Home School Balloon Project

Caution: Balloons are fun toys but can be dangerous like all toys…Would you please make sure small children do not chew balloons or have access to broken bits? We want all our kids to grow healthy and happy. I ask you to be responsible like a professional balloonist. Adult supervision is recommended.

Here are three homeschool projects that teach kids math using balloons.

Project 1 – Fractions

Project 2 – Math Symboles

Project 3 – Fraction & Decimals

Project 1

Material Need: 1 bag of 260 twisting balloons and a ruler. We are working with 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and wholes.

This project will require the student to count, add, distinguish colors, measure and calculate the number of parts. Students will work with fractions and or decimal conversion.

  1. Open the bag of balloons and separate the balloons by color
  2. Set aside all defective balloons in a separate pile 
  3. How many parts (colors) make up the bag of balloon?
  4. Use the bag count (100) how many balloon are blue?  Show the answer as a fraction and or decimal. Advanced students can use the true balloon count.
  5. Write the number of balloons as a fraction and / or decimal. To do this, put the number in each group over the total number of balloons ie  15/100 or .15
  6. What is the average number of balloons in each group?
  7. How long are the balloons in inches and centimeters?
  8. How wide are the balloons in inches and centimeters?
  9. How many balloon piles are prime colors?
  10. What two colors combined will make green?
  11. What was the faction of defective balloons?  Can you convert this to a decimal?
  12. If you are making a balloon sculpture and you need 120 yellow balloons and 70 red balloons, how many bags of balloons would you have to buy to have enough balloons to make the sculpture?
  13. How long is a balloon prior to inflation? How long is the balloon inflated? Letting the balloon deflate, how long is the balloon now?
  14. How much did the balloon stretch by?

Balloon Sizes
Balloons come in different sizes and are denoted by a manufactures numbering system.  The first number represents the diameter in inches, and the second number refers to its length. Typically, balloon entertainers use the 260 twisting balloons.  These balloons are 2-inches in diameter and 60-inches long.  While other balloon sizes like 160, 321, 350, 360, and 646’s are used for detail or making enormous balloon animals. 

646Q Giant Airship
160Q or 160B Balloon (1″ x 60″)
260Q or 260B Balloon (2″ x 60″)
350Q or 360B Balloon (2″ x 50″ to 60″)
321Q Balloon (3″ x 21″)
When a balloon is uninflected, its colors can be deceiving. Dark purple, green, and brown balloons can look like black balloons.

To help distinguish the different colors, stretch the balloon nozzle over your finger in bright light or fluorescent lighting. This will show you the actual color of the balloon.

Project 2 – Mathematical Symbols

Material Need: 4-260 twisting balloons.

This worksheet will help the student to understand basic geometric shapes regarding mathematics symbols. The final exercise uses 3-260 balloons to develop a three balloon sphere.

Use a 260 balloon for this exercise.

  1. Inflate a balloon living about 1” tail?  What geometric curve did the balloon take when inflated?
  2. Take the balloon and tie the nozzle to the tail.  What shape did you create?  What is the numeric value? What letter of the alphabet does it represent?
  3. Take the balloon and fold/divide it in half.   At the fold, carefully pinch and twist one side of the balloon.  This will create two segments.  If two lines are above each other, what is its mathematical symbol?
  4. If two lines directly above each other and are equal desistance between each other, it is called a _______________ line?
  5. Take hold of the balloon at the tied nozzle and the opposite twisted section. Bring the balloon together to form an ellipse. The ellipse shape will look like what American/Canadian sport ball?
  6. Take the balloon and the tied nozzle and the opposite twisted section and bring the points together.  Twisted the balloon around each point to create what numeric value?
  7. If you turn the newly formed shape counter clock wise to a 45 degree angle and draw an imaginary line in between the two circles. What mathematical symbol would you have?
  8. If this was a fraction 0 divided by 0. What is the answer?
  9. If you turn the newly formed shape so it represented the number eight and drew an imaginary horizontal line between the 0’s. What mathematical sign would you have?  
  10. If you take the newly formed shape and place it on its side you have what mathematical symbol is created?

How to create a balloon sphere using 3-260 balloons

Balloon Ball

Start by inflating a balloon 95%, leaving a small tip at the end of the balloon. Release the nozzle to let out some air from the balloon or burp the balloon.  This will prevent the balloon from popping.

Tie the front nozzle to the end tail, which creates a big circle.  Tie the ends together just like if you’re tying a knot in your shoe.  Repeat these steps and make two more balloon circles. In total, you will have three balloon circles.

Take one circular balloon and fold the balloon making two parallel lines. One side is the tied ends. Opposite that is a folded balloon. Grab the folded balloons with your fingers, give them a pinch, and twist one side of the balloon. This will create two parallel lines or two huge bubbles. They should look like too big lips.

