolyzed salt. This is the same strong chemical Iye that you can buy to clear your drains.

Several legends surround soap. One story is that soap was first created by accident in a pagan mountain-top temple. In the temple, animals were sacrificed and burned over a wood fire. The wood ashes from the fire and the melted animal fats ran down the mountainside and into the brook which led to a village. The women of the village washed their clothes at the banks of this brook. They found that when the brook turned yellow with the altar runoff, their laundry became cleaner.

How Soap Works

Soaps are excellent for cleaning our bodies, because they loosen dirt without excessively drying our skin. Plus, soap is rinsed away immediately. Soaps do not work as well on cleaning clothes, because they often react to the minerals found in water that form scum. This allows both the dirt and scum to be re-deposited on clothes and makes fabrics feel stiff and look dingy.

Detergents work a little differently. They are made from synthetic (man-made) ingredients, primarily petroleum oil and a caustic agent like Iye. Detergents also usually combine other cleaning agents like enzymes, bleaches, and water softeners to prevent scum formation, remove stains, and make clothes rinse cleaner. Both soap and detergent are surfactants, which is short for "surface acting agents." These help make water "wetter" by further loosening the surface tension of the water.

Surface Tension

Water molecules are strongly attracted to each other by a small electrical charge. We call this surface tension. Most molecules are electrically balanced, so they carry no electrical charge. This is not true of water. Each end of a water molecule carries a slight electrical charge. These positive and negative charges are attracted to each other with enough strength to create a skin-like surface on water. This force is strong enough to keep a paper clip afloat on a dish of water. It is also what keeps water from overflowing in a glass that was filled a bit too much. It can also keep dirt from being rinsed away, because the tightly-bound water molecules leave no room for the dirt to enter and mix with them.

Soaps and their cousins, detergents, also have small electrical charges located at either end of their long chains of carbon and hydrogen molecules. When soaps or detergents are mixed with water, they break up the surface tension by positioning themselves with their "water-loving" (hydrophilic) ends facing towards the water molecules and their "water hating" (hydrophobic) ends sticking out. Fortunately for us, the "water-hating" ends are attracted to substances like oily dirt and grease, making them excellent cleaning agents. Soaps also loosen water's surface tension, making it easier for water molecules to spread apart and make room for the dirt to fit in between and get washed away. Soap surrounds oily dirt and keeps it from touching the water. This enables it to rinse down the drain easily.

More Soap History

It wasn't until the late 1700s that soap was produced commercially and sold by the pound. In the early 1800s, the British government, which still frowned upon bathing, levied steep taxes on soap-makers. Soapmaking pots were locked-up at night so that untaxed soap could not be produced after hours. Needless to say, commercial soap was very expensive to buy. If you used soap at home, you most likely made your own.

In colonial America, soapmaking was the job of the woman of the house. She saved up cooking grease and fireplace ashes all year long to make the next year's supply of soap. It was an arduous and difficult chore which took many days of hot, foul smelly outdoor work which consisted of boiling the fat and leaching the ashes to get Iye. The resulting soap was brown and harsh and used for all kinds of cleaning chores.

In the 1830's, the Colgate Company marketed the first individually wrapped soap, and in 1872 introduced the first scented soap. This began America's love-affair with cleanliness. Companies like Proctor & Gamble, Lever Brothers, and Palmolive all became household names.

It also began an advertising frenzy that continues on to this day. Early advertisers sold their soap by convincing buyers that their product could help obtain them great jobs, big promotions, perfect husbands or wives, and social success by eliminating the dreaded embarrassment of B.O. (body odor)! Popular continuing dramatic sagas, in serial format, were first produced for radio and later television. These shows, geared to the woman of the house, were routinely sponsored by soap companies leading to the name "soap operas."

Soap manufacturers now produce hundreds of different kinds of soaps for all different kinds of cleaning and bathing needs. Go into any supermarket or drug store and look at the huge variety of cleaning and bathing products available. Shampoo and hair care products for every type of hair can fill-up an aisle alone. We have varieties of soaps and detergents for our clothes, our dishes, our floors, our carpets, our kitchens, our bathrooms, our cars, and ourselves!

In our modern times, it is difficult to imagine a day without a bath or hands left uncleaned by soap products. Much of our good heath (and advances against bacteria and infections) are due to effective cleansing products and careful hand washing.

