A Cloud of Bubbles

Alexis learns about states of matter in a hands-on experiment with water and dry ice.

6-8 team students enjoyed another engaging science activity thanks to Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Loar, this time exploring the three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas.

“Normal” ice—frozen water (H2O)—changes from solid to liquid when it melts, eventually evaporating into gas.

Dry ice—frozen carbon dioxide (CO2)—changes directly from solid to gas in a process called sublimation. Additionally, dry ice sublimes more rapidly when submerged in water.

During a recent experiment in the grass area beside the school building, students observed the change from solid to gas when dry ice is submerged in water creating a cloud of water vapor fog. But then they took things one step further . . . .

By adding a squirt of dish soap into the water, a cloud of bubbles begins to appear!

The soap in the water traps the CO2 and water vapor in the form of a bubble. Grab the bubbles and give them a squeeze and the bubbles burst with an explosion of fog!

Students also used soapy water to scoop air into bubbles. Air is made primarily of nitrogen and oxygen. How those gases get into our atmosphere is a lesson for another time!


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