Whether You’re Ready or Not the Mashpee Weather Balloon Is Taking Off


BY Amanda Hough 

Mashpee High School

Project Description

The goal of the project Whether You are Ready or Not the Mashpee Weather Balloon is Taking Off is an opportunity for high school students to participate in scientific research by using the engineering design process to learn about physics, space, and weather patterns by designing experiments to send on a payload that will be launched by a weather balloon. During my technology and engineering class students will communicate through skype and google hangouts with students from NIPMUC regional high school in Massachusetts to learn from those students about their past experience launching a weather balloon. In collaboration with the NIPMUC students the weather balloon will be constructed at Mashpee High School by the Mashpee students and science experiments will be developed by students to put on the payload for the weather balloon. The balloon will be launched at NIPMUC regional high school with Mashpee students onsite at the location. The Mashpee students will be launching at NIPMUC to avoid the balloon heading out to sea since we are a coastal community. The balloon will be tracked by both Mashpee students and NIPMUC students through the GPS tracking device.  There will be a GoPro camera on board to capture video footage of the launch and the weather balloons trip. We also have a drone at Mashpee High School which will be operated by students and used to capture video footage of the launch.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

The project will be evaluated by the Technology and Engineering teacher in regards to design and construction of the weather balloon and payload apparatus. The science experiments included in the payload will be developed by Mashpee students and evaluated by our science teachers to determine validity of the student designed experiments. The project will be chronicled from start to finish by each Mashpee student through pictures, written reflections connected to learning standards, and videos that will be included on their EPortfolio (individual student google site).

Benefit to the students and the school

Launching a weather balloon by Mashpee High School students will benefit more than just the students in the Technology and Engineering class. Mashpee students throughout the district will be notified of the launch day and teachers along with students can track the balloon. The day of the launch the community will also be notified and community volunteers can track the balloon and help students with recovery. This weather balloon launching will allow for Mashpee students to collaborate with students from NIPMUC regional high school to share ideas about the project and work together on the launch day.  The project will also allow students to see a creation they made out in the real world capturing real data through the GoPro Camera and the scientific experiments that are on the payload. Students will be able to analyze the data and reflect on the results and determine success criteria for the project.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)Timeline for project
1. Students will be introduced to science (Physics) behind Weather Balloons in February 2019
2.Students will communicate with NIPMUC students about balloon launch and gain research, knowledge about project in
February 2019
3. Students will design the balloon apparatus and payload construction and build March 2019
4. Students will participate in discussions with NIPMUC students about payload and scientific experiments  March 2019
5. Students will create science experiments and science teachers will determine validity April 2019
6. Students will launch balloon May 2019