DID YOU KNOW??

Long ago soap was made from animal fat mixed with fireplace ashes. Today, soap is usually made from vegetable oils and a chemical called Iye.

Level Pre-A

Main Concepts: Soap and water work together to help make things cleaner. There are many kinds of soaps for different kinds of cleaning jobs.

Picture Activity

Ask, "What is WHY-FLY doing and why?" He is taking a bath to get nice and clean. Keeping ourselves clean helps us stay healthy by washing away dirt and sweat and germs. It makes us look and feel good, too. Ask what WHY-FLY is using to help get clean (soap, water, shampoo, bubble bath, a scrub brush, a wash cloth, etc.). Have them look at the 3 pictures on top, also. What kinds of soap are in these pictures? There is liquid hand soap in a pump, dishwashing liquid, and laundry detergent. There are lots of different soaps for all kinds of cleaning jobs. Ask what kinds of soap they have at home.

Vocabulary

Demonstrate how to write an "O" over the soap bubble "burst" in the first word. Go over all the words together soap, goat, boat, and coat. Tell them that all of these words have the "O" sound in them. Have them repeat the words emphasizing the "O" sound.

Weekly Lab

You need: shallow dishes or pans with at least 2 cm (about 3/4 in.) of Bubble Solution, straws dipped in Bubble Solution, small plastic toys (optional), newspaper or plastic to cover work areas. It is important to have your students first practice blowing "OUT" through their straws. Have them do this several times. (See the Bubble Solution Recipes and Hints for Successful Bubble Blowing on Page 3 of the Background.) You can also cut a small diamond-shaped hole in the top third of their straws (like a hole in a whistle). This will provide enough air backflow to prevent soap from being sucked up into the straw. Remind your students to blow slowly and gently to make their bubble creations. (If they have difficulty blowing gently, pinch their straws so less air can pass through them.) Let them experiment and have fun trying to create all these different bubble shapes. Allow enough time for them to explore and discover on their own. After they have developed their own blowing techniques, they will be able to make other shapes and place bubbles on top of bubbles. Be sure that the ends of their straws are dipped in bubble solution BEFORE they begin. They will soon discover that a dry straw or finger will pop their bubbles, but a wetted straw or finger can pass right through bubble walls. (For the Bubble House, they will be need a small plastic toy, which must also be dipped in bubble solution first.)

Weekly Problem

Answer: 10 plates - 2 plates = 8 plates.

Storytelling

Explain that soap and water together make bubbles that help get things clean. Ask what they think has happened at WHY-FLY'S house to make so many bubbles! Where did all those bubbles come from? Encourage creative and imaginative answers.

Challenge

You need: waxed paper, eye droppers or drinking straw pieces, water (and paper towels for clean-up). The surface tension between water molecules is what makes this activity so interesting. Tell them to listen carefully. Explain that water sometimes acts "sticky." Place several large drops of water on the waxed paper or have your students squeeze their own drops using eye droppers. Tell them to pretend that the waxed paper is a "park" and the water drops are their pet "water doggies." Explain that they are going to "take their dogs for a walk" by moving them around the park with the tip of their eye droppers or pieces of drinking straws (their "leashes"). Ask them to find out what happens when one "doggie" gets very close to another one. (The drops seem to jump together to make one larger drop -- or one big dog). Ask them to make one giant "puppy huddle" (or puddle) by walking all of the "dogs" (drops) to the same spot. Can they split this big puddle into little "doggies" again? Finally, you can have your students get a "dog catcher" (a paper towel) and lay it over the waxed paper "park" to catch all of the "water doggies."

Home Base

This activity can be done in class or at home. You need: peanut butter, bar soap, cool and warm water. (NOTE: If any of your students are allergic to peanuts, margarine or solid shortening can be used instead.) Have them rub peanut butter onto the palms of both hands. Ask them to first wash their hands in cool water ONLY. Then have them wash in warm water ONLY. How clean are their hands? Finally, have them use soap and warm water. (They may need to reapply the peanut butter each time they wash.) Which worked best?

Level A

Main Concepts: Soap and water work together to help make things cleaner. There are many kinds of soaps for different cleaning tasks. Soap helps loosen dirt, so it can rinse away with water.

