Literature Connections to
Bubble-Ology

Teacher's Guides > Bubble-Ology

Several books pertain to technology and inventions, relating nicely to Activity 1. There are also two books which relate to aerodynamics and dynamic lift, a perfect complement to Activity 4. There’s a book of poems about color providing a good extension to Activity 5. A question and answer type book focuses on bubbles, soap, water, and baths in general. An excellent “ecological mystery” explores many subjects, including phosphates in detergents. We expected to find many more connections to the wide-ranging bubble- and physical science-related activities in this guide, and look forward to your suggestions.

Better Mousetraps: Product Improvements That Led to Success
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car

Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray
Glorious Flight
Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color

The Missing ‘Gator of Gumbo Limbo: An Ecological Mystery
The Paper Airplane Book

The Rejects: People and Products that Outsmarted the Experts
Ruby Mae Has Something To Say

Splash! All About Baths

The Toothpaste Millionaire
The Unsung Heroes: Unheralded People Who Invented Famous Products

Better Mousetraps:
Product Improvements That Led to Success

by Nathan Aaseng
Lerner Publications, Minneapolis. 1990
Grades: 5–10
The book’s focus is on “improvers, refiners, and polishers”
and not on pioneers or trailblazers. To dramatize the results of safety testing, Elisha Otis set up an elevator at a big exposition in New York and had an assistant intentionally cut the cable with Otis aboard! The safety device brought the elevator
to a halt in midfall. Getting heavy machinery to travel over muddy
ground was the challenge faced by Caterpillar Tractor Company—what was learned in product development was
applied to tank technology in World War I. The chapter on Eastman Kodak introduces the concept of a brand name, showing how Eastman promoted the names “Kodak” and “Brownie.”
Return to title list.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car
by Ian Fleming; illustrated by John Burningham
Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 1964
Grades: 6–Adult
Wonderful series of adventures featuring a magical transforming car, an eccentric explorer and inventor, and his 8-year-old twins. It’s a nice combination of technical and scientific information, much of it accurate, with a magical sense of how some machines seem to have a mind of their own. This one definitely does; it flies when it encounters traffic jams, becomes a boat when the tide comes in, senses a trap, and helps catch some gangsters. The inventing challenges in the book relate well to Activity 1.
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Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray
by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin; illustrated by Owen Kampen
McGraw-Hill, New York. 1962
Out of print
Grades: 4–6
Danny and his friend explore various science fair project possibilities. They choose one that demonstrates how airplanes fly. The story includes an explanation of dynamic lift that relates perfectly to Activity 4.
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Glorious Flight
by Alice and Martin Provensen
Viking Press, New York. 1983
Grades: 2–4
This is the true story of Louis Bleriot, a pioneer of aviation, who developed and flew a plane over the English Channel in 1909. The evolution of the various prototypes of flying machines from Bleriot I which “flaps like a chicken,” Bleriot II, a glider without a motor, Bleriot VII, a “real aeroplane that will fly,” to Bleriot XI which makes the 36-minute flight is shown. The charming watercolor illustrations of the French village, the Bleriot family in period costume, and the very rudimentary aircraft emphasize the audacity of the attempt. Relates to Activity 4 of the GEMS guide, which explores principles of aerodynamics. Caldecott award winner.
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Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color
by Mary O’Neill; illustrated by John Wallner
Doubleday, New York. 1961, 1989
Grades: All
Twelve two-page poems of impressions of various colors. The perceptions go far beyond visual descriptions, painting a full spectrum of images. Connects nicely to Activity 5 of the GEMS guide, in which students very carefully observe bubble color changes.
Return to title list.

The Missing ‘Gator of Gumbo Limbo:
An Ecological Mystery

by Jean C. George
HarperCollins, New York. 1992
Grades: 4–7
Sixth-grader Liza K and her mother live in a tent in the Florida Everglades. She becomes a nature detective while searching for Dajun, a giant alligator who plays a part in maintaining a waterhole’s quality, and is marked for extinction by local officials. The ecology of the area is changing along with new populations, condominiums, the draining of the swamps, etc. One of the dangers noted by Liza and her neighbor James James is the presence of PCP (from herbicides) and phosphates (from detergents) in the water. “I checked the detergents in the supermarket to see if the companies really had gotten rid of the phosphates. It’s almost true. Some laundry detergents have less than 0.5 percent, but some still have 5 and 6 percent.” Ties in with Activities 2 and 3 of the GEMS guide, which deal with
chemical composition of bubble solutions.
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The Paper Airplane Book
by Seymour Simon; illustrated by Byron Barton
Viking Press, New York. 1971
Grades: 4–8
Experiments in making paper airplanes with explanations of the aerodynamic principles involved, which connect well to Activity 4
of this GEMS guide.
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The Rejects:
People and Products that Outsmarted the Experts

by Nathan Aaseng
Lerner Publications, Minneapolis. 1989
Grades: 5–10
Part of a quirky series about inventors and innovators. Some of the rejects by “experts” include Graham Crackers, Birdseye, Xerox, and Orville Redenbacher popcorn. Redenbacher had a background in plant breeding and hired a genetics expert to improve upon popcorn.
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Ruby Mae Has Something To Say
by David Small
Crown Publishers, New York. 1992
Grades: 2–6
This zany saga traces Ruby Mae Foote’s path from Nada, Texas, to the United Nations. Her message of world peace cannot be given until Billy Bob, Ruby Mae’s nephew, transforms her tongue-tied and sometimes incomprehensible speech into earthshaking eloquence with a Rube Goldberg-type invention—a hat she wears called the Bobatron. The invention connects quite nicely with the bubble-maker activities. (The photo of the author on the book jacket wearing a Bobatron adds another laugh.)
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Splash! All About Baths
by Susan K. Buxbaum and Rita G. Gelman; illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Little, Brown and Co., Boston. 1987
Grades: K–6
Penguin answers his animal friends’ questions about baths such as, “What shape is water?” “Why do soap and water make you clean?” “What is a bubble?” “Why does the water go up when you get in?” “Why do some things float and others sink?” and other questions. Answers to questions are both clear and simple. American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award winner.
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The Toothpaste Millionaire
by Jean Merrill; illustrated by Jan Palmer
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 1972
Grades: 5–8
Incensed by the price of a tube of toothpaste, twelve-year-old Rufus tries making his own from bicarbonate of soda with peppermint or vanilla flavoring. Assisted by his friend Kate and his math class (which becomes known as Toothpaste l), his company grows from a laundry room operation to a corporation with stocks and bank loans. Beginning on page 47, Rufus designs a machine for filling toothpaste tubes, which relates well to Activity 1 of the GEMS guide.
Return to title list.

The Unsung Heroes:
Unheralded People Who Invented Famous Products

by Nathan Aaseng
Lerner Publications, Minneapolis. 1989
Grades: 5–10
This off-beat book tells the story of various products that changed our world and their originators. Includes Coca-Cola (“Dr. Pemberton’s Backyard Brew”), Bingo, Hoover Vacuum Cleaners (“The Sickly Janitor”), pneumatic tires (Dunlop Corporation), McDonald’s, and others. The archival photographs are great fun and the positive message is that anyone’s crazy idea might be a valid invention. Accompanies Activity 1 nicely, where students become inventors.
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— Alexander Pope
Essay on Man


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Overheard
in a Bubble Chamber
You are
a magnetic monopole
with an intrinsic spin
of your own.
I am a quark
completely charmed.
May we occupy
the same quantum state
forever.


— Lillian Morrison


 

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