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How Can Gravity Make Something Go Up?

Source Institutions

    Colorado State University

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How Can Gravity Make Something Go Up?

In this activity, learners use cheap, thin plastic garbage bags to quickly build a solar hot air balloon. In doing so, learners will explore why hot air rises. Learners can use a hair dryer to enhance the effectiveness of their balloon.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Cheap, thin (.5 mil, at most!) black plastic garbage bags
  • Masking or transparent tape
  • Hair dryer (optional)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
      • Thermodynamics and Entropy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Outdoor Activity
  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Little Shop of Physics, ©2009


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