Picture Activity

See TN Level Pre-A - PICTURE ACTIVITY.

Vocabulary

First go over the pictures together - boat, road, soap, goat, and coat. Then have them draw circles or "bubbles" around each of the little "bursts" to spell the words. Tell them that all of these "oa" words make the long sound of "O." Have them repeat the words emphasizing the "O" sound and then draw lines to match all the words and pictures. Ask them to think of some other long "O" words.

Weekly Lab

See TN Level Pre-A - WEEKLY LAB. As an extension, ask them to try and move their drops in other ways (e.g., blow on them, tilt and wiggle the waxed paper, etc.).

Weekly Problem

Answers: 10 plates - 2 plates = 8 plates, 10 cups - 4 cups = 6 cups. You may wish to provide small plates and cups and a box or wash basin as a visual demonstration while they work out the answers.

Writing for Science

Explain that soap and water together make bubbles that help get things clean. Ask what they think has happened at WHY-FLY'S house to make so many bubbles! Where did all those bubbles come from? Encourage creative and imaginative answers.

Challenge

See TN Level Pre-A - CHALLENGE. In addition, ask your students to touch one of the water drops with a toothpick dipped in liquid soap. The soap will cause the surface tension of the water to lessen and the drop will flatten out. They can call this trick "teaching their doggie to lie down."

Home Base

This activity can be done in class or at home. You need: peanut butter, bar soap, liquid soap, cool and warm water. (NOTE: If any of your students are allergic to peanuts, margarine or solid shortening can be substituted.) Have them rub a little peanut butter onto the palms of both hands. Ask them to first wash their hands in cool water ONLY. How clean are their hands? Now have them wash in warm water ONLY. How clean are they now? Finally, have them use bar soap and warm water, and then liquid soap and warm water. (They can use the liquid soap from school dispensers or the commercial type available in pump containers.) They may need to reapply the peanut butter each time they wash. Which worked best? Washing with soap and water is much better than washing with water alone. If this is done at home, have them write down which worked best and bring their results back to class.

Level B

Main Concepts: Water alone can't clean many kinds of dirt. Water molecules like to "stick" together, so there is no room for dirt to mix in with them. Soap helps make water "stretchy," so the dirt can mix in with the water and get rinsed down the drain.

Vocabulary

Go over the pictures - boat, road, soap, coat, goat, toast, and float. Then have them draw "bubbles" around each of the little "bursts." Tell them that all of these "oa" words make the long sound of "O." Have them repeat the words emphasizing the "O" sound and then draw lines to match all the words and pictures. Ask them to think of other long "O" words.

Weekly Lab

The surface tension between water molecules is what makes this lab so interesting. Explain that water sometimes acts "sticky." After squeezing their water drops onto the waxed paper, tell them to pretend that the waxed paper is a "park" and the water drops are their pet "water dogs." Explain that they are going to "take their dogs for a walk" by moving them around with the tip of their eye droppers or pieces of drinking straws (their "leashes"). Ask them to find out what happens when one "dog" gets very close to another "dog." (The drops seem to jump together to make one larger drop -- or one big dog). Ask them to make one giant "puppy huddle" (or puddle) by walking all of the "dogs" (drops) to the same spot. Can they split this big puddle into separate little "dogs" again? When they touch a drop with a toothpick dipped in liquid soap, the surface tension in the water will lessen and the drop will flatten out. They can call this trick "teaching their dog to lie down." At the end of the lab, have them use a paper towel as a "dog catcher" and lay it over the waxed paper "park" to catch all of the "water dogs." As an extension, plan time to experiment with some of the Bubble Recipes listed on Page 3.

Also see Hints for Successful Bubble Blowing. Use a shallow pan with about an 3/4 inch of Bubble Solution. Be sure that the ends of their straws are dipped in the solution first. They will soon discover that a dry straw or finger will pop bubbles, but a wetted straw or finger can pass right through bubble walls. Have them try to make a bubble flower, mountain, caterpillar, etc.

