Educational Resources Lets Talk Science Challenge participants

Children bouncing basketballs

Children bouncing basketballs (FatCamera, iStockphoto)

Objects that Bounce

Digital Programs Team
Format
Text,  Images
Science
Characteristics of Objects
Properties of Materials

Summary

Students develop and apply comparing & contrasting, observing and predicting as they investigate the properties of familiar objects and materials.

Overview

Using an assortment of balls and spherical objects, students will first predict if they will bounce and then make observations and compare and contrast how they bounce.

Timing
45- 60 minutes

Setting The Stage

In this inquiry, students’ prior knowledge is brought into play as they explore what they believe to be true about some familiar objects. Are all balls round? Do all round things bounce? Does an object have to be round to bounce? Students will explore and investigate what it means to “bounce” and how an object’s ability to bounce can be enhanced.

This inquiry could begin from:

  • setting out a collection of balls for students to explore and discuss. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “What did you notice about all of the objects in the bin? How are they the same? How are they different?”
    • “Do all balls bounce? Why do you think that?”
Colourful Super balls
Colourful Super balls (Source: 高橋 宗史 [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons).
  • playing a game of badminton. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “The shuttlecock isn’t round, but it bounces. What other things bounce that are not round? How can we find out?”
Badminton shuttlecocks
Badminton shuttlecocks (Source: Arne Nordmann [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons).
  • exploring the concept of “bounce” in physical education activities. Discuss using questions such as:
    • “Move from one side of the gym to the other like a rabbit (or a frog, kangaroo or Tigger) would move. What words would you use to describe how you moved?” (e.g., hopped, jumped up and down, bounced) “What parts of your body did you use when you bounced?”
    • “How many ways can you bounce the ball?” (e.g., on the floor, off a wall, bounce and catch with a friend, bounce it on a racket or paddle, bounce while walking, etc.)
Rabbit hopping for cover
Rabbit hopping for cover (Source: Evelyn Simak via Wikimedia Commons).
Kangaroo jumping over a puddle of water
Kangaroo jumping over a puddle of water (Source: PankBK [CC BY-SA 3.0] Wikimedia Commons).

Details

Materials
  • a selection of balls (e.g., tennis ball, baseball, basketball, soccer ball, ping pong ball, rubber ball)
  • other spherical objects (e.g., a Styrofoam ball, a ball of plasticine, a ball of aluminum foil, an orange)
  • a selection of materials (such as carpet, tile, wood) and objects (such as a pillow, a thick hardcover book)
  • other objects that bounce (e.g., a shuttlecock, an irregularly-shaped ball)
  • a bin or large basket to hold the objects
Preparation
  • pre-cut a variety of balls in half; for some balls, like a bowling ball, videos are available to see what the interiors of balls look like
  • Look at these pictures of Objects that Bounce for ideas or for supporting classroom discussion
What to Do

Students develop and apply the skills of Comparing and Contrasting, Observing and Predicting as they investigate the properties of familiar objects and materials.

Students:

  • observe and compare and contrast the properties of the objects in the bin (e.g., shape, size, hardness, flexibility, elasticity).
  • predict whether a given object will bounce and explain their predictions.
  • test the objects in a fair way and classify the objects according to their ability to bounce or not bounce.
    • Educators make sure students are testing the objects using a fair test.
  • check their predictions against the results of their inquiry and discuss any discrepancies.
    • Educators provide a simple explanation for why objects bounce.
Students testing and measuring how different balls bounce
Students testing and measuring how different balls bounce (© Let’s Talk Science).

