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Paper Balloon Paradox NGSS

  • Paper Balloon Paradox
    Item #: AIR-160
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  • Paper Balloon Paradox Five-Pack
    Item #: AIR-165
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You won't believe your eyes as this colorful balloon slowly fills with air.


The kamifusen is a traditional Japanese paper (kami) balloon (fusen) toy that became popular in the 1890s. A balloon made out of paper? Yes! Start out by unfolding it, and then blow into the reinforced opening just a bit - until it's about half way inflated. Once you've done that, spend a few minutes bouncing it in your hand and watch science do the rest! You won't believe your eyes as this crunchy, colorful balloon slowly fills with air. The balloon's deceptively simple design conceals an intricate process that includes elastic waves, fluid motion, and the plasticity of the paper itself. The result? An inflated balloon with an uncovered hole at one end. Air goes in... but it doesn't escape unless you crush the balloon! You will marvel at the ingenuity of the artisans who devised this elegant, intriguing toy. Approx. 6" diameter. Colors may vary.

Read more on our Blog - The Paper Balloon Paradox Mystery
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2 reviews
Fun and interesting science toy
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Mar 1, 2019
Really works, really caught the attention of my 8 year old. Fun, inexpensive, but short lived during active play.
Maurice Karpman

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Life of the party!
Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Review star icon Dec 24, 2018
This was a huge hit at our Christmas celebration! Ages 2-81 had a WONDERFUL time tossing these around. We had 18 gathered in a circle and just tossed and laughed!

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This product will support your students' understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, as shown in the table below.

Suggested Science Idea(s)


Students can use the Paper Balloon Paradox to explore how air pressure variations at a very simple or at extremely complex manner behave. By batting the partially inflated balloon with a hand, the balloon slowly inflates as the higher pressure outside the balloon seeks the lower pressure inside, thus air slowly seeps in through the opening. Not escaping. It is a combination of elastic waves, fluid motion and the papers' plasticity that work together in the self-inflation of the balloon. The design conceals an intricate process, which can be explored mathematically for advanced students.


* NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of, and do not endorse, this product.

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