Rainbows and bubbles - Adding Science (STEAM) to my Curriculum

Hello Friends,

Goodness.... It has been a very looong time since I have written. We had a few family crises this past month which took priority . All seems to be back to normal, so hopefully, I will be better at posting now!

My goal for this school year is to add more science (STEAM) activities to my curriculum. I have to say that it takes a change in thinking to accomplish. I have had to allow my students to explore on their own without much intervention from me. This has been a little difficult for me because I usually have an end result in my mind which doesn't always match what my students ACTUALLY take away from the activity. Kindergarten activities often involve making a "mess", so I am used to that part. It just takes a little more patience to accept that the mess is part of the learning process!

Our first activity was understanding how rainbows are made.  I used a glow stick to demonstrate light. I held up a glow stick and told my kids that light is like this glow stick. All the light travels together in a straight line and looks white like the glow stick. But when it passes through an object like a prism or raindrop, it is broken up and we can see the colors. I broke the glow stick to demonstrate how light can "break" and create colors. Of course, a glow stick only shows one color, but it still shows the "breaking up" of one color to another.

I divided the kids into partners and took them outside. We were lucky that it was a sunny day! They captured the light with their prisms and saw that the light was broken into a rainbow. We looked at the order of the rainbow colors. They also experimented with creating rainbows with a cup of water. This is a bit more difficult, but when it works, it is an amazing way for kids to see why rainbows can be made on a rainy day.

We looked at how light is made of all the colors and is called "white." But when you mix all the colors together in Art, they create black. They had a great time mixing colors and creating secondary colors as well as black.

 This week, we studied surface tension using bubbles.  First they stirred plain water with spoons and saw that they created bubbles, but the bubbles did not last very long. This is because the surface tension of water is strong and is not "stretchy", so bubbles pop easily.

 Then they tried adding soap to the solution and saw that soap makes water "stretchier", so the bubbles last longer.

After they made bubbles with soap, they tried out different types of commercial bubble solutions. The kids were divided into small groups. They took turns being the "bubble blower." The bubble blower blew the bubbles and the rest of the group counted to see how long the bubble "survived" before it broke. They took turns being the bubble blower and counter.

 The children were given the opportunity to create their own bubble solution using different types of soap and compared the “lasting power” of their homemade solution to the commercial solution. They also added corn syrup to their solution and found that the bubbles lasted a REALLY long time. This is because corn syrup made the bubbles even more stretchy. A warning, though..... If you can do this outside, your clean up will be much less. It was raining on the day that we did our activity and our classroom became pretty messy with bubble solution and sticky corn syrup!

It was a fun activity, though… when I asked my kiddos what they had learned, I was told “Bubbles can have rainbows in them because light bends through them” and “You need to add soap to water to make bubbles stretch and last longer.”
I think these are  pretty awesome BIG IDEAS for five year olds!

 Click HERE for the link to the bubble activity.

So... that's it for now, my friends...

Until next time!



  1. So much fun! I never thought of using the glow stick to help the students understand light and colors in the spectrum very clever! Thank you!

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