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Screaming Balloon

Source Institutions

    Twin Cities Public Television

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Screaming Balloon

In this quick activity (page 1 of the PDF under SciGirls Activity: Extreme Sounds) about sound vibrations, learners will investigate which small objects, such as coins, hex nuts, or marbles, produce the loudest “screams” when swirled inside an inflated balloon. Learners will not only listen for volume level, but also try to carefully record and explain the differences in sound and volume. Relates to the linked video, DragonflyTV: Extreme Sounds.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • balloons (10-12” when inflated)
  • small objects such as a penny, dime, quarter, hex nut, marble, or pea rock


  • Life Sciences
    • Human Senses and Perception
      • Hearing
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Sound
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • About Inquiry
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group
    • Highlights STEM opportunities for this group
    • Identifies role models or mentors in STEM fields from this group
    • Uses inclusive images of people from this group


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection:

  • DragonflyTV


  • All Rights Reserved, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc., ©2005

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 436260


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