That's the Way the Ball Bounces: Level 2

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In this activity, learners prepare four polymer elastomers and then compare their physical properties, such as texture, color, volume, density, 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 2" link contains a number of safety guidelines that should be read before doing this activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

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)
  • Saturated sodium silicate solution, Na2SiO3(aq) (12 mL)
  • 50% ethanol solution, C2H5OH(aq) (3 mL)
  • Small disposable plastic cups
  • Plastic stirring rod or wooden stick
  • Tap water
  • Small sealable plastic bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Balance
  • Weighing boats or weighing paper
  • Meterstick and/or metric ruler
  • Small length of string
  • Graduated cylinder


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Heat and Thermodynamics
      • Heat and Temperature
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Chemical Reactions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Atomic Structure
      • Volume and Density
  • 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
  • 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