April 30, 2020
Who Is This For?
Teachers and educators in Wyoming who are interested in learning more about high-altitude ballooning
Since 2014, the Wyoming NASA Space Grant has run a very successful K-12 high-altitude balloon outreach program. Historically, this program has consisted of one-day balloon launch events intended to generate interest and excitement in STEM among the K-12 students involved. These students, with help from their teachers, are given the freedom to choose the objects, materials, and/or experiments that they would like to send up to near-space with the balloon. Once the balloon is launched, students can then track it while in flight and help recover the payload after it falls back to Earth. The entire experience promotes a hands-on, project-based learning environment and allows students the opportunity to participate in a real-world science experiment.
While this approach has generally worked really well, we have recently started exploring other ways to help grow the program and improve the science and educational content of these high-altitude balloon events. In this workshop, participants will learn more about the Wyoming NASA Space Grant, our balloon program, and the various ballooning-related educational opportunities that we currently offer. Participants will engage in hands-on activities and open discussion throughout and will be able to provide feedback. To highlight the workshop, we will conduct an actual balloon flight that will carry participant-built payloads to near-space.
Dates & Location
June 24–26, 2020
University of Wyoming in Laramie
Open to Wyoming teachers and educators. We are only able to accommodate ~20 participants, so space will be limited (we will have a wait list if necessary). No prior ballooning experience required. However, we do hope to have a group of participants with varying degrees of ballooning experience.
Workshop participants will learn about:
- Educational opportunities available through the Wyoming NASA Space Grant
- The history and future of our high-altitude balloon program
- How their students can take part in a high-altitude balloon launch
- The entire balloon launch process from start to finish (i.e., logistics, launch, tracking, and payload recovery)
- Ways to implement balloon payload development, experimental design, and data analysis in their own classroom
Workshop participants will also get to take part in a high-altitude balloon launch, which includes:
- Designing and building the payload
- Weather forecast evaluation and flight prediction
- Balloon inflation and launch
- Flight tracking
- Payload chase and recovery
- Analysis, documentation, and presentation of data/results
- Teachers can earn 1.5 PTSB credits
- Most meals will be provided
- Group dinner & planetarium show (tentative)
- Campus lab tour on Thursday afternoon
Travel & Lodging
Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging arrangements. There are multiple lodging options fairly close to UW. Most of these are to the east along Grand Ave and will probably require at least a 20-minute walk to our workshop location on campus. Parking permits will be available at check-in if you would rather drive to campus.
Here are a few hotel suggestions and their walking distances to Prexy’s Pasture at the center of campus:
- Hilton Garden Inn (1 mile, ~20 minutes)
- Holiday Inn (1.2 miles, ~25 minutes)
- Quality Inn (1.7 miles, ~30 minutes)
- Hampton Inn (2 miles, ~35 minutes)