That's the Way the Ball Bounces: Level 1

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In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their physical properties, such as texture, color, size, and bounce height. This activity is a fun way for learners to become more familiar with polymers and their uses. Safety note: The "Teacher Notes for Level 1" link contains a number of safety guidelines that should be read before doing this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Elmer's White Glue-All (30 mL)
  • Elmer's Blue Glue Gel (30 mL)
  • Borax powder, Na2B4O7•10H2O (1 g)
  • Liquid latex rubber, from local craft or hobby store (15 mL)
  • 5% acetic acid solution, CH3COOH(aq), (household vinegar) (15 mL)
  • Small disposable plastic cups
  • Plastic stirring rod or wooden stick
  • Tap water
  • Small sealable plastic bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Ruler (for finding bounce height and diameter)
  • Scale (for finding mass)
  • Length of string (for finding circumference)
  • Teaspoon (for measuring materials)
  • Tablespoon (for measuring materials)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
      • Circles
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Toys


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • smell
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • McDonald, Lauri ; Sullivan, Ann


  • All rights reserved, Polymer Science Learning Foundation, 2001

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation RET Grant