One Word

A classic, right?

And here is another classic: Adventures with Plastics, by Louis V. Newkirk, Ph.D., copyright 1947.

It seems that making bubble wands out of plastic is not a new idea. Dr. Newkirk’s book has a page dedicated to the art (and craft) of making “bubble rings” out of acrylic plastic. His method entails the use of a clamp, coping saw, plane, scraper, sand paper, dowels, and heat gun. No problem, I will just get them out of the closet.

Need bubble juice? You can make your own solution using glycerine mixed with sulphurated petroleum (MP-189), manufactured (back in the day) by the Du Pont chemical company

Bubble Solution Recipe

This book was originally housed in the Stuyvesant High School library, where it had an impressive run of over fifty check-outs between 1950 and 1982, the last by Patricia O’Conna (?) in 1982.

Enjoy a glimpse inside the world of 1940’s plastics.


The 811Q Café Marie coffee shop

Harshed my Mello

Talk about a downer

Have Pens, Will Travel

I took my “pen and plastics” show on the road, this time to my alma mater, as it were, my “COVID-deployment” school. I am referring to 396K, where I taught science to developmentally-disabled k-4 graders — in person, during the “everyone-else-stayed-at-home” COVID year of 2020-2021.

I was welcomed with open arms and good wishes by the staff and students I knew from the previous year.

Here are students making bubble wands and more.

Wand Designs

Making Sonic

Using the 3Doodler printing pen

Bubble Wands at 811Q

I brought the 3Doodler printing pens and the plastic filament; the students brought their imaginations and bubble-blowing skills!

The activity started with a demonstration of how the pens work, including how to feed the filament in, how to charge the pens, how to turn them on and off, and how to start and stop the extrusion.

Next, I drew a small rectangle on a piece of paper, to use as a template to trace over with the pen. The melted plastic sticks nicely to the paper, and cools in a couple of seconds, so it can be easily peeled off.

It was the students’ turn. They drew shapes on paper, chose three favorite colors of filament, turned on their pens, and pressed the orange button! The trick to getting the plastic to stay true to a design is to press the end of the pen right onto the paper.

Some students got the gist of it right away and started working on their bubble wands.

Other students designed their favorite characters…Sonic anyone?

The students made a variety of wands, some from their imaginations and some from screen shots of wand designs that I had printed from off the internet. 3Doodler has some great 2D and 3D bubble wand ideas.

Here are wands the students made:

The last step was to go outside to the school yard and test them out. I am happy to report that there was 100% success rate for the bubble wands. We used Five Below bubble solution ($1.00 for a big bottle!) and the kids had so much fun!

Thank you Bonnie Glass for these photographs.



These guys rocked the DO! Click the image for the video!

SEL and “Equity Creep”

Who knew that social-emotional learning (SEL) was controversial?

This paragraph (part of a larger essay) is from the Fordham Institute.

“A standard feature of the education landscape are the hundreds—even thousands—of consultants, assessment providers, and curriculum developers acting as camp followers, soaking up the dollars attached to the fads and groupthink. At present, that means adding “equity” to every PowerPoint and sales pitch. Proponents of SEL might be snake-oil hucksters and their customers sold dubious practices, but they’re not architects of an occult plot.”

Long time?

Or short? The negative confuses me.

May 2022