Weekly Problem

If your students have not had much experience using eye droppers, you may want to demonstrate how to release single small drops onto the penny surface. Have each student first guess or predict how many drops they think will fit on a penny. (Typically, around 16 to 20 drops will fit before the water spills over the edge. When the water spills over, it means that the pull of gravity has become stronger than the pull of the surface tension.) Now have them try it. The actual number of drops is not as important as their experimentation with estimating, counting, recording, and comparing their results with their predictions. Have them observe that the penny looks larger (is magnified) under the water bubble. Encourage them to repeat this several times trying both sides of a penny. Is there any difference? If doing this activity individually, ask family members or friends for their guesses for their chart.

Writing for Science

Explain that many companies have Product Development and Testing Departments that bring new products to market. Encourage them to write an interesting description of what is in Formula X that produced such "bubbly" results. How did they finally get down? What uses can they think of for this new product? What would be a good name for it?

Challenge

Oil and water do not mix. They each stick to themselves. In fact, because of the way their molecules are arranged, oil and water actually repel each other. Soap is what helps oil, and oily dirt, mix with water. In this activity, the fat in whole milk (which represents the oil) and the dishwashing soap interact to make fascinating, twirling swirls of color. They are also disturbing the surface tension with the soapy toothpick. (Use WHOLE milk for this activity.) Have them fill their pie plates with 1/2 to 3/4 inch (about 2 cm) of whole milk. They can also touch the milk near the edge of the pan and push their toothpick below the surface. Let them experiment until the colors have stopped swirling or are completely mixed. Remind them to put more soap on their toothpicks each time and NOT to stir the milk, just hold their toothpicks at one spot at a time.

Home Base

See TN Level A - HOME BASE. In addition, they will also be washing their hands with dishwashing liquid. Some dishwashing liquids are specifically advertised as grease and oil-fighters. Have them try more than one brand and compare the results. Have them compare store brands with nationally advertised brands, also.

Level C

Main Concepts: Water molecules are held together by a force called surface tension. This is what pulls water into drops. Soap makes water molecules "unstick," so dirt can mix in with the water and get rinsed away.

Vocabulary

Review that the letters "oa" make the long "O" sound. Have them list as many "oa" words as they can.

Weekly Lab

See TN Level B - WEEKLY LAB. In addition, have them describe what happens when 2 drops get close together. Ask them why they think the soapy toothpick made the water drop flatten out. (The soap lessens the surface tension which holds the water drops together.)

Weekly Problem

See Level B - WEEKLY PROBLEM. Besides doing this activity using both the heads and tails of their penny, have them try this on a clean and a dirty penny. Did this make any difference?

Writing for Science

Explain that companies often have Product Development and Testing Departments that bring new products to market. Encourage them to write a description of what is in Formula X that produced such "bubbly" results. How did they finally get down? What uses can they think of for this new product? What would be a good name for it?

Challenge

(NOTE: If any of your students are allergic to peanuts, margarine or solid shortening can be substituted.) Have your students rub a little peanut butter onto the palms of both hands. Ask them to first wash their hands in cool water ONLY, and then in warm water ONLY. How clean are their hands now? Next, have them use bar soap and warm water, then liquid soap and warm water. Finally have them try the dishwashing liquid. They may need to reapply the peanut butter each time they wash. Some dishwashing liquids are specifically advertised as grease and oil-fighters. Have them try more than one brand and compare. Which worked best? Soap and water together works much better than water alone.

Puzzle

See TN Level B - CHALLENGE.

Level D

Main Concepts: Water molecules are held together by a force called surface tension. Although surface tension is not very powerful, it is strong enough to keep water from spilling over the top of a glass that's just a little too full. Soap makes water molecules "unstick," so oily dirt can mix in with water and get rinsed away.

Vocabulary

This activity asks your students to think of familiar word pairings (e.g., raining cats and dogs, hand and glove, night and day, salt and pepper, etc.) and then to create some new pairings of their own. See if they come up with more than four.

Weekly Lab

Oil and water do not mix. They each stick to themselves. In fact, because of the way their molecules are arranged, oil and water actually repel each other. Soap is what helps oil, and oily dirt, mix with water. In this activity, the fat in whole milk (which represents the oil) and the dishwashing soap interact to make fascinating, twirling swirls of color. They are also disturbing the surface tension with the soapy toothpick. (Use WHOLE milk for this activity.) Have them fill their pie plates with 1/2 to 3/4 inch (about 2 cm) of whole milk. They can also touch the milk near the edge of the pan and push their toothpick below the surface. Let them experiment until the colors have stopped swirling or are completely mixed. Remind them to put more soap on their toothpicks each time and NOT to stir the milk, just hold their toothpicks at one spot at a time.

