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Industry Partners Bring Real-World Excitement to Learning

Blackford third graders design hot air balloons with help from local engineers and teachers.

Industry partners bring real-world excitement to learning

On Friday, Sept. 25th, 90 third graders at Blackford Elementary School hope to fill the sky above their school with their hand-made hot-air balloons. They have been working on the project for several weeks, learning the engineering design process along with their third-grade curricula about weather, climate, and graphing.

Teachers Anupana Gupta and Julie Goo developed the idea for the project after participating in the NASA 21st Century Teacher Academy this past summer. All of the Blackford Elementary school third grade teachers have worked with engineering experts from NASA and BloomSky to incorporate real-world problem-solving strategies into the lessons. The students have been graphing the daily temperature to determine the best time of day to launch a hot air balloon, studying effective designs, and working in groups to create and test their own creations.

The activity is part of the school’s focus on STEAM education—integrating Science, Technology Engineering, Arts and Mathematics into the curricula.