When balloons are involved, it's easy to get lost in the math. After all, they're the most popular toys in the world for a reason: They're fun! But even when they're not inflating your child's favorite teddy bear, balloons can still be an educational tool. For instance, they're a good way to show students how gravity and atmospheric pressure affect an object's lift capacity.
And they're also useful in teaching kids how to calculate acceleration, which is the change in velocity divided by the time it takes to go from one point to another. So when you're ready to bring a little bit of science into your classroom, try these fun experiments using helium-filled balloons.
How many balloons to lift a baby
As long as the object weighs less than itself, any number of standard-sized helium balloons will be able to lift it. That's because helium is the second lightest element in the universe, so it has a very low density.
In fact, a single cubic foot of helium is enough to lift about 0.067 pounds. So to lift a child, you'd need about 48 standard 11-inch balloons.
If you're interested in learning more about the science of balloons, check out this blog post from Dominik Czernia, a molecular physicist who has developed a calculator that allows people to see how many standard-sized helium balloons it would take to lift various objects. Or you can try your hand at constructing a giant balloon sculpture like the one from Up, where the crotchety character Carl tied thousands of balloons to his house and took off on his epic journey.