"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

03 July 2015

Science Club: Hot Air Balloons

For our second science club, we studied how hot air balloons work. I followed the same format as before: explanation, video, instructions, experiment.  I also added a looping slideshow on our projector that advertised upcoming library events, which gave people something to look at as they waited for the program to start and also allowed me to promote the many things we have going on for kids and families this summer.

The experiment this time was pretty open-ended: given a helium balloon with a ribbon attached, create a basket that you can attach to the string.  Make it light enough that the balloon still floats. For kids who finish that, I encouraged them to add "passengers" to their baskets - in this case the passengers were pennies that I brought in for them to use.

I gave each table a box of scissors, markers, glue sticks, craft sticks, tape, pipe cleaners, and string, and I also supplied both sheets of aluminum foil and standard printer paper.  It was really neat to watch the way the kids worked.  Everyone had different ideas of what to do and how to make the best "basket."

One parent said, "So, are you going to show us how to do it?" I didn't. I wanted everyone to find out what worked best, and that's better done when I stay out of they way. I gave suggestions to frustrated kids and took pictures of successes.  In the end, everyone left with a helium balloon attached to some manner of basket, and they learned a lot about how the lift of an object can be impeded by the weight of another object.

You can access my hot air balloon slides here.

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