Balls Bouncing Off the Walls

By: Tim Wright

On Saturday, November 28 at the Olney Library in Olney, MD, kids were literally bouncing off the walls!

Preparing Bouncy BallsMembers of the i-Trek team presented a “Make a Bouncy Ball” program at the Olney Library for 17 kids ages 6-9. They began the program by playing a game where the children became protons or electrons, in order to demonstrate the atoms that make up a molecule of water. Water is made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom (H2O), so the kids were assigned to be either a proton or an electron (hydrogen at
atom consists of 1 proton and 1 electron while an oxygen atom consists of 8 protons and 8 electrons). The “electrons” ran around the “protons” to demonstrate how an atom works.

It is programs like this that show kids how fun science can be, and the more fun they have, the more engaged they will be.

After this, kids sat at tables and got messy!

Each child received a cup, and in it mixed water, borax, corn starch, food dye and glue. After stirring and rolling into a ball, the kids were thrilled with the result — bouncing balls! Gloves were offered to all the participants – those kids who didn’t want to wear gloves ended up with very colorful hands!

Kids then bounced their balls all around the room, while volunteers helped to measure how high their balls bounced — some balls bounced as high as 42 inches! The parents all said that the event was very well organized, and that the kids all had fun. They have seen that they can have a great time while they are learning, and might be more likely to be excited by science than other kids who did not have this great experience. They had a great time and it was truly a worthwhile experience!