StratoStar STEM Education Blog | High-altitude Weather Balloon Projects
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STRATOSTAR STEM EDUCATION

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STRATOSTAR STEM EDUCATION

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Did you dissect something when you were in school? Most of us can recall being asked to dissect a frog or worm when we were students. Some may have even worked on turtles, pigs, cats, or mice. For a long time dissecting real species was......

When elementary school students debate the pros and cons of zoos in America they’re learning about ethics in STEM education and the ethical dilemmas associated with scientific endeavors. They’re learning to think critically and use evidence in support of their arguments. The same is true......

It is hard to overestimate the significance of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy test launch that occured on February 6, 2018 and how it will affect the jobs and industries our students will work in the future. Here’s how Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, explains it:......

At StratoStar, we talk about STEM education and STEM programming pretty frequently. We fully believe that by exposing students to science, technology, engineering, and math that we can positively impact their futures and the future of the world. But, one thing we don’t talk about......

Science experiments are a great way to get students excited about science, but as the weather gets colder it can be a little difficult to conduct experiments. Unless you’re working in a lab, you may be limited on space and resources, which makes indoor experiments......

Launching a weather balloon is an exciting time for students. As they work in groups to design an experiment and hypothesize about the effects near space will have on that experiment, certain questions are bound to come up. In past blog posts, we’ve tackled questions......

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is a hot topic in education circles right now and for good reason! STEM is a movement designed to help prepare students for their future careers. As industries look for innovation in every corner, STEM projects help students gain......

How do students engage with science learning in the classroom and the outside world? They learn through their own experiences. Constructivism is a theory about how people learn. It says that humans construct meaning about the world around them by experiencing things and then reflecting......

“I think we should go first to the moon and then further on,” says Johann-Dietrich Worner, the Director General of the European Space Agency. The Google Lunar XPRIZE, a space race that we first reported on in March is still very much underway. The competition......

This summer teachers and students across the United States had the opportunity to witness an eclipse of the Sun. If you were lucky enough to be in the path of totality, which stretched from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina, then you had the chance......

Almost an entire month has passed since the eclipse happened, but the team at StratoStar is still on cloud nine. We loved sending two high altitude weather balloons to the edge of space during the event. Students from 25 different schools prepared experiments for the......

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to soar to the edge of space? With a weather balloon project you can stop imagining and actually explore what the edge of space is like.  When you work with the team at StratoStar, you can......

As the new school year kicks off, you might be looking for new ways to get students involved and excited to learn. One of the best ways to get your students excited and interested in learning is by introducing high altitude science into your classroom.......

Have you ever dreamed of launching something to space or thought about what it would be like to travel to the edge of space yourself? With a high altitude weather balloon project you can do that! Well, part of that. We can’t actually send you......

If you’re wondering, “what is high altitude science?”, then you can breathe a sigh of relief because we’re going to explain what it is, why it’s important, and how you can start taking advantage of it with your students. What is high altitude science? At......

Summer is in full swing and you’re looking for ways to keep your kids active and learning. The best way to do that is by taking full advantage of project based learning activities. These activities are hands-on and give kids practical knowledge that will be......

How cool would it be to watch a high-altitude weather balloon soar high up into the air with your classroom? The students would love designing their own experiment and watch as their work soared higher and higher. But, before you jump into this great project-based......

High-altitude weather balloon experiments might seem like they are well outside of your realm of capabilities or needs, but the best part about them is they can be customized to fit your lessons. Whether your students are learning about chemistry, physics, or Earth science, they......

High altitude science experiments provide the perfect learning opportunity for your students. Not only will they get hands-on learning experiences, but they’ll actually get to touch an experiment that travels to the edge of space. How much will they love that?! Check out these great......

Back in March, our StratoStar team was standing in Fort Wayne getting ready to launch a weather balloon to the edge of space. We worked with students at Blackhawk Middle School for weeks preparing for this exact moment. The students were excited as they said......

When you think about Bear Grylls, you probably picture him climbing a mountain, jumping out of an airplane, or even chopping his way through a jungle in South America. As an adventurer, he’s known for his television show about surviving in the wilderness, but he’s......

No, we didn’t make up the word rockoons and no, it has nothing to do with raccoons. Rockoons are actually a hybrid rocket balloon and they could end up being the new way we travel to space. The Problem With Today’s Rockets Rockets have become......

There’s a new space race and we all need to be paying attention to it. In recent years, we’ve seen private space exploration become a popular topic. With companies like SpaceX trying to successfully explore space as private citizens, it was only a matter of......

In 2004, the European Space Agency launched its Rosetta spacecraft into space. The purpose of the mission? Travel through space and orbit a comet to gather as much information as possible. After traveling through space for a decade, Rosetta finally reached its destination, Comet 67P,......

Mars has been a hot topic in recent years. Everything from landing on the red planet to human habitation to alien life has been talked about. The scientists at NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory have been studying the planet since before 2012. One of the most......

Right now, more than 400,000 cubic feet of sediment could be hurtling along an underground canyon. With speeds reaching over 8 meters per second (which is almost 18 miles per hour), theses underwater avalanches often go unnoticed until the sediment settles or unless the underwater......

The next generation science standards are designed to improve science education through a three-dimensional learning process. These science content standards set expectations for what students should know and be able to do. The idea behind the next generation science standards was to help prepare students......

Just as we’ve gotten used to drones flying overhead and the idea of autonomous, self-driving cars, another new and revolutionary technology is making a splash. Water drones, known as seadrones are already in the works and may soon be patrolling oceans and other bodies of......

When it comes to helping students stay focused in the classroom, