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Needle Through the Balloon: Skewering Misconceptions

by: Thomas O'Brien

Prior experiences and conceptions that students have about a wide variety of science phenomena (e.g., sharp needles pop balloons) often form barriers to developing more scientifically valid understandings. In this activity, a long needle is passed through a balloon without popping it. If it is pulled back out or pushed all the way through, the balloon will slowly lose air. When a needle is carefully passed through the thicker ends of the balloon, the multilayered polymer seals itself around the needle until it is withdrawn. This activity serves as a visual participatory analogy for the pedagogical challenge of strongly held misconceptions.


Elementary SchoolMiddle SchoolHigh School


Type Book ChapterPub Date 3/1/2010Stock # PB271X_20

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