Weekly Problem

Have each student first guess or predict how many drops they think will fit on a penny. (Typically, around 16 to 20 drops will fit before the water spills over the edge. When the water spills over, it means that the pull of gravity has become stronger than the pull of the surface tension.) Now have them try it. The actual number of drops is not as important as their experimentation with estimating, counting, recording, and comparing their results with their predictions. Have them observe that the penny looks larger (is magnified) under the water bubble. Encourage them to repeat this experiment several times. If doing this activity individually, ask family members or friends for their guesses to add to the chart.

Writing for Science

See TN Level C - WRITING FOR SCIENCE.

Challenge

This activity demonstrates what cleans oily dirt best. Have them deeply rub a little peanut butter or lipstick into each circle. Have them rinse the whole cloth thoroughly when finished and let dry. Some dishwashing liquids are specifically advertised as grease and oil-fighters. Have them try more than one brand and compare. Which worked best?

Puzzle

See Bubble Solution Recipes and Hints for Successful Bubble Blowing on Page 3 in the Background. Be sure that the ends of their straws are dipped in bubble solution before they begin. They will soon discover that a dry straw or finger will pop their bubbles, but a wetted straw or finger can pass right through the bubble walls. Allow enough time for this activity so they are able to explore and discover on their own. Encourage them to blow gently for best bubble results.

DID YOU KNOW??

Ivory[R] soap was invented when a factory worker accidentally left the soap mixer running. It mixed so much extra air into the soap, it floated!

Level E

Main Concepts: Water molecules are held together by a force called surface tension, which keeps water from spilling over the top of a glass that's just a little too full. Soap makes water molecules "unstick" and surrounds oily dirt, so it can mix in with the water and get rinsed away.

Vocabulary

See TN Level D - VOCABULARY. In addition, have them list as many other familiar word pairings as they can.

Weekly Lab

Oil and Water do not mix. They each stick to themselves. In fact, because of the way their molecules are arranged, oil and water actually repel each other. Soap is what helps oil, and oily dirt, mix with water. In this activity, the fat in whole milk (which represents the oil) and the dishwashing soap interact to make fascinating, twirling swirls of color. They are also disturbing the surface tension with the soapy toothpick. Have them fill their pie plates with 1/2 to 3/4 inch (about 2 cm) of whole milk. They can also touch the milk near the edge of the pan and push their toothpick below the surface. Let them experiment until the colors have stopped swirling or are completely mixed. Remind them to put more soap on their toothpicks each time and NOT to stir the milk, just hold their toothpicks at one spot at a time. Have them compare their whole and skimmed milk results. The fat content of the milk caused the difference. Skimmed milk contains less fat, resulting in less swirling.

Weekly Problem

See TN Level D - WEEKLY PROBLEM.

Writing for Science

Explain that many companies often have Product Development and Testing Departments that bring new products to market. Encourage your students to write a description of what is in Formula X that produced such "bubbly" results. How did they finally get down? What uses can they think of for this new product? What would be a good name for it?

Challenge

This activity demonstrates what cleans oily dirt best. Have them rub peanut butter or lipstick into each circle. They will rinse the whole cloth when finished and let it dry. Some dishwashing liquids are specifically advertised as grease and oil-fighters. Have them compare several brands. They will also be comparing laundry soap (or detergent). Many of these contain enzymes to fight oily stains. Which worked best?

Puzzle

See TN Level D - PUZZLE.

Level F

Main concepts: Soap has a long history of helping to get things clean. Soap works by loosening the attraction between water molecules so that dirt can mix in and get washed away. Soaps are made of natural ingredients, while most detergents are synthetic (made from man-made chemicals).

