Students observe that a change in the temperature of air can impact the size of a bubble placed on a bottle that is cooled and/or heated.

Learning Objectives

  • Students observe that change in temperature of the air in a bubble will change the volume of the bubble
  • Students will be able to describe the relationship between the change in a unit of air's temperature to its volume
  • Students will understand that the Sun's energy creates movement in the air, and that motion is called a convective current


(This can be altered to a format that best fits the activity when necessary)

1. File a clear plastic shoebox with 3”-5” of ice water for each group of two to four students (have hot water on standby to fill a shoebox container in the same way for each group).

2. Add approximately 1/4” of diluted dishwashing soap to a small container for each group.

3. Demonstrate dipping the narrow open end of the bottle (mouth) into the soap container to form a film over it, then have students practice this. If the film pops, simply ask students to repeat the procedure.

4. Next place the bottom of the bottle into the cold water. Have students record what happens.

5. Carefully provide a shoebox with 3” - 5” of hot water in it to each group, making sure to review common safety precautions.

6. Have students experiment and record what happens when the bottom of a bottle with soap film over its mouth is placed in the hot water.

7. Encourage students to place their bottles in both the hot and cold water without breaking the bubble to see it rise and fall due to the temperature change.