Students can’t test their theories if they don’t take time to formulate them. That’s why the discovery process is the first step in every successful experiment. Whichever subject your students are learning, take time to dig deep and begin asking the kinds of questions about the effects of the near-space environment that can only be answered with a first-hand look.
Design & Build:
Once students have their theories in mind, it’s time to take a look at the sorts of instruments you’ll need to find answers at the edge of space. The students build their experiments in the payload boxed designed to survive the harsh environment of near space.
The students’ hypotheses are set, the system is prepared, and now it’s time to get ready for your launch. Where will you let your high-altitude weather balloon go? How will you chase it? Who is going to recover it when it returns to Earth? It’s up to you and your students to be mission control for your launch and plan it from start to finish.
Now for the best part! Work with students to perform one last check of your systems, review the recovery plan, and send your balloon to the edge of space! Watch with your eyes and with your real-time wireless tracking system as the students’ experiment floats up to heights of 35 km above 99% of the atmosphere.
Tracking & Recovery:
Students will track the platform’s progress on the computer. The near space balloon will burst, and the experiments will glide gently to the ground on a parachute. The chase team tracks every movement of the platform from the chase vehicle, and arrives at the landing zone as the payload box touch down to Earth.
After the experiment touches down, students can begin to export and analyze their videos, their pictures, and other data. As they sift through all the information collected on the flight, students will slowly begin to find answers to their questions, and also new hypotheses to be tested on future flights.
The final step in the scientific process is: sharing knowledge. Once the students have properly processed all of their findings, they will have the opportunity to publish and present what they’ve learned to the community. Don’t think of this as the end of the students’ experiments, but the beginning of a lifetime of discovery in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.