As the hot air balloons drifted away, Mount Bethel Elementary students chased after them. The student craftsmen cheered and leaped in the air in celebration when their hot air balloons took flight.
In the weeks leading up to the launch day, the students worked tirelessly in groups to construct the hand-made hot air balloons.
The balloon launch was part of the 5th grader’s critical thinking unit that included a novel study where students learned about hot air balloons. Each week students completed engineering activities that built up to launch day. First, students worked in teams to measure and create a gore template out of butcher paper. Then, they “pieced” tissue paper to create long panels based on student designs. They used the gore template to guide them as they cut their tissue paper gores. Finally, they assembled the gores to form a balloon.
On launch day, the student engineers proudly but carefully transported their balloons to the launch pad. Parents and other Mount Bethel students attended the launch party. When asked, parents were quick to jump in and help the balloons take flight.
Each group of students briefed the spectators on their creation. One group based their hot air balloon on skittles, while another group referred to theirs as Flaming Doritos.
Several students continued to add last-minute touch-ups and repairs to ensure their balloons took flight.
“These students worked so hard together through the planning stage, construction, and finally the launch,” praised Principal Tucker Smith. “Although not all balloons took flight like they wanted, they all had a great time working together! What a great experience for our students after all they have been through over the past couple of years!