Friday, September 13, 2013

B for Bounce

See what we did for other letters in the Alphabet in Simple Science.

B for Bounce
Experiment Ideas
Bounce Test
Meter stick, a bunch of balls, masking tape, a stool.


Basically, I taped a meter stick to the wall and had Xander drop a bunch of balls.  We used balls of different shapes, materials, and sizes.  I showed him how to hold the ball away from him, so it would not hit the stool.  I also had him drop the ball from the height of the top of the meter stick each time (he is too young to understand experimental controls, but that does not mean I should eliminate them).  I sat on the floor and watched the balls bounce.  After each ball, I wrote the type of ball on a piece of masking tape and taped it to the wall, marking how high it bounced.  The bouncy ball ended up being our highest bouncer!
He had an absolute blast dropping the balls!  He was upset when he got home from daycare to find all of the supplies put away.
I had him drop two ball pit balls of different colors for comparison.
The Conversation:
Throughout the experiment I asked him what he was seeing.  "Did it bounce?  Did it bounce high or low?"  After the first couple of drops, I started asking him to make predictions.  "Do you think this ball will bounce higher or lower than the soccer ball?"  Afterwards, I'd ask him whether or not he was right, or to compare the bounce to one from another ball.  For the two colors of ball pit balls, I asked him if he thought the color would make a difference.

He is too young to understand units of measure.  The meter stick was more a frame of reference.  Instead, we talked about relatives heights.  We looked at each piece of masking tape and compared it to the others.  I was very pleased he was able to understand that the tape represented how high the balls bounced, since it is a little abstract.

For older kids you could definitely bring in the units of measure!  You could also compare dropping the same ball on different types of surfaces.  Using multiple trials of each drop would also increase the validity of results.

Bouncing on the bed.
We also took the bouncy ball and bounced it on different surfaces to see where it would bounce.  Before he dropped it I would ask him whether or not he thought it would bounce.

Bouncing Bubbles
I've seen a variety of recipes for "bouncing bubbles" on Pinterest.  Some used glycerin and some used corn syrup.  In order to compare, we made both, using the base recipe form Steve Spangler Science.
Water (we used distilled), dish soap, corn syrup, glycerin, cotton gloves, bubble wands or straws

Mix the following and let sit for 24 hours:
1 cup distilled water
2 T dish soap
1 T glycerin or corn syrup
I labeled the two so we could compare
Blow bubbles!!!  Sorry we didn't get better pictures of the bounces, they were hard to hold onto!  Really, we didn't have much of a scientific procedure to compare.  We could not really tell the difference between the two kinds.  They seemed to make bubbles about the same and bounce about the same.  In the future, I'll just use whatever I happen to have on hand!
The bottom of the bounce.
Someone got a little foamy.

Homemade Bouncyball Experiment
As part of our B for Bounce week, I thought it might be fun to make bouncy balls.  I found a recipe online using water, cornstartch, borax, and glue (I'm not going to include the link or actual recipe, because it didn't work).  To add some extra fun, I thought it would be fun to make one regular size one double batch.
Tasting the cornstarch. 
Stirring it up. 
 When we bounced the "balls" before drying, they were a little bouncy, but wouldn't hold their shape..  They kept flattening out on the counter, so I tried putting them in rounded containers to dry.
 Unfortunately, that still didn't help.  The part exposed to the air got all crunchy and hard.
All in all, it was a flop of an experiment, but that doesn't mean we didn't learn anything.  We still had some good conversations and we learned what didn't work (which is usually what scientists do in the real world anyway).  I'm glad we tried it.

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