Weekly Lab

In both labs, the soapy toothpick disturbed the surface tension. Lab A: See TN Level E - WEEKLY LAB. Lab B: The surface tension between water molecules is what makes this lab so interesting. Explain that water sometimes has the properties of both "stickiness" and "stretchiness." Have them observe what happens when two drops get close to one another. (They seem to jump together to form one larger drop.) Have them make one large puddle by dragging several drops together. Can they split this big puddle into separate drops again? Why do the water drops stick to the dropper? How far can they drag or stretch a drop? Ask why the water drop flattens after it is touched with a soapy toothpick. Soap caused the surface tension to lessen and the drop spread out. As an extension, plan time to experiment with some of the Bubble Recipes listed on Page 3. Also see Hints for Successful Bubble Blowing. Use a shallow pan with about 3/4 inch (2 cm) of Bubble Solution. Be sure that the ends of their straws are dipped in bubble solution first. They will soon discover that a dry straw or finger will pop their bubbles, but a wetted straw or finger can pass right through bubble walls. Have them try to make a bubble flower, a mountain, a caterpillar, a bubble within a bubble, etc.

Weekly Problem

See TN Level D - WEEKLY PROBLEM.

Writing for Science

Explain that companies often have Product Development and Testing Departments that bring new products to market. Encourage them to write a description of what is in Formula X that produced such "bubbly" results. How did they finally get down? What uses can they think of for this new product? What is a good name for it?

Challenge

See TN Level E - CHALLENGE.

Puzzle

Answer: A fizzicist!

RELATED ARTICLE: National Science Education Standards

Unifying Concepts and Processes (K-8)

* Systems, order, and organization

* Evidence, models, and explanation

* Constancy, change, and measurement

* Form and function

Standard A: Science as Inquiry (K-8)

* Abilities to do scientific inquiry

* Understanding about scientific inquiry

Standard B: Physical Science (K-4)

* Properties of objects and materials

* Position and motion of objects (5-8)

* Properties and changes of properties in matter

* Motions and forces

Standard C: Life Science (K-4)

* The characteristics of organisms

* Organisms and their environments (5-8)

* Regulation and behavior

* Diversity and adaptations of organisms

Standard E: Science and Technology (K-4)

* Understanding about science and technology

* Abilities to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans (5-8)

* Abilities of technological design

* Understandings about science and technology

Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives (K-4)

* Personal health

* Characteristics and changes in environments

* Types of resources

* Science and technology in local challenges (5-8)

* Personal health

* Natural hazards

* Risks and benefits

* Science and technology in society

Standard G: History and Nature of Science (K-8)

* Science as a human endeavor (5-8)

* History of science

RELATED ARTICLE:

Here are 3 good bubble solution recipes. Many people who work with bubbles have strong preferences about which dishwashing liquid works best. The top 2 brands are Dawn[R] and Joy[R]. It will be fun for your students to try all of these recipes and decide for themselves which they prefer! (Please note that these measurements are approximate and may need to be adjusted for temperature and humidity levels in your area.)

BUBBLE SOLUTION RECIPES

Bubbles o' Dawn

250 ml (about 1 cup) of Dawn[R] 4 liters (about 1 gallon) of cool water 60 ml (about 4 Tbl.) of glycerine(*)

Bubble Joy

250 ml (about 1 cup) of Joy[R] 2.5 liters (about 10 cups) of cool water 60 ml (4 Tbl.) of glycerine(*)

Sweet Bubbles

500 ml (about 2 cups) of Joy[R] or Dawn[R] 2.5 liters (about 10 cups) of cool water 185 ml (3/4 cup) of white Karo Corn Syrup[R]

(*) glycerine is optional, but will provide longer lasting bubbles

For best results, allow all these mixture to sit for several hours (or overnight). You may need as much as 50% more water in very dry weather or dry indoor air. Use these solutions at room temperature. They can be reused many times. (A little white vinegar in the rinse water will quickly help to clean up work surfaces.)

RELATED ARTICLE: Hints For Successful Bubble Blowing

1. Be sure all surfaces are soapy - straws, dishes, hands, etc.

2. Blow slowly and gently for the biggest bubbles. Young students may need to pinch their straws to slow the air flow.

3. Younger students should practice blowing "OUT" through their straws before blowing bubbles. They may tend to suck in!

4. Institute a "pop your own bubbles ONLY" rule.

5. Avoid stirring which causes foam. Foam is bad for bubbles.

6. If soap happens to get into eyes or mouths, rinse well with plenty of water. Be prepared in advance with paper cups filled with water.

