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Ice Balloons

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    The Exploratorium

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Ice Balloons

In this activity, learners will explore globes of frozen water to learn how to ask and then answer 'investigable' questions. The activity web page includes a short video demonstration. Also available are a concept map and a "Going Further" web page that suggests variations and extensions on this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 7 days

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Cafeteria-style plastic tray
  • 9” round balloons (made into ice balloons at least 2 days in advance)
  • flashlight
  • hand lens
  • sticky notes
  • pens
  • wood & metal objects (like toothpicks & paper clips)
  • salt
  • food coloring
  • plastic tub for water (big enough to hold a couple ice balloons and enough water to allow them to float)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat Transfer
    • States of Matter
      • Changes of Phase
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • 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


Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, The Exploratorium, ©2007

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, DUE-0532756

Related Video:


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