Plastic Bag Football Challenge

Most Rubbish Science activities provide benefits for health, nutrition and water. Plastic bag footballs might not appear to fit in these categories but can provide for the mental health of the students. The full range of problem-solving ideas developed in other activities can be developed with the challenge: Make the best Rubbish Football The first thing to consider is what would the best football be like?  Factors that might be considered:
  • How spherical it is – This can be measured by seeing how far it travels in a straight line when rolled
  • How high it bounces when dropped from a given height – say 1 metre
  • How heavy it is for a given size – How might the density be measured?
  • How long it lasts for – How might this be measured?
  • How easy it is to make or replicate? Simpler the better
How to make a Rubbish Football There are many possibilities which is what makes this activity particularly valuable as a learning event. One possibility is shown in the diagram below it relies on a spherical newspaper core with a series of bags twisted and tied together: Just using this model creates the following questions:
  • How big should the core be?
  • How heavy might it be – Would using wet newspaper improve the performance of the ball?
  • How tight should the plastic bags be tied? Is tighter better?
  • What type of plastic is best?
  • How big should the bags be?
  • How much string should be used?
  • What type of string?
  • The list is endless ……..
Note: This activity is ideal to do as a CREST Award