7. Rinse hands well after bubble activities. Soap residue can irritate skin.

8. If the bubble solution is too thick or too thin, add more water or soap to adjust it to the right consistency,

Experiment with different sizes and shapes of Bubble Blowers. Bubbles can be blown through straws, commercial bubble wands, wands made from pipe cleaners and pipe cleaner constructions, plastic rings from 6-pack cans, plastic children's hangers, wire hangers stretched in different shapes, orange juice cans taped together (make sure the edges are smooth), and a variety of other materials. The one essential factor for any "bubble frame" is that it must be covered in bubble solution first. Dry materials will cause bubbles to burst.

RELATED ARTICLE: Weekly RESOURCES

Helpful Sources for Planning Your Science Weekly Classroom Activities

Recommended Resources

* Barber, Jacqueline. Bubble-ology (GEMS). Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Hall of Science, 1986

* Bell, J.L. Soap Science. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1993

* Bramson, Ann. Soap: Making It, Enjoying It. New York: Workman Publishing Co., 1975

* Cassidy, John. The Unbelievable Bubble Book. Palo Alto, CA: Klutz Press, 1987

* Zubrowski, Bernie. Bubbles: A Children's Museum Activity Book. New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 1986

Internet Resources

From the Exploratorium - http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/soap.html http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html

From Bubblesphere - http://bubbles.org/ and bubble games - http://bubbles.org/html/games.htm

Science Museum of Minnesota - http://www.sci.mus.mn.us/sln/tf/b/bubblegeometry/ bubblegeometry.html

More soap experiments - http://www.beakman.com/soap/soap.htm

Amazing bubble photos - http://www.bubblemania.com/science

Materials Needed for Issue 11 - Asteroids, Meteors, & Comets

Pre-A, A, B - black crayons, large pans with sides, newspaper, flour or cornstarch, cocoa, tennis (or other) balls or large rocks, a variety of smaller rocks and balls, rulers, chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt, chocolate sandwich cookies, paper cups, sugar cones, craft sticks or spoons

C - large pans with sides, newspaper, flour or cornstarch, cocoa, tennis (or other) balls or large rocks, a variety of smaller rocks and balls, rulers, scissors, glue

D - same as above, plus meter sticks or rulers, string, thick cardboard, push pins, pencils

E - string, thick cardboard, push pins, pencils, scissors, glue

F - same as C and D

RELATED ARTICLE: Soap and water

Have you ever filled a glass with just a little too much water, but the water didn't spill over? It just stayed right above the top of the rim. Why do you think that happened??

Sticky Water/Stretchy Water

Water is made up of tiny, tiny particles called molecules. These molecules really like to "stick together." They are attracted to each other by a force called surface tension. Surface tension is what pulls water into droplets. It is also what keeps water from spilling over the edge of your glass when it gets a little too full. When soap is added to water, though, the molecules don't stick to each other as well. The soap makes the water become "stretchy."

How Soap Cleans

How does soap help get things clean? When water molecules are stuck tightly together, dirt cannot fit in between the molecules and get washed away. Soap helps the water molecules "un-stick" and spread apart. This makes room for the dirt to mix in. When you have finished washing up with soap, the dirt goes right down the drain with the water.

Have you ever heard the saying, "Oil and water don't mix"? It's true. Oil and water can't mix. They each stick only to themselves. The way their molecules are arranged, they actually repel each other. Oily dirt molecules and soap, though, are attracted to each other. Soap goes right to the oily dirt and surrounds it. Now this dirt can mix into the wash water and be rinsed away.

Early Soaps

Soap was invented more than 4,000 years ago. The first soaps were made from animal fat boiled with ashes. Back then, soap was very harsh and used only to wash clothes and other things, never people! Bathing with soap started around 700 years ago, but the idea of keeping clean with regular baths has only been around for about the last 150 years. Until then, bathing was thought to be very unhealthy. Today, we use soap to clean all kinds of different things. Go to any supermarket and look at the wide variety of soaps available for every cleaning need.

So, whether you prefer a bath or a shower, you really do need both soap and water to get clean. It does make a big difference!

DID YOU KNOW??

In 1399, England's King Henry IV made a law requiring his noblemen to take a bath at least once in their lives - when they became knights. Not many years later, the 1st Queen Elizabeth that their queen "hath a bath every 3 months whether she needeth it or not." She was quite modern!!

DID YOU KNOW??

