Rainbow Activity 1: Balloon Splat

By Farhin Begum

 

This activity explores impacts! How does the height you drop something from affect the splatter it makes? We use different colour water balloons to create fun splatter patterns in your garden.

This can get very messy, so do wear old clothes and definitely do this outside!

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CC-BY science made simple

What you need;

  • 5 balloons
  • 5 different colours of paint
  • cornflour
  • Blue Tack
  • Pin
  • Plate
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Small glass
  • Tape measure

 

 

 

Step 1 – Mix it up

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CC-BY science made simple

Get 1 cup of water, 1 tsp of paint and mix well. Add 1 tbsp of cornflour and mix until smooth. Ask someone to hold the balloon open for you, and tip the mixture inside. Now add water to make a small water balloon (this is best done by putting the balloon onto the end of a tap) and shake well. Repeat this until you get 4 more coloured balloons, filled up and ready.

Step 2 – Get Ready

Get ready to get soaked as you will drop the balloons one by one!

Place a plastic plate/tray/big Tupperware lid on the ground, then put a ball of Blu-tack in the middle, and add a pin sticking up from it.
Slide2Step 3 – Knee Height

Grab your first balloon and drop it at your knee height (it will take a few attempts to get the balloon to finally pop, but be patient).

Once it has popped, get a measuring tape and measure the length and width of the splatter and take note of these measurements. You will need to compare them at the end of the experiment!

 

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Step 4 – Hip Height

Do the same as step 2 but this time drop the 2nd balloon at hip height.

Slide4Step 5 – Shoulder Height

Now drop the 3rd balloon from your shoulder height (just hold it out straight).

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Step 6 – Head Height

Hold the 4th balloon just above your head (obviously don’t drop it on your head) and let it go!

Slide6Step 7 – Tip Toes

Get your last balloon then get up on your tip toes, reach as high as you can and… DROP!

You can see the difference as you go higher that the splatter gets bigger.

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When the balloons are held higher they have the potential to release energy, we call this gravitational potential energy. When you drop the balloons they are pulled down to the ground by the force due to gravity. Some of the gravitational potential energy is turned into moving energy, we call this kinetic energy. The higher the balloon, the more gravitational potential energy it has so the balloon will hit the floor with a bigger force. When the balloon hits the pin the balloon pops and the potential remaining energy sends the water and paint through the air.

Higher balloon = more energy = bigger splat!


 

 

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Posted in Activity, Exploring Science, Physics, Primary