I found this crazy explanation of the activity I did with the kids this afternoon. Basically, we made bouncy balls with sodium silicate and ethanol; didnt go into that much background. That article has some choice instructions though:
Step 10: Wearing plastic gloves, place the polymer between the palms of your hands and gently rotate until a spherical ball that no longer crumbles is formed. BE PATIENT – discover a technique. Moisten the ball occasionally by holding it in a small stream of water from the faucet.
Step 11: Bounce your ball (squeeze it, stretch it, step on it – find out about it!). Observe and compare the properties of your ball to the properties of ethyl alcohol and sodium silicate.
Step 12: Compare your ball with those of the other members of the class. How many properties can you compare? (size, height of bounce, etc)
I’m either too immature to me teaching or spending a lot of time with high school kids has affected me. Forget that, somebody had to have had a sense of humour when they wrote that thing. I spent two or three hours making those bloody balls.