Bubble Plasma Membrane Demo

Well, my New Year's Resolution was to start adding posts to this blog to share my ideas...it's now February so I better get my act together :)
Good old Punxsuatawney Phil gave us a few more weeks of winter, so better make the most of it and have a little fun indoors.
A great way to do this is to play with bubbles and bubbles (I think) are THE perfect tool when trying to teach the properties of the plasma membrane.

Using two straws, make a frame to use as your bubble maker:

Once the frame is complete, mix up some bubble solution in a cookie sheet or tray and start your Plasma Membrane demonstrations such as...flexible boundaries

...or semi-permeable membranes...

...or really get a reaction from the students when you demonstrate embedded proteins by taking a piece of looped thread, placing it on the bubble solution and popping the inner circle to represent a protein channel. Also, move the thread loop around to help explain to students that the cell membrane can "repair" itself when the proteins move around the membrane.

Students can also complete this activity in groups - I give students directions on how to complete each activity, then I have them summarize the comparison between the behavior of the soap bubble to that of a plasma membrane in their Life Science Interactive Notebooks.  You can find this activity and more in the Life Science Interactive Notebook - Cells: Structure and Function chapter of my Interactive Notebook series.

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