Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blowing Bubbles with Geometric Figures

The kids found a big jug of bubble solution in their Easter baskets this year, and this set off a surprisingly long run of daily bubble-blowing (ooh, that's an example of the open-ended invitations that I was talking about! I still have the Perler beads out this week, because I keep forgetting to ask if I can clean up one kid's half-finished butterfly. Hopefully, I can remember to do that today, and then set out... moon sand, maybe).

Since bubble blowing was in vogue, I took advantage of that interest by turning it into an afternoon enrichment project, with a twist. First, the kids and I built some geometric figures out of our big set of Zometools, and then we took them outside and made bubbles with them:


We didn't label or study them other than observation and admiration, but it's certainly possible to, as very interesting mathematical things happen in that space inside a three-dimensional figure:
This is one way that bubbles can form inside a cube.
And this is another. See my reflection in the bubble?

Here's a tetrahedron, also one of the Platonic solids.

And here's a rectangular prism. It's not a Platonic solid.
 And of course, along with that, there was also lots of this:
I had a lot of trouble getting sharp photos of bubbles being blown in my college photography class, so I'm pleased that I can do it now! The trick is to accept the fact that my eyesight is crap, even with glasses, and rely on automatic focus.

I'm normally a little picky about my our Zometools, since they were VERY expensive (it's a good thing, then, that they came from Santa! Sigh...), but in accession to the bubble fever, I left these figures out on the back deck with the other bubble blowing supplies. And yes, they've fallen on the ground, they've been dragged all over the yard, they've been neglected and lost and found again later (usually by me, seconds before I would have mown them over), but they've also been explored and played with quite a bit, which is the point, so yay.

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