While launching weather balloons is quite common among hobbyists and college engineering students, Cherry Creek School District's STEM and Innovation department has now made it common for our students as well. These classes focus on the project-based learning activity of launching a weather balloon, videotaping and photography of the earth's atmospheric limb, recording atmospheric data, and safely landing and retrieving the payload. This demanding project takes STEM and Innovation to a whole new level; requiring students, teachers and district leaders to engage in collaboration around, research, and instrumentation of this payload.
Classrooms from across the school district engineer an atmospheric payload to launch a camera high enough to photograph the curvature of the Earth and collect weather data in real-time. Instead of rockets, boosters and expensive control systems, they inflate a weather balloon with helium and design a styrofoam enclosure payload.
We are constantly bombarded with the idea that the U.S. is "behind" the rest of the world in STEM education. We all know that our students need to be able to think critically, problem-solve and collaborate in order to succeed in the future they will inhabit. We no longer have to imagine the impact this project will have on the lives of our students; we are seeing it every day as their creative confidence skyrockets exponentially! Our goal is to inspire future scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians and most of all, dreamers of the future.