Science with Shields: Episode #4 – Bouncy Ball

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ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how to make homemade bouncy balls.

What you need: 

  • Borax (1 teaspoon)
  • Elmer’s Glue (8 oz)
  • Warm Water (4 oz)
  • Cornstarch (1 tablespoon)
  • Plastic Spoon
  • Two cups for mixing
  • Food Coloring (optional)

Instructions:

First, you will want to take a cup to create the Borax mixture. In this cup, you will mix 4 ounces of warm water with a teaspoon of Borax. Use the plastic spoon to mix and make sure all the borax dissolves in the water.

Next in the other cup, you will want to add a tablespoon of glue. We used a fun blue glue, but normal Elmer’s glue will work. If you would like to make the bouncy ball a different color, you can add a few drops of food coloring.

In the cup with the glue, also add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.

Carefully, take the cup with the Borax mixture and add it to the cup with the glue and cornstarch.

Next, you will want to wait about 20 seconds to allow all these ingredients to react with each other.

After 20 seconds, mix everything with a spoon. As you’re mixing, it will get to the point where you will not be able to mix any longer. Once this happens take the contents out of the cup and use your hands to mold it into a ball. You will want to keep molding until it is smooth.

Hooray! You have made your own bouncy ball! It will work for a week or two as long as you save it in a plastic bag. However, since it is a polymer, it will lose shape in the bag, just reform it when you want to play!

Try out your bouncy ball on different surfaces and see where you can get the best bounce, is it on carpet, a countertop or hardwood floors?

Science

This bouncy ball experiment is a lot like the Oobleck, and Slime experiment. Once again, we are experimenting polymers.

Polymers are large chains of molecules that contain a lot of monomers. Some other polymers are starch, DNA, rubber, and plastic.

The borax and glue create a chain of molecules that stick together, which is a polymer. This specific reaction also will create elasticity that allows the ball to bounce. We add the cornstarch to help the ball keeps its shape.

Polymers allow for flexibility, so the ball is round and when you bounce it off the floor, it goes flat for a second before it returns back to its round shape.

Tune in on Tuesday’s at 10:30 AM for more Science with Shields experiments you can try at home.

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