National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Engineering Design: Forces and Motion -- Balloon Aerodynamics Challenge

This Web Seminar took place on January 5, 2012, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The presenter was Kristy Hill, NASA Explorer Schools Education Specialist. In this Seminar, Ms. Hill shared a hands-on lesson that allows students to observe basic aerodynamic forces by designing their own data-collecting balloons. She also demonstrated NASA's real-world applications of these concepts with the International Space Station and other research.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.

This was the first presentation of the Engineering Design/Forces and Motion: Balloon Aerodynamics Challenge program and it will be repeated in 2012. In the web seminar, Ms. Hill shared detailed information about the lesson, which challenges students to design a balloon that can float at different altitudes. With videos and discussion, she guided participants through preparation, implementation, and extensions to the activity.

Sixty (60) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Six people joined the program from locations outside the United States: Canada, Dominica, Germany, Israel, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Venezuela.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "This is yet one more new idea I can use in my classroom that is STEM related."
  • "I am trying to move towards more activities in which students direct their own learning (as opposed to simply following pre-set steps/directions). The structure of this lesson allows that to happen."
  • "The activity is fundamentally valuable; I look forward to unpacking it with my more advanced HS math students."
  • "I would definitely be able to use this as an extension of our weather and oceans units. The lesson describes the key concept of density and puts it into real world application."

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

See when other NASA Explorer Schools Web Seminars are Scheduled

For more information contact

National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
Sponsored by NASA