Sunday, August 7, 2011

Balloons in Orbit

Dad marched out of his room, a packet of balloons in one hand and a ball of string in another.
"What are you doing Dad?" we asked.
"I'm testing a science experiment for school. I'm going to do rocket balloon races.'

We gathered round as Dad set up his race track: Two pieces of string stretched between two chairs.
"Are you sure the balloons will make it all the way down the hall?"
"Look how big they are. They should easily be able to."

Willing hands held the ends of the balloons as Dad prepared them for launching. Charlotte gripped one balloon, and I held another.
"Ready?" Dad asked. "Count down. Five...Four...Three...Two...One...Launch."
We released the balloons and looked for them to go steaming down the track. Instead they trundled a few inches before blowing out the rest of the air in a silly noise.

We collapsed on the floor, laughing. We'd blown the balloons so big. The track was so long. And they'd travelled...Nowhere.

"Let's try again, but with one bit of straw this time." Dad fixed up the balloons and we were ready again.
"Launch." We let go. The balloons whirled round and round the string before blasting off, only to come to rest halfway down the track.

"Let's put the straws further down the balloons." So we reloaded again.
"Launch." The balloons span round the string even more. We watched in disappointment. Suddenly, they shot off down the track like racing greyhounds. My balloon reach the end easily, but Charlotte's balloon reached the end and just kept going. It tore free of the tape holding it on the straw and went into orbit.

Laughter rang out.
"Let's do that again Dad."

Over and over again we released the balloons until Dad finally said, "Enough."
"Oh," we said. "We were having so much fun."
"You do realise that that was science?"
"Yes, but it was so much fun."
Who says learning can't be fun?

Have you ever done an experiment that turned out unexpectedly funny?


  1. Hi

    My family and I did that science experiment years ago and loved it so much we spanned the lines from a tree on one side of our backyard, to the fence on the other side.

    It was a while ago, but I think we cut the straws in half and put one half at the front of the balloon and one at the back.


  2. We used cotton thread for our zip lines. What kind of string did you use?


  3. The thread we used was more like a rough twine. Now that I think of it, that might be part of the problem. Plus the placement of the straws. Thanks for stopping to comment. You've been really helpful.

  4. Sounds fun! The only thing my family's ever used huge balloons like that was when my little sister and my grandpa used them in a swordfight, and something tells me that doesn't count as a science experiment. Still amusing, though.

  5. Science experiment or not, that sounds like a heap of fun. Maybe I can persuade someone to let me fight with balloons. On second thoughts, probably no one would give them to me!

  6. What a fun experiment, Immy! It's useful having a teacher for a father, isn't it?:)

  7. We certainly get to do a lot of things with Dad around. Though not all of them are quite as fun as flying balloons.