Hot air balloons – cross-curricular activities

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By Nicki Allman

Exciting to look at and interesting to learn about, hot air balloons make a great starting point for a variety of cross-curricular learning opportunities.

A hot air balloon in the sky


Before you begin these activities, make sure you understand how hot air balloons work: As air is heated up, the particles in it move away from each other and become less dense. So when warmed air is contained within a balloon, the air in the balloon is lighter than the air outside it and the balloon rises up.

The following activities explore the theme of hot air balloons from within different subject areas.


Key Stage 1

Using a plastic bottle, place a deflated balloon over the open end of the bottle. Place the bottom of the bottle into a bowl of reasonably hot water (be careful about hot the water is for safety reasons) and wait a few minutes, encouraging the children to observe what is happening.

What happens to the balloon? (When the air inside the plastic bottle is warmed, it expands and needs more space, therefore it stretches out the balloon.)

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