It’s tough to believe that this is something we still have to tell kids, but hey, science is fun! To put it in over-simplified terms, science is observing and learning about the ways in which the world works, and our planet and the components that inhabit it can be pretty fascinating. Sometimes, high school science class can be more about reading up on mitochondria than doing cool lab experiments, but earlier this year, apparent science teacher Dan Clinch decided to let his students have some fun by becoming firebenders from Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In a video taken from his classroom (via Sploid), a group of 11 students stand around with cupped hands full of bubbles before Clinch holds a lighter to the first student’s hand. Once the bubbles ignite and turn the kid’s hand into a ball of flame, he passes the fire to the student next to him, and so on until all 11 kids have touched it and the last one mic-drops it.
The clip itself doesn’t provide much context, although the title suggests that part of the bubbles’ composition involves propane. The commenters of the Reddit post that seems to have popularized this clip have explained what’s probably going on here, though: Propane gas was blown into a container of soap to create the bubbles filled with flammable gas, so when the head from the flame bursts the soap bubbles, the gas inside ignites. Water or soap on the kids’ hands seems to protect them so long as they don’t keep the fire on their hands for too long, to prevent the domino reaction from reaching their palms.
Before trying this at home, though, heed the cautionary tale of another Reddit commenter:
“My 9th grade science teacher was doing the same trick at the front of the class tossing the bubbles and lighting them mid-air, but didn’t notice that a series of bubbles had escaped and stuck themselves to the roof. The resulting conflagration spread backdraft style across the roof, but luckily the water system wasn’t triggered. We all solemnly promised not to tell anyone, in exchange for couple of pizzas for the class the following week.”
Featured image: Nintendo