Scientific Method Lab Using Bubble Gum

Brad Bauer, ROCORI High School, Cold Spring, MN, Based on the original lab designed by Sarah Crandall of Sartell High School.
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Initial Publication Date: September 18, 2008


In this lab students will learn the steps of the scientific method by identifying each step and applying each through a fun activity that compares variables between 2 types of bubble gum. Students will be asked to hypothesize, collect and organize data, use scientific measurement, and differentiate between qualitative and quantitative data.

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Learning Goals

Students will be able to use the scientific method to solve problems and collect data-based observations. In doing the investigation students will know how to use SI units and differentiate qualitative and quantitative data.

Context for Use

This lab is an inexpensive yet fun way to learn the scientific method instead of just doing notes. We do this lab in our Introduction unit because students are making data tables and understanding the scientific method at the same time.

Description and Teaching Materials

At the beginning of the scientific method unit I use the lab to introduce and cover the process...instead of using lecture.
Scientific Method Lab

1. The purpose of this lab is to use the Scientific Method to solve a problem.
A) Observe and ask questions that lead to a problem

B) Form a hypothesis

C) Test the hypothesis with a controlled experiment my making observations and gathering data.

D) Analyze gathered data

E) Reject or Accept your hypothesis

F) Form a conclusion

2. Materials
2 small pieces of wax paper
1 meter long piece of string
1 meter stick
2 different pieces of bubble gun labeled A and B

3. READ directions carefully before starting the lab. Each group will need one piece of gum labeled A and one labeled B. Make 3 observations about each brand of gum.

Gum A Gum B

1.____________________________ 1.__________________________

2.____________________________ 2.___________________________

3.____________________________ 3.___________________________

Problem: Which piece of bubble gum blows the biggest bubble?

Hypothesis: Predict which piece of gum will blow the biggest bubble and why.



1. The person with brand A will chew their piece of gum for 3 minutes. The person with brand B does not begin chewing until all the tests on brand A are

2. Blow a bubble.

3. Using a string, your partner will measure the diameter (distance across) the bubble. Put the string on the meter stick to measure the distance in centimeters (cm).

4. Record the measurement in a data table. Repeat the process for trials 2 and 3.

5. Find the average bubble size for brand A (add all the distances up and divide by 3) and put in the data chart.

6. Repeat steps 1-5 with brand B gum.

Data Table: Design a data collection table to fit the data you will be investigating

Conclusion: Forming a theory
What brand of gum is the best at blowing bubbles and why? Support your answer with observations and your data.

Combine with another group to complete this part of the lab.

Problem: How does gum strechability relate to bubble size?

Hypothesis: Make an educated guess that would answer the above question.


1. The person with brand A will roll their gum into a ball.

2. Hold the gum (brand A) by using the piece of wax paper. Another person in the group would hold the same piece of gum with another piece of wax paper. Hold the gum near your chest, begin to walk slowly backwards.

3. The third person in the group should hold the meter stick and measure the distance in centimeters the gum stretched before breaking.

4. Record the measurement in the data chart. ONLY DO ONE TRIAL

5. Repeat #1-4 for brand B gum.

Data Table: Create a data table to fit the data you will be gathering


How does gum stretchability relate to bubble size?



With your lab partner, list 5 variables that may affect the outcome of this experiment.

1. ____________________________________________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________________________________________

4. ____________________________________________________________________________

5. ____________________________________________________________________________

Explain how the data you collected can be described as both qualitative and quantitative

Were SI units used in this lab? Explain. _________________________________

List any questions you still have about the scientific method.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Complete lab (Rich Text File 6kB Aug11 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

You need space to do part II of the lab. If you have carpet, you may want to do part II outside. But the stretched gum cleans up easily and the wax paper makes it possible for kids not to touch other students gum. Depending on the age level and responsibility level of the students you can let each group come up with variables to test about the 2 types of gum. When I have done the lab in the past we used to give students data tables and lead them the entire way through. Now, each time I do the lab I let students make tables and test other variables....but this depends on the students I am working with.


Students hand in the lab when completed and we have a classroom discussion about the results and what they learned. Also, on the first quiz I put questions about the lab.


1.I.B.1-4 Scientific Experiment (scientific inquiry)

References and Resources