skip graphical navigation
PBS KidsZOOM Home Back to Activity
Science Rocks!

Balloon Columns


your results

Sent in by:
Mason of ME

Can you walk on water? How 'bout air?

Materials Needed

  • garbage bag filled with air
  • balloons filled with air
  • balloons filled with water
  • tape
  • 4 24" by 24" cardboard squares



  1. Since you can lift a table with air in the ZOOMsci Airlift, try lifting yourself or a friend.
  2. Check with a grown-up before you begin, and make sure you've got someone to spot you so you don't fall as you do your testing.
  3. Make two strong platforms by gluing two pieces of cardboard together so that the lines in the cardboard are going in the opposite directions.
  4. Try standing on one of your platforms supported by a garbage bag filled with air. Does it hold your weight?
  5. Now try balloons filled with air. Predict which will hold your weight better.
  6. Start out standing on one of your platforms supported by a bunch of balloons. The balloons stay in place best if you sandwich them between two platforms. Try taping the balloons to the bottom platform and then putting the second platform on top.
  7. Have a friend pop one balloon at a time. What happens when the balloons pop? How few balloons still support your weight?
  8. Try the same thing with balloons filled with water. Be sure you do this testing somewhere that can get really wet, like outside or in an inflatable wading pool.

Which holds your weight better, balloons filled with water or balloons filled with air? Which substance can hold your weight with the fewest balloons? Why do you think one works better than the other? Be sure to send us your results.

Some of your Results

Fei Qui, age 8 of Shenyang, China. wrote:
We put balloons under our box. I stepped on it, one balloon popped. My teacher stepped on it, and four ballons popped.

Susan, age 14 of Atlanta, GA wrote:
I did this experiment for Science class.

Jadelyne, age 12 of Chicago, IL wrote:
it finally worked its cool

Khris, age 9 of Cleveland wrote:
I freked out because I never saw any thing like it before and for the recerd I think your web cast is awsome

Samantha & Izzy of Grand Rapids, MI wrote:
Ok when I did it it was in the winter I did it yesterday so me and my friend took a tarp 2 do the water one and it was soo cold but we had fun her hypothesis was the water balloons were goin 2 stay longer mine was just the opposite I thought the air would:D which I was right but she made me do it again just 2 make sure so we were SOAKED!!!:)

Shanuki, age 8 of Edmonton, AB wrote:
i liked filling air and water to the ballons it was a fun project

Christopher, age 11 of New York, NY wrote:
The ballons filled with air held up much longer than theballons with water. I could stand on 6 ballons.

Gaby, age 10 of Waco, TX wrote:
I was on it for about 45minutes then it popped it was so awesome!!! You should try it again.

Adrian, age 11 of Pittsburgh, PA wrote:
It worked!! We stayed on the air filled balloons the best. They held for 5 min. or longer. The water filled balloons just popped after 30 sec.

Courtney, age 10 of Greensburg, PA wrote:
We tried this for our 5th grade science experiment, but we wanted to know why the balloons filled with air held up longer than the balloons filled with water. What is the reason for this?

Kelsey, age 10 of Townsend, MA wrote:
I thought it would work but it toppled over when I had two lefted.

Lotoya, age 13 of Jacksonville, NC wrote:
At first it didn' pop. We wated for 30 min and then it pop.

Callie of Jefferson Township, NJ wrote:
I did it! It was amazing! I stayed on both of the balloons for over 5 minutes!

Brittany, age 9 of Federal Way, WA wrote:
6 air balloons held me, 7 air garbge bags held me. I tried putting water in garbge bags and 3 of them heled me and water got evry were outside.

Arnold, age 9 of Laredo, TX wrote:
Me, my sister, my big brother, and my mom tried this experiment and it was cool. The balloons filled with air held me the best and the ones filled with water popped when I barely got on it and I weigh 65 pounds.

Sarius, age 9 of Chicago, KY wrote:
My mom and I did this project and we hasd a lot of fun. I stood on tip of a shie box and it held my weight. I weigh 72pounds.

Cindy, age 9 of Los Angeles, CA wrote:
What we did was: me and my brother we blew up a medium sized ballon and we put a card board box on it and standed on the cardboard. It holded our wieght. I wiegh 70 pounds and my brother 65 pounds.

Lexi, age 12 of Aurora, CO wrote:
This experiment was sooo fun! I didn't fill my balloons with water or air. I filled them with... vanilla pudding! It was hard to get the pudding inside the balloons, but, once I stood on them, I got down to just one balloon! When both my sister and I stood on the balloon, it popped immediately. I think it depends on the brand of the balloon and how much weight you put on it. I weigh 75 pounds and my 2-year-old sister weighs 25 pounds. Together, we weigh 100 pounds! How much weight can you get on one pudding-filled balloon before it pops?

Shirley, age 11 of Markham, ON wrote:
When you did the balloon experiment, you put cardboard under garrett. Instead, my cousins and I just piled on top of eachother. 1 balloon filled with air, held 4 persons weight and it didn't pop! I think that your balloon might have a thiner surface than the balloon that I used.

Elise and Justine of Saint John, NB wrote:
When we did it with air it worked really good. After we popped all except for 1 it would wiggle from side to side because it was uneaven. With water we didn't pop them cause we were inside and we didn't want to get wet. We stood on it together with two balloons and it didn't break!

not yet implemented