Discovery at Home: Rubber Bands

What can you do with a rubber band?

Rubber bands are thick or thin, long or short, tan or more colorful. They are made of rubber. Find as many rubber bands around your home as you can. Thicknesses, lengths and purposes vary. How many ways can you think of to use a rubber band? The uses are endless!

Be A Scientist!

Scientists start by noticing things. Hold a rubber band in your hand. What do you notice about it? What color is it? What does it feel like? Does it smell? How does one rubber band compare to another?

What do you wonder? Perhaps:

  • Is a wide rubber band easier or harder to stretch than a narrow one?
  • Is a longer rubber band of the same thickness more or less stretchy than a smaller one?
  • Which rubber band shoots the furthest?
  • Does a rubber band float or sink?
  • How is a rubber band made? Where does the rubber come from?
  • How is a balloon like a rubber band?

Experiment!

  • Design a test to see which rubber bands are stretchy’est, or go the farthest. Does the width of a rubber band affect how far it goes?
  • What happens when you put a rubber band in water?
  • Have partners pull on different rubber bands. When stretched, do different rubber bands sound different?

Rubber Band Guitar Fun for Children & Adults

Combine rubber bands and empty containers to create a family rubber band band! What works best? How did the size of the containers or the material they were made of affect the sound?

Can you change the pitch (which is how high or low sound is)?

Exploring, playing with the materials, and asking questions are what being curious is all about! As you explore, you might ask your child:

  1. What are you noticing? How might you describe what you see? What could you try? How could you test that? What would happen if….?
  2. When they describe what they want to do next, ask them first to predict – what do you think might happen? Try it!
  3. The questions are endless.
  4. Hint for Adults: Don’t interrupt the exploration with information or expertise. Just keep asking questions.
  5. Extend your experimentation by asking more questions! Explorations are endless!
  6. Join in and have fun!!

Background Information

Rubber comes from rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis tree)! It starts as a liquid substance called latex that is found under the bark. They are native to rainforests in the Amazon region of South America. Rubber trees grow in low-altitude moist forests, wetlands, riparian zones, forest gaps, and disturbed areas. Rubber trees are not native species to Thailand, but they are now the largest producer in the world of natural rubber having developed rubber tree plantations.

As you stretch the rubber bands, you will notice that you can change its pitch. The pitch of a sound is related to how fast something vibrates. When something vibrates slowly, it has a low pitch or low frequency. When it vibrates quickly, it has a high pitch or high frequency.

Want more information? Check out these two kid-friendly sites that describe where rubber comes from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpAFPJ8pEdA – Maddie Moate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDM7rnX2jpA – Kayla’s Travel Channel for Kids