Bubbles and Bulleyes: STEM Mentors enjoy BBBS Summer Picnic

The STEM Mentor Program table and hands-on science experiment at the BBBS Summer Picnic.

The STEM Mentor Program table and hands-on science experiment at the BBBS Summer Picnic.


The STEM Mentor Program display at the BBBS Summer Picnic.

Bubbles, bulls-eyes, and burgers were all on the menu for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester’s annual summer picnic on August 7th at Creative Themes Day Camp in Perinton, New York.    

                               This was the first summer where a portion of BBBS Bigs and Littles were also representing a subgroup of the organization called The STEM Mentor Program.      

The STEM Mentor Program is an innovative partnership between   The Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science (The Center) and BBBS.    

Bigs and Littles in the program have an interest in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) and commit to at least one STEM activity together per month. Littles in the program are in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.   

Pairs in the program are also invited to large group STEM activities throughout the year – like a visit from the Seneca Park Zoomobile and trip to Springdale Farm.   

The STEM Mentors attending the picnic were excited to share their innovative, new, program with their fellow BBBS Bigs and Littles via a display board about the program, a bubble making station, and conversation.    

Creative Themes – whose owner had a son that was once a BBBS “Big” –  was the perfect venue for the picnic as it is teeming with fun activities in the STEM disciplines.   

A STEM Mentor member learns about "trajectories" via archery!

Bigs and Littles had the opportunity to fish in the catch-and-release pond; shoot arrows in the archery area; climb a ropes tower; canoe; hike; and much more.    

In its 27th year as a day camp, two of the philosophies of Creative Themes focus on the natural world: “The natural setting of the outdoors can produce a stimulating learning environment” and “Children need to experience the sounds and beauty of their natural environment.”   

Our STEM Mentor pairs and the other BBBS pairs attending the picnic certainly experienced those philosophies first hand.   

A BBBS "Little" on the ropes course at Creative Themes.


STEM Mentor Program members spend time with the camp owner and his dog.

And in case anyone is interested – here are some homemade bubble recipes from http://www.bubbleblowers.com. Each recipe writer seems to think he/she found just the right concoction! What do you think? Have fun testing them out or creating your own!

National Wildlife Federation Bubble Recipe
1/4 cup liquid dishwashing detergent
3/4 cup cold water
5 drops of glycerin (available in pharmacies)   

Majic’s Bib Bubble Recipe
Fills a gallon milk jug:
11 cups Water
4 cups Ajax dish soap (anti-bacterial works best)
1 cup corn syrup

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin (available in pharmacies)   

Cyndi’s Bubble Recipes
1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar   

Cyndi suggests adding a dab of food coloring for colorful bubbles. Mix the solution and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers).
Marcia’s Formula
1 cup Ultra Ivory Blue
12 cups water
3/4 tablespoon glycerin (available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)
Marcia says: “Gently stir the ingredients together and leave the solution in an open container overnight. We believe that this gives the alcohol on the dishwashing soap a chance to evaporate some. In any case, the solution seems to get better with age. If you substitute some other soap for Dawn, you will have to experiment with the rest of the formula… but that’s the fun of science!”
Article and photos by Caurie Miner Putnam – STEM Mentor Program Coordinator for the Rochester Area Colleges Center for Excellence in Math and Science.








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