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14 Balloon Science Activities

Engaging student science doesn't always require specialty materials. These hands-on STEM projects all use balloons!

Photo collage of seven balloon based science projects

Hands-on Science with Ballons. Hands-on STEM with Science Buddies. www.sciencebuddies.org

K-12 Science Projects and Activities

Balloons can be used in a wide range of student hands-on science projects. From powering a car or propelling a hovercraft to enabling exploration of rocket science, kids can experiment with physics, aerodynamics, and more using ordinary balloons.

These Science Buddies projects, activities, and Lesson Plans use balloons:

  1. An Uplifting Project—The Buoyancy of Balloons: experiment to find out how quickly balloons lose their lift over time.
  2. Balloon Morphing: How Gases Contract and Expand: investigate how gases expand and contract with temperature.
  3. Balloon-Powered Car Challenge: design and build a balloon-powered car that will travel as far and fast as possible. You can use Google's Science Journal app with this project for added tech fun!
  4. How Does a Hovercraft Hover?: build a mini hovercraft and investigate how the amount of air in the balloon affects how long the hovercraft hovers.
  5. Racing to Win That Checkered Flag: How Do Gases Help?: explore the science behind why race car tires are filled with nitrogen gas.
  6. Rubbing Up Against Static Electricity: see how the number of times you rub wool on a balloon increases or decreases how long the static charge will last.
  7. Stretchy Balloon Science: learn more about the stretchiness of materials used for balloons.
  8. How Fish Sink and Float: use a balloon to model how a fish's swim bladder helps keep it buoyant.
  9. Balloon Magic with Bernoulli's Principle: experiment to see what happens to two balloons when you blow air between them through a cardboard tube.
  10. Why Soda Fizzes — Boyle's Law Demonstration: investigate to see how a gas changes volume depending on its pressure.
  11. How Do We Breathe?: use balloons as part of a model lung to explore how the air flows in and out of the lungs.
  12. Build A Vortex Cannon!: use balloons and cups to create a simple air cannon.
  13. Balloon Car Lesson Plan (Lesson Plan): explore the engineering design process and kinetic and potential energy by building and racing balloon-powered cars.
  14. Two-Stage Balloon Rocket (Lesson Plan): build a multi-stage balloon rocket and explore rocket science and Newton's laws of motion.

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