In colonial America, soap was made by the woman of the house. She saved up cooking grease and fireplace ashes all year long to make the year's soap supply. It was a difficult chore which took many days of hot, smelly outdoor work to boil the fat and leach the ashes to get Iye. The final soap was brown and harsh and used for all kinds of cleaning chores.

DID YOU KNOW??

The first commercially produced soap was made in 17776. It was sold by the pound. It wasn't until 1872 that the Colgate Co. sold the first individually wrapped and scented bar soap in stores.

Vocabulary

Soap and water go together. Here are some more word pairs. Do you know any others? Can you make up 6 new ones of your own?

big and -- cold and -- smart and -- quick and -- brave and -- salty and --

Weekly Lab

Soap Surprise!! Soap can help oil and water mix together. Watch what happens when soap mixes with whole milk and food colors.

You need: a pie plate, whole milk, food coloring, dishwashing liquid, a toothpick, skimmed milk (optional)

Step 1: Pour a little whole milk into the pie pan (about 3/4 inch or 2 cm).

Step 2: Drip 5 or 6 drops of food coloring all around the pan.

Step 3: Dip your toothpick in soap. Now touch the center of a color drop. Hold it there and DON'T STIR! What happens?

Step 4: Put more soap on your toothpick. Now hold it near a color and then between 2 colors. Touch the milk near the edge of the pan. Continue trying different spots all around.

Bonus: Now try this lab again with skimmed milk. What was different? Why?

DID YOU KNOW??

Many early ads sold soap by convincing buyers that soap could get them great jobs, big promotions, perfect husbands or wives, and social success by eliminating the "dreaded problem" or B.O. (body odor)!!

Weekly Problem

Surface tension can hold water drops together on a penny.

How many drops do you think will "stick" to a penny? Have everyone in your class make a guess. Write their predictions on a chart. Now try it! Stop counting when one drop spills off the penny. Record your answers on the class chart.

* What was the greatest number of drops to fit on a penny? --

* What was the total number of drops guessed by the whole class? --

* How many drops did everyone actually drop? --

* What was the difference between the total guesses and the real drops "dropped?" --

* What was the class average for guesses? -- What was the class average for actual drops? --

* Does it matter if the penny was "heads" or "tails"? yes no

Which side held the most? --

You need: a penny, an eyedropper, and some water

Writing for Science

You are the Chief Suds Tester for the Berry Big Bubblebath Company. You were tying out their new formula for blue Berry Bubbles when your bathtub started to float away ... and it's not coming down!!!

What kind of chemistry could create these unexpected results? Could this be the discovery of the century? What are the secret ingredients in Formula X? What would you call this unusual new product? How many different ways can you think of to use it ... and how did you ever get down??

DID YOU NOW??

Mousse is the French word for bubbles. Have you ever eaten chocolate mousse or used mousse in your hair?

Challenge

Which cleans best?

Use a permanent marker to draw five circles on a piece of cloth. Number them 1 through 5. Rub a little peanut butter or lipstick in each circle.

* First, rinse Circle 1 in cool water.

* Then rinse Circle 2 in warm water.

* Rub a cotton ball on the bar of soap and scrub the stain in Circle 3.

* Next, put a little dishwashing liquid on another cotton ball and rub Circle 4.

* Finally, try some laundry detergent on Circle 5.

Rinse the whole cloth thoroughly and let dry.

Which worked best?

You need: peanut butter or lipstick, cotton balls, a permanent marker, a bar of soap, dishwashing soap, laundry detergent, a handkerchief or other piece of cloth, warm and cool water

DID YOU KNOW??

Bubble foam is used to put out fires and smother bombs.

Puzzle

Soap and water make bubbles.

Pour about 1 cm (1/2 inch) of the bubble mixture into a shallow dish or pie plate. Dip the end of your straw into the bubble mixture and wet it well. Now place just the tip of your straw into the bubble mixture and blow gently! What happens if you touch a bubble with a dry finger?

Recipe for Bubble Mixture

* Put 1/4 cup (60 ml) of dishwashing liquid into 1 quart (1 liter) of water.

* Add 15 ml (1 Tbl.) of glycerine (optional).
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Title Annotation:ingredients and functions of soap
Publication:Science Weekly
Date:Jan 29, 1999
Words:7131
Previous Article:Inventions.
Next Article:Asteroids, Meteors, and Comets.
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