Oral Presentation Only

Application of a Solar Balloon Activity in a Course for Pre-Service Elementary Education Teachers

  • Kaye Smith (St. Catherine University)
  • Natasha Yates (St. Catherine University)
  • Mary Hedenstrom (St. Catherine University)


Education students seeking licensure at the elementary school level at St. Catherine University, must complete three hands-on, inquiry based science courses including “Engineering in Your World,” an applied physics course which emphasizes use of the Engineering Design Process. During the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Semesters, high altitude ballooning (HAB) was introduced into the course. Student teams built payload boxes to collect experimental data and participated in a weekend launch that included chase and recovery. Although students enjoyed the activity, the equipment and knowledge threshold is too high for these students to use HAB activities in their own future elementary education classrooms. In an effort to provide our students with a ballooning experience that they could use in their classrooms, solar balloons were introduced in the Fall 2014 Semester courses. In this activity, students applied the physics concepts of forces and buoyancy to build and launch solar balloons to meet design objectives. The use of low cost construction materials and simple construction techniques makes this ballooning activity accessible and usable in elementary and middle school classrooms.

How to Cite:

Smith, K., Yates, N. & Hedenstrom, M., (2015) “Application of a Solar Balloon Activity in a Course for Pre-Service Elementary Education Teachers”, Academic High Altitude Conference 2015(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ahac.5576



Published on
20 Jun 2015
Peer Reviewed