Send Your Students’ (and anyone else’s) High Hopes Up High

Note: If after reading this post you decide to participate leave your “High Hopes” Here.

IMG_4969 Doug Taylor and I started the High Hopes Project back in 2010, when we were both teaching 4th grade. Doug had seen this article about MIT students sending a styrofoam cooler attached to a balloon with a camera inside to near space and thought it would be a great way to study the layers of the atmosphere and other topics we were supposed to teach. Besides the science, language arts and other curriculum the project uncovered, we hit on the idea of having the students write their “High Hopes” for their school, community and the world. We shared the idea on this blog HERE, on our class blog, and I spent much of my TEDx Talk in Denver that summer describing the project.

We are planning our biggest launch yet during the spring of 2015. To kick off this project, which will be explained in more detail in future posts, we are launching 3 high altitude balloons this Friday from the Great Reno Balloon Race while 900 students are there to launch their own tissue paper balloons (see previous post). The balloons will make it to about 60,000 feet ( 18,000 meters) and will carry the “High Hopes” of anyone that sends us their “Hopes” by this Thursday night (9/4/14). In addition we will send them up this spring during the larger project.

To participate either write a “class high hope” or have students submit their individual high hopes in the format: “I live in (Optional), and my “High Hopes: for my school, my community and the world are …”

Here are some actual examples written by our fourth graders in 2010:

I live in Sparks, Nevada, and My “High Hopes” for school include graduating high school and working hard to improve my grades. But my Highest Hope for school is to graduate college and get a good job that I like.

I live in Sparks, Nevada, and my “High Hopes” for my community include police because they keep us safe, hospitals because they can heal and fix the injuried and schools so we can graduate school.

I live in Sparks, Nevada and my High Hope for the world is ending homelessness because it’s kind of sad that someone has no roof over their head.

Learning is messy!



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2 thoughts on “Send Your Students’ (and anyone else’s) High Hopes Up High

  1. Brian,

    The High Hopes Project is a great activity that I can see myself doing once I become a teacher. It is a great way to incorporate science, language, and also have the students think about their own personal goals in life. Your project has obviously had some success since you mention in the blog that ” 900 students are there to launch their own tissue paper balloons.” That is absolutely fantastic! I hope that one day when I become a teacher I will be creative with projects and be as successful as yourself.

    Sarah Byrd

    • Hi Sarah – I’m working on a post right now that demonstrates step-by-step how to construct the tissue paper balloons. We shot the video at a teacher training a month ago. Then the teachers took their new knowledge back to the classroom and taught their students. I’ll also show how to construct the launchers and a few shots from the day we launched. Ended up being over 1,000 students. Teachers from training we’ve done over the years all participate and the Great Reno Balloon Races pay for their materials, transportation to the event for the classes and launch after they launch. It was awesome – plan on more than double that next year.