Teaching and Learning up in the Air

Traveling with a Lawn Chair and BalloonsHere is a cool story (Read about it here and here) that could be integrated into the curriculum in so many different ways. I’ll give a few examples to start the conversation, and then you can add your ideas in the comments section.

  • There is so much math and science involved with this endeavor (weight, altitude, speed, distance, global positioning, ballasting, weather, wind currents, and much more) that it could easily be integrated into data collection and presentation, measurement, etc. activities.
  • There is the potential to make connections to geography, maps, latitude and longitude, etc. in social studies and geography.
  • This story (or video of this story) could be used to kick-off a creative writing/ podcasting/ video/ journaling/ presentation exercise in reading, writing, speech or mass communications classes.

I’m sure you have other thoughts about using this in teaching and learning, or perhaps you’d like to expound on something already mentioned. Either way, please add your thoughts and feedback by clicking on the Comments link below.

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Clif Mims

Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

12 thoughts on “Teaching and Learning up in the Air”

  1. the students could build their own small scale version of the balloon craft, and send it up in the air with a mannequin (or doll) attached. They could use google pages to analyse how much helium it takes to lift a certain amount of mass, then calculate how many balloons it would take to lift the entire class.

  2. Dr. Mims,
    This reminds me so much of the movie “Up”. The old man attaches hundreds of balloons to his house and lifts it right off the foundation. I guess my thoughts went to a creative writing assignment, too. The class could read this newstory and watch a clip from “Up”. The students could then write a story about what they would attach balloons to so they could fly and where they would fly to.

  3. I like this particularly because I loved reading Curious George as a little girl. One of my favorite stories was when George stole the balloon man’s balloons and sailed up in the air. This would be a great, authentic learning, creative writing prompt after reading that book to 1st graders.

  4. This was a very interesting article. I heard of people doing that and usually did not making it to their destination but I never knew that some carried bb guns to shot out the balloons if they got too high or just needed to desend back to the ground.

  5. WOW….I was completely surprised to read that this man flew 193 in a lawn chair supported by balloons. What an amazing catalyst for a variety of lessons. I immediately thought that lessons involving estimating, mass, weight, speed would be good for young learners. For more advanced students I think involving wind currents and weather conditions would be great.

    I did not know what a ballast was, but now that I do I think there is a great opportunity to “re-create” this experiment with a barbie doll or other small toy.

    Since I am a writer I agree that there are tremendous story starters with this story. I agree with Mr. Couch….as a child I did wonder if a balloon could lift me into the clouds and wondered what I would see from that vantage point.

    This story is about a man who follows his dreams and did the work to accomplish his dream. What a great American story!

  6. This story is amazing! It is the stuff you see only in movies! It could be used in a science lesson or writing assignment.

  7. I definitely think that this story could be used in a creative writing exercise. The students could explore the possibilities of creating/riding in a mechanism like this.

  8. This is a cool story. I would integrate it with a transportation unit. We could discuss if this would be a good way to travel to school and students could defend their answers. It could also be integrated with a weather unit. We could discuss which kinds of weather would best suit traveling by balloons and why. Students could use Kidpix to illustrate their own air-balloon vehicle.

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