Ready for a Halloween lesson that is exciting, fun, thrilling and educational? This Halloween STEM activity is the answer! Perfect for the classroom, homeschool, or Halloween Party. This activity teaches kids about the physics behind Newton’s Laws of Motion. All while getting kids up and moving, laughing and most of all having fun! Halloween Balloon Races is the STEM activity everyone needs to do this year!
Halloween STEM Balloon Races
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With Halloween season upon us the kids are EXCITED! And when they get excited they get hyper and those little bodies need to move. This is the perfect time to do some activities that get the kids up and moving while learning.
Balloon races are always a huge hit around here. We have done them as part of a physics unit study, for Thanksgiving (Racing Turkeys!), for Christmas (Rudolf Races!), and even Valentine’s Day (Cupid’s Arrow Races!).
So it was really only a matter of time before the kids announced that we needed to do a spooky Halloween Balloon race with ghosts and creepy spiders zipping around!
Hint: This STEM activity makes a fantastic Halloween Party Game!
Balloon Race Science
(Newton’s Law Physics Lesson)
When you blow up the balloon in our Halloween Races you are filling it up with air that is under pressure. When the air escapes from the balloon the escaping air exerts thrust or force on the balloon which propels it forward. The air escapes backward – the balloon races forward. Action – reaction. Or more formally known as Newton’s Third Law of Motion.
For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.Newton’s Third Law of Motion
But what impact can certain variables have on this reaction? Turns out these questions move us into exploring Newton’s Second Law of Motion.
The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.Newton’s Second Law of Motion
Did your kids eyes just all glaze over? All is not lost! Simply put, the second law states that the acceleration of an object is dependent upon two variables – the net force acting upon the object and the mass of the object.
If we use more force, an object will move faster. The heavier an object the slower it moves, unless even more force is applied.
This experiment is perfect for demonstrating this law. The kids will learn quickly that how they decorate their balloon, and how much they blow it up, affects the outcome of the race.
Sounds like the perfect time for a hands-on, inquiry based lesson!
Balloons in Halloween colours (white, black, orange)
Tissue paper, fake spider webs & spiders, and other crafting supplies to decorate
Straws (plastic or go eco-friendly with paper straws!)
Kitchen bag clips
Anchor points – could be chairs, tables or even people holding the string
Halloween STEM Balloon Races
The thing we love about this Halloween STEM activity is that it is so easy to do! You will be laughing and learning in no time.
Check out this quick video!
All you need is some string, straws, tape, balloons and some spooky Halloween decorations for your balloons. You will also want some kitchen clips to help keep the balloons inflated while you decorate them.
After blowing up your balloon, clamp the end so no air escapes. Now is when kids can get creative and make their balloon spooky fun! We used tissue paper to make a ghost balloon, then fake spider webs and spiders to make a flying spider balloon. Encourage the kids to get creative with their spooky balloon designs!
Once you have decorated your balloon and it is sufficiently spooky, simply tape a straw to the top and run a string through the straw.
Anchor the ends of the string to chairs or something similar. When you are ready remove the clip and you are off to the races!
Set up multiple tracks to have races in your classroom or at your Halloween Party and make it a spooky, fun game!
To dig in deeper into Newton’s Laws challenge the students to bring some math into the activity, and explore the physics of this experiment. Yes this project is tons of fun, but it is also educational!
Start by weighing the balloons, then measure the distance travelled. Plot the results and see how weight affected the performance of your Halloween Balloons.
You can also use a stop watch and time your balloons and see how mass affected the speed and length of time the balloon travelled.
Most of all, have fun exploring physics, sciences and STEM this Halloween!