Update: Our High Hopes High Altitude Balloon Project

Thursday we launched our balloon. It reached an altitude of over 107,800 feet, the flight lasted about 90 minutes, the coldest temperature encountered was -80F, our camera took almost 500 pictures.

My 4th grade students have each already posted on their blogs, pieces that share a bit about the launch and a “Wordless Photo Essay” about the day. We are still working on stories where each student has to tell the story of the flight from the point of view of the balloon. They will be able to illustrate their stories with photos we have already posted on our class Flickr page (check them out – way cool – especially these taken by our class onboard camera). We hope to make multi-media presentations that combine the story from preparation through recovery using iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band.

One of the photos taken at over 100,000 feet on the way down.

On the science side, we are learning how to edit Wiki pages while making a supporting page for the project – The High Hopes High Altitude Balloon Project wiki will have pages that share links to the science behind the project as well as links to the Flickr photos, blogs, videos and multi-media projects we are producing. Note the link on the main page to a map that shows the path, time, altitude and more of the flight. If you click on the red dots they display the statistics for that point in the trip – we were able to follow the journey live using the map.

One of the highlights of the project was developing and sharing our “High Hopes” for our school, community and the world. The students all wrote their own. We took a photo of each student against a sky background and using FD’s Flickr Toys each student made what we called a “StratoCard” (because the balloon would make it into the stratosphere) and we sent these up with the balloon as a keepsake. In addition the students used their blogs to solicit “High Hopes” from around the world. We burned these to a CD and sent the world’s high hopes aloft as well. We received “Hopes” from England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and across the US. Perhaps the most poignant however, were the “Hopes” we received from Bangkok, Thailand, where rioting and violence have been issues of  late. Students there shared their hopes that people would stop starting fires, stop releasing pets into the streets as they flee, and in general promote peace.

I just wish we had more than 6 days of school left – there is so much we could do with all these experiences and I haven’t even mentioned the temperature and other data we collected. And on that note I should mention that The UNR scientists that ran the project from their end, Dr. Jeffrey C. LaCombe, Associate Professor, Chemical & Metallurgical Engineering and Dr. Eric L. Wang, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering – want to do this again next school year! I have “High Hopes” that we will!

Learning is messy!

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3 thoughts on “Update: Our High Hopes High Altitude Balloon Project

  1. Thanks so much for letting us be part of your High Hopes project. The photos from the balloon are awesome!
    Ms H & the students of Room 231 ISB, Bangkok, Thailand

  2. Hi I like your project. I am considering it myself. I would appreciate it if you could give me a few pointers and maybe a rough idea of what you used and what it cost.

  3. Very little cost for us because the University was sending up the balloon and we just hitched a ride. Probably not more than $10 for some tape and twine and batteries for some of the equipment. I know there are several projects out there that do a similar flight for like $150 … so look for those on the web. Usually includes using a styrofoam cooler and hand-warmers. Hope that helps. If you watch our video you get a good idea of what we used and how we did it:

    Hope that helps!