Fly a Hot-Air Balloon

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Learners assemble a hot-air balloon from tissue paper. The heated air (from a heat gun) inside the balloon is less dense than the surrounding air and causes the balloon to float. Use this activity to introduce learners to density and convection currents. Adult supervision recommended when using the heat gun.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • 30 sheets of tissue paper (22 in. by 28 in. each)
  • File folders or poster board
  • Hot air gun (note: hair dryers don't usually get hot enough)
  • Pipe cleaners
  • String
  • Glue stick
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil
  • Template


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Volume and Density

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Toys
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access