CENTERVILLE — Making bubbles — the poppable, soap-sudsy kind — is popular during kids’ playtime, but how many students have ever thought about the science behind it?
It — the science — was an eye-opener for students at Stewart Elementary in Centerville on Wednesday, when kindergartner Kaleb Watts brought his dad in for an assembly. The topic: how bubbles work.
Jarom Watts, of Bountiful, is no stranger to bubbles.
In 2009, he was awarded the Guinness Book World Record for the largest bubble ever created. His success is recorded in Guinness Book of World Records for 2012.
During the assembly, he showed the students his volcano bubbles, bubbles blown inside of other bubbles and bubbles turned into different shapes. Students screamed and clapped with delight over his famous elephant-sized bubble.
As Watts transformed his bubbly mixture into different shapes — joining bubbles to create flat surfaces where they connected, then turning the middle bubble into different shapes including a cube, pyramid and star — he asked the students what they noticed.
“That’s what scientists do, they make observations,” Watts said.
The students noticed that no matter what shape of wand Watts used, such as a star, triangle or square, the bubbles still came out as spheres.
Watts talked about how bubbles work by showing them a balloon, filling it with air and leaving it open, allowing the balloon to shrink back to size.
“Balloons don’t like being filled up with air inside, so they try to push the air out. Bubbles are the same way,” he said.
“When they are full of air, they want to be the smallest shape it can be, which is a sphere.”
He showed the students how air works inside of a bubble by using a special blowing tool that changes the color of the air into a white mist. Students were enthralled as they watched the air being released from a popped bubble.
Watts said many people think making bubbles is magic, but he told students it’s all about science and discovery.
He achieved his bubble expertise from plenty of practice.
“I have practiced for years. I’ve learned a lot on YouTube and meeting other bubble experts, but it has mostly come down to just practicing,” Watts said.
A lot of his tricks have come from experimenting.
“I like science, and I like to experiment, so I go from there and have been able to reach new levels,” Watts said.
“From one of my failed experiments came a cool side effect, and I developed a tightrope bubble.”
Making bubbles is only a hobby for the father of three. He spends his days as a sales manager but enjoys the occasional assembly.
“I have just as much fun doing the show as the kids, especially seeing their reactions,” Watts said. “There is so much science in this show, teaching them about shapes, doing experiments and observations.”
Third-grader Paige Utley was surprised by what she learned from the demonstration.
“I had no idea that you could make different shapes with bubbles or make humongous bubbles like that. I couldn’t believe it at first.”