Environmental Learning Lessons To Grow! Natural Play STEM

Bubble Fun. Water Care.

Up, up, and away!  Bubbles are fun!

Bubbles are a great way to teach about matter.  Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space.  Matter can be in the form of a solid, liquid, gas, or plasma.  The bubble making tools such as buckets, bowls, wands, strainers or serrated spoons are solids.  Water from the tap is a liquid but when a solid we call it ice.  Glycerin in (liquid) soap works to “hold the water molecules in connection” to form a bubble of trapped air (gas).  Gases that are less dense then the surrounding air will float up.  A bubble filled with warm breath will float up through cooler air.  The state of matter called plasma is a bit more complicated and harder to see.  Plasma is HOT and can be found in stars like our sun and on earth in lightning.

Keeping us clean!  Soap works as a cleaner because the soap chemicals stick to both water and dirt at the same time.  For example, when washing your hands you rub the soap all around and this soap picks up the germs and dirt.  When you rinse your hands with more water; the dirt, germs and soap are all rinsed away together.  When water goes down the sink, tub, or toilet it goes to a wastewater treatment plant where it is cleaned using settling basins, bacteria, plants, and chemicals.

Natural systems don’t need soap.  Shoreline plants, wetlands and rain gardens can help keep our shared waters healthy and clean.  Soap should be kept out of our rivers, lakes, streams, streets and storm drains.   When water goes into the street it goes into storm drain then piped to the nearest river, lake, wetland, or stream.  Soaps contain chemicals that make algae grow and that can make a lake’s water chemistry and unhealthy balance.  Washing your hair or pet in the lake pollutes the water with soap that leads to greener, unbalanced lake water.  Instead of soap into the street or lake, try using a carwash or even washing your bike or pet on the lawn where the soap soaks into plants and soil.

Water is special.  Playing with bubbles is fun and a great connector to talking about water quality and water savings.   Using only what we need saves energy and resources:  turn water off when brushing teeth, invest in auto faucets for your school, take shorter showers or shallower baths, try a rain barrel for your garden, wash clothes/dishes with full loads, wash hands with just enough soap.  How many uses for water can you and your classroom list?

Play. Learn. Love.

September 2016