Screaming Balloons – A Fun Science Experiment!

October 17, 2008

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Looking for a fun and easy science experiment to spice up your homeschool day?

We love Steve Spangler’s science website!  We especially like the science experimentssection, where the experiments are grouped by category and have great instructions, pictures, and videos. 

The site is commercial and sells all kinds of science equipment, but they offer excellent free resources.  Plus, I think the products are great gift ideas as alternatives to more toys. 

This morning we did the very easy and fun “Screaming Balloons” experiment.  All you need are a few balloons, various hex nuts, and a penny for contrast:

 

 

 

(The kids were dancing because the deck was cold and they are in bare feet – Autumn, please don’t go yet!)

‘Make it a lesson’ ideas:

  • Discuss what force is and how it is generated using mass and acceleration.  Demonstrate by hitting one of the balloons. 
  • Discuss how changing the mass, changes the force:  Vary the mass you hit it with but keep the acceleration the same – for example, hit the ballon with a small paper clip versus a book. 
  • Discuss how changing the acceleration changes the force:  Vary the acceleration – hit it slowly with your hand and then quickly.
  • To introduce how vibration is generated in this experiment, roll a plate on it’s edge across the table and listen to the lack of noise it makes versus trying to roll a clunky object like a book, end-over-end across the table.  Put a penny in one of the balloons to demonstrate the lack of vibration.

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4 Comments »

2 Comments so far

  1. Faith October 27, 2008 11:05 pm

    Looks like the kids enjoyed making noises even more than learning about mass and… what was it you said? I was too busy jumping and having fun!

    We recently did a balloon experiment as well, one that showed how air expands when it gets warm. We put an empty soda bottle in a sink full of ice-cold water, then put a balloon over the top of the bottle. Then we put the bottle in another sink full of hot water and watched the balloon blow up. Even my teens liked that experiment.

  2. Mamacita October 17, 2008 1:32 pm

    My family loves everything about Steve Spangler, and his experiments are more educational than anything the kids ever had in school. I love it that your family loves him, too!

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