High-altitude balloon projects have been incorporated into undergraduate courses for both science and non-science majors because of their unique aspects, including inexpensive access to the near-space environment and exposure to engineering principles associated with flight package design. The current project focuses on an intermediate population of 20 students taking a class in environmental chemistry during the spring of 2013. Most of these students are in DePaul’s bachelor of arts program in environmental studies, which does not require the core sequences in math, physics, chemistry, and biology. The students will participate in either high-altitude balloon projects or standard environmental science projects (for example, water quality measurements). Research provides substantial evidence for the positive correlation between science achievement and affective factors such as motivation, attitude, and believes. Furthermore, the unique experience of balloon research has been shown to result in significant improvement in students’ motivation, science learning, and thinking skills. Thus, we hypothesize that the unique nature of the high-altitude balloon projects will create better attitudes about learning science as measured by the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey at the end of the quarter, and that this will translate into a greater increase in the understanding of chemical concepts as measured by changes in the Chemical Concepts Inventory.
How to Cite:
Potosnak, M. J. & Beck-Winchatz, B., (2013) “Effectiveness of a high-altitude balloon project compared to conventional environmental science laboratory projects conducted by undergraduate students in an environmental chemistry course”, Academic High Altitude Conference 2013(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ahac.5598