Monday, July 26, 2010

The Screaming Balloon Experiment

Since we've been playing around with sounds, vibrations, and Newton's Laws of Motion lately, it seemed like a good time to show the kids another Steve Spangler experiment - The Screaming Balloon.

It's a fun boredom buster/musical instrument/physics lesson demonstrating Newton's First Law of Motion (an object in motion tends to stay in motion), and centrifugal force (not centripetal force).

If I understand right, when we did the bucket experiment, and T spun the bucket around in a circle, he was exerting centripetal force on the bucket, keeping it from flying off in a straight line, but the force he was feeling, of the bucket trying to pull away from his hand, was centrifugal force. But, check me on that, if I'm wrong.

Anyway, you don't really have to have a complete understanding of centrifugal, or centripetal force, to enjoy this experiment. All you have to have, is a hex nut, and a balloon.

Put the hex nut into the balloon, carefully blow the balloon up (you do not want to accidentally suck in the hex nut), and tie it off.

Then, grasping the balloon on the top, with one hand, spin it in a circular manner, as demonstrated by my four year old below, and listen to the music of the vibrations caused by the edges of the hex nut on the balloon.

My older girls were going to perform a screaming balloon duet, but while I was showing them how it worked, both balloons popped, and everyone became a little balloon shy - so you might want to consider heavy duty type balloons.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Ticia said...

I love how when you told her to stop and let it make it's noise she looked at you like, "why Mom I'm having fun spinning it."

Phyllis said...

Another fun experiment, and I agree with Ticia, she looks like she is having so much fun.

Christy Killoran said...

I still think it's a bit scary when a balloon pops!

Christy Killoran said...

I love the video too! My daughter would love the dress your daughter is wearing. My daughter will only wear dresses and is always admiring other girls' dresses!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Looks like someone really got into this experiment :)

Brimful Curiosities said...

So far all of our balloons are still intact. Yes, you are right, part of the reason why I decided to put them in the garbage bag is because I didn't want them to pop without some sort of protection. Did the hex nut go flying in the air for your girls when the popping occurred?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Brimful Curiousities - The nut basically just fell straight down, but the sting of the balloon popping in their hands, ended their desire to spin any others :)