Skewer a balloon science activity | Fizzics Education


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Skewer a balloon

Skewer a balloon

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need:

  • A sharp wooden skewer.
  • A balloon filled with air.
  • Adult supervision.


Skewer a balloon science experiment - materials needed
1 Skewer a balloon science experiment - teachers looking through the balloon

Blow up a balloon – make sure that you don’t blow it up too large.

Tie the end of the balloon.

2 Skewer a balloon science experiment - pushing the skewer through the balloon

Holding the balloon at the tied end, carefully push the wooden skewer through the opposite side. You should push the skewer through the centre of the darkest part of the end of the balloon, i.e. where the balloon is least stretched, opposite the tied end. You may have to try it a few times to get it right but with practice, you should be able to get the skewer through most times.

3 Skewer a balloon science experiment - wooden skewer completely through balloon

Now push the skewer through to the tied end of the balloon and gently push the skewer point all the way through. Show it to your class, they’ll love it!

4 Skewer a balloon science experiment - skewer protruding through the balloon

Now, they have to work out why you can do it!

5 A man pointing at a bicycle wheel spinning horizontally on a desk (balancing by itself)

Get the Unit of Work on Forces here!

  • Push, pull
  • Friction & spin!

From inertia to centripetal force, this unit covers many concepts about Newton’s Laws!

Includes cross-curricular teaching ideas, student quizzes, a sample marking rubric, scope & sequences & more

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6 A student holding a paint roller with toilet paper flying off it due to a leaf blower.
7 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

Online courses for teachers & parents

– Help students learn how science really works

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Why Does This Happen?

There are areas of the balloon that are more stretched than others.

If you try to pierce the balloon from the side, where it is most stretched, the balloon rubber will tear itself apart due to the elastic tension over the rubber. It is best to pierce the balloon from the bottom, or top, where the rubber has less elastic tension. The rubber itself will grip onto the skewer due to friction.

This is a great way to show that science can be found in sorts of places, even in sideshow acts where a magician uses ‘magic’ to get a skewer through a balloon.

Variables to test

  • Try different types of balloons. Can you do this with the cheaper, thinner balloons?
  • Try different types of skewers of different widths.

A man with a glove above a liquid nitrogen vapour cloud

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