 

Assessment

Observe and document, using anecdotal comments, photos and/or video recordings, students’ ability to:

  • Observe – students use appropriate senses to make observations of the objects in the bin
  • Compare and Contrast – students describe similarities and differences in the objects in the bin based on their observations of the objects’ properties such as shape, size, firmness, flexibility, etc.
  • Predict – students use their observations and prior knowledge to predict whether a given object will bounce or not, and explain their predictions
  • Predict – check their predictions against the results of their inquiry and reflect on any discrepancies
Co-constructed Learning
Students:
Saying, Doing, Representing
Educator:
Responding, Challenging
Students observe and compare and contrast the properties of the objects in the bin (e.g., shape, size, hardness, flexibility)
  • “What are some words that describe how the objects in the bin are similar?”
  • “What are some words that describe how the objects in the bin are different?”
  • “Besides the sense of sight, what other senses helped you to describe the objects?”
  • “What do you wonder about these objects?”
Students predict whether a given object will bounce and explain their predictions.
  • “What do you notice about all of the objects that you’ve predicted will bounce?”
  • “Do only round objects bounce? Why do you think that?”
  • “Of the objects you’ve predicted will bounce, do you think that all of them will bounce to the same height? Will they all bounce the same number of times? Will they all bounce the same way (e.g., straight up and down, to one side or the other)? Why do you think that?”
  • “How will you test how well the objects bounce? What can you do to make sure that your test is fair?”
Students test the objects and classify them according to how well they bounce.
  • “What criteria will we use to determine how well an object ‘bounces’?” (e.g., number of bounces, height of bounces)
  • “How will you make sure that your test of all of the objects is a fair test?”
Students check their predictions against the results of their inquiry and discuss any discrepancies.
  • “How do your predictions compare to your results?”
  • “What surprised you about your prediction about an object? Why were you surprised?”
  • “Which object had the highest bounce? Which one had the lowest bounce? Why do you think this happened?”

 

Cross-curricular Connections

Literacy

  • Explain, in discussions with peers and/or educators, how their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and representing help them make sense of what they read and/or hear (e.g., what does it mean when someone says an email bounced back?)

Mathematical Thinking

  • Organize objects into categories by sorting and classifying objects using two attributes simultaneously (e.g., sort objects by shape and “bounce-ability” at the same time)
  • Collect and organize primary data (e.g., how a ball bounces on different materials and objects) and display the data in charts, tables, and graphs
  • Compare, describe, and order objects, using attributes measured in standard units (e.g., the height a ball bounces, the number of times a ball bounces)

Physical Education

  • The ability to bounce a ball is a movement skill in physical education. For example:
    • bounce a ball using dominant and non-dominant hands
    • bounce and cradle the ball while pivoting during a rhythmic gymnastics routine
Girl holding ball in one hand
Girl holding ball in one hand (Source: oleg66 via iStockphoto).

 

Extending the Learning

If your students are interested in learning more, the following may provoke their curiosity:

  • How does the surface that you bounce an object on affect how high it bounces? Conduct a fair test using the same ball and a variety of different surfaces (e.g., wood, carpet, grass, cement, dirt) to see how this affects the height of the object’s bounce.
  • What is inside balls that bounce well? Ask students to predict what they think they will find inside a variety of balls. Have some balls pre-split for students to examine. How are the insides of balls that bounce the same and/or different from each other and from balls that do not bounce well (e.g., a bowling ball, a golf ball)?
Inside a golf ball
Inside a golf ball (Source: Dantor [CC-BY-SA] via Wikimedia Commons).

 

  • Once students have made some discoveries about objects that bounce, challenge them to explain the following phrases that use the word ‘bounce’:
    • someone’s ability to “bounce back” from difficulties or challenges
    • to have an email bounce
    • bounce ideas off each other
    • bouncing off the walls
    • “That’s the way the ball bounces.”
    • to bounce for something
  • Have a couple of students jump up and down. Other students can estimate how high they are able to jump. Then ask students to think about things they could use to bounce higher (e.g., using a pogo stick, a bouncy house/castle, a trampoline). Students may wish to do some research into these devices to investigate how they work and how they compare to balls that bounce.
Young child jumping on a trampoline
Young child jumping on a trampoline (Source: Martinan via iStockphoto).

 

Supporting Media
  • Objects that Bounce 
    10 images of some spherical objects such as golf balls and tennis balls that are made of different materials and used for specific purposes