No, those aren’t birds, planes, or even superman in the skies over Monmouth Academy lately. They’re hot air balloons! Where do they come from you ask? Quite simply, the students of Mr. Bosworth’s Applied Earth Science class. As a spring project assigned to them by their teacher, the students were required to construct hot air balloons out of tissue paper.

The assignment came while the class was studying a unit on weather. Students created their own designs and flew them in a contest to see whose would fly best. While the balloons were in flight, students had to record data such as altitude, distance, flight duration, and the weather. In this cross disciplinary project, it was necessary to use more than just science skills. The class had to use algebra, geometry, and trigonometry to analyze information and make predictions.

Mr. Bosworth wanted his students to understand density and differential heating of the planet. Also, he wanted his class to figure out the optimal weather conditions to fly under. According to him, the balloons behave differently on different days, the best being cold and still.

The students weren’t the only ones who were doing the learning. Mr. Bosworth says he discovered lots about hot air balloons, moisture, and pressure, but also, he learned a lot about the students. “I learned about different students learning styles. Some students followed strict instructions, while others were more visual and jumped right into the construction,” he said.

When asked if he would do the project again next year, Mr. Bosworth enthusiastically answered, “Absolutely! The students really enjoyed it. I hope to further develop it.”

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