Circumference + Bubbles = Too Much Fun!

By Stacey Burt on March 9, 2010


Often teaching circumference can be a bit, well, boring. This time of year I try to incorporate as many manipulatives in math as possible. So when it comes to teaching circumference, I use bubble solution, straws, and rulers to ramp up the process.

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This activity as been around for a long time; however, I incorporate modes of central tendency as a review with this activity. All your students will need is something to record data on (or provide a lab sheet for them), calculator, and pencil. Here are the basic steps my students follow:

1. Completely clear desk surface.

2. Pass out straws, rulers, and pour about a tablespoon of bubble solution on each student’s desk.

3. Remind students to dip the straw in the solution as well before gently blowing air into the bubble solution on their desks.

4. Students should blow until a bubble forms and pops. When the bubble pops it will leave a ring on the surface of the desk.

5. Students will have to estimate the center of the circle and then use the ruler to either estimate the diameter or radius of the circle.

6. Record data (diameter or radius) for 10-15 bubbles.

7. Students should then return to data and make the calculations for circumference for each circle.

8. After completing the calculations, students can then calculate mean, median, mode, and range for the data set.

Challenge: For additional fun, have the students try blowing bubbles inside of bubbles and measuring the diameters and circumferences.

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I hope you have fun with this activity. I know your students will, and what a great way to review before state testing. Even “big kids” love to blow bubbles!

All the best this week-



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