Take the two twist locations on opposite ends and bring them together.  Twist the two big circles in opposite directions creating a figure eight. Fold the figure eight in half. The finished product will have circles lying on top of each other.  Place your arm in the circle to prevent the balloon from untwisting. 

Take a second balloon circle, repeat the previous process and make a second figure eight. Take this balloon and fold it in half to create two balloons lying on top of each other.  Now, take the first double circle balloon and insert the second double-balloon into the first.

Take a second balloon circle, repeat the previous process and make a second figure eight. Take this balloon and fold it in half to create two balloons lying on top of each other.  Now, take the first double circle balloon and insert the second double-balloon into the first.

Take the last circle balloon (third balloon) and fold and twist it like the first two, but do not make the figure eight.  Looking at the balloon ball as is… You have a double circle stuffed inside another circle. Hold the balloon so you can see through half the inner circle.  Take the flatten circle balloon (third balloon) and push it through that hole. This will lock or prevent the circles from coming apart.  Wrap the balloon around and pull through the other circle on the opposite side.  Tie the nozzle of the beginning of the parallel balloon to the end of the parallel balloon.  This will create a circle locking the other two circles together.

Balloons animals have some mortal enemies like pins, grass, hot objects, and rough play by youngsters. 

Lesser know enemies are high humidity and direct sunlight.  Humidity and sunlight break down the latex balloon faster and can make balloon twisting challenges.

Project 3 – Half of a ½ of a .50

Material Need: 3-260 twisting balloons, ruler, and a marker.

Working with 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and wholes.

Working with 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and wholes. This homeschool curriculum will help develop the student’s understanding of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and wholes. The final exercise uses 3-260 balloons to develop a 3 balloon flower.

Inflate 1-260 balloon and burp*, leaving ½ inch tail. Tie the ½ tail to the nozzle of the balloon making a circle. Divide the balloon into two equal segments. How many segments/balloons are there? Write this as a fraction and as a decimal.

Using the balloon above. Take a segment and twist that in half. How many ½ segments make up a whole segment?

Take the second segment and divide it in half. How many ½ segments do you have altogether? Using a marker and number each segment one through four. Write each segment as a fraction. What is the decimal value for each segment?

Twist segments one and two together. If segments one and two are combined, who much of the balloon remains?

Fold the balloon in half. So segments one and two layers on top of each segment three and four (figure a). Using two hands push the twisted end together (figure b). While holding them together twist the top half balloons in the counterclockwise direction one full revolution. (figure c)  This will lock the interesting balloon bubbles together.    

balloon figure eight

Make the balloon and fold it in half again, making the twist wrap around the other section. This creates a plus sign. Name each section in fractions and decimals.

Figure A
Figure B
Figure C

Where the two line cross is called ________________ section.

Create a second balloon like the first. Fold it in half, then half again, and twist together. How many segments does the second balloon have?

Take the two balloons that like plus signs and twist the two intersections together. You have combined a four-segment balloon with another four-segment balloon. How many segments do you have?

Write each segment name in faction on the balloon segment.

4/8 in really what fraction. How many balloons is 4/8?

Using the 8 segment balloon. If each segment is worth $0.25 how much money would you have?

Using a new balloon. Inflate and measure its length, rounding to the nearest whole number. If the balloon is divided in ½ how long is each section?

If we assume the balloon is 60 inches long and each segment or quarter is 15 inches long? How long is a ¾ of a balloon?

Using the 8 segment balloon turn every other 1/8 balloon a quarter turn.* Burping: Releasing a small amount of air from a balloon after inflation and before tying … this softens the balloon and can make it easier to twist and easier to tie.

How to Create a Flower

Inflate a 260 balloon and burp the balloon to leave a 1/2 inch tail. Tie the tail to the nozzle creating a circle. Take the balloon and fold it into four segments. Make a second balloon like the first. Intersect the two balloons to create an eight-segment balloon flower. Take every other 1/8 segment and give it a quarter twist.

Inflate a third balloon ¾ of the way. Find the ½ waypoint. Find the ½ waypoint from the nozzle to the balloon center. Twist these points together. Find the ½ waypoint from the twisted center to the remaining balloon. Twist the newly created center to the ½ waypoint. This will create the stem of the flower. Take the remaining balloon tail and twist the tail into the intersection of the 1/8 and ¼ segment so the 8 petal flower. Wrap around one to two times to secure the stem to the flower

* Releasing a small amount of air from a balloon after inflation and before tying … this softens the balloon and can make it easier to twist and easier to tie.

Carefully tie the balloon. When twisting a balloon, always start at the end with the knot. Do not worry, it will not break if you twist it, but you must hold on to both ends of the balloon. Otherwise, the balloon will untwist.

The balloon will not stay twisted by itself. You have to twist the balloon together.

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Home School Balloon Project
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Home School Balloon Project
This detailed article show parent how to use a twisting balloon to teach math, i.e., factions, math symbols, and a tool to show factions vs. decimals.
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Balloon Animals Blog
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