Concord fourth graders launch weather balloon

NOW: Concord fourth graders launch weather balloon

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. - Meteorologists have been using weather balloons to monitor the atmosphere for over a century. It’s one of the few ways we can directly measure temperature, pressure, humidity and wind thousands of feet above the ground.

Friday morning, I attended the launch of not one but two balloon launches by the four Concord elementary schools; East Side, South Side, West Side and Ox Bow.

This project-based learning assignment requires fourth graders to research different aspects of the launch, including contacting the FAA for a notice to Air Missions, learning about the layers of the atmosphere, and trying different experiments to put on the rig - many of them food based - to see if taste and texture might change.

“We have Sour Patch Kids, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Orbeez – moist and dry, dog food, we have Pop Rocks, and hair gel,” said students Chase Berg and Holland Rowe, part of the Concord Weather Balloon Wanderers group.

“What did you like about the name “Wanderers?” I asked.

“Probably cause weather balloons can go or wander a very long distance, and we’re basically just wandering after it, we’re chasing after it,” they said.

The balloons were launched about 10 minutes apart, catching a strong west wind. At one point the balloons were traveling at over 100 miles per hour!

One landed 70 miles to the east near Toledo, along the Ohio-Michigan state line.

The other went over 150 miles, over Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio.

Congratulations to Miss King and the fourth grade high ability students at Concord Schools.

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