Designing Payloadsby: Linda Kehr

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Imagine soaring in the Earth’s atmosphere to near the edge of space. Is there air to breathe? Is it dark? Are there clouds? What about air pressure? Fifth-grade students from Ferguson Elementary in Klamath Falls, Oregon, were wondering these questions as they participated in To the Edge of Space, an exciting, yearlong collaborative Earth science learning experience developed in partnership with Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) and Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. The project culminates in a high-altitude balloon satellite launch at the university. This article describes the inquiry-based project that was developed using Toyota Tapestry grant monies.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Mon Dec 08, 2014 6:24 PM

Wow - two buzz words at once! Yet both are fairly covered in this article. Through the use of a PBL theme of learning about space, students are led through a series of lessons to learn the skills they needed to design a box to go up in space. I like the university tie-in, however, I attended a session at an NSTA conf. where companies also walk you through the process as well of preparing and launching balloons. Fantastic at any age, with appropriate goals and lessons.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

  • on Thu May 12, 2011 8:53 PM

This article gave us some ideas on how to use GPS and data collection technology that will be used in the investigation of designing a payload. Students worked in teams to design a payload that will be carried by a high-altitude balloon satellite. The project was a joint project using Toyota Tapestry grant money and a local university. Students completed the project using PowerPoint presentations to document the year long journey. The project was interesting and could be duplicated in most schools especially if you had grant money to help with the cost of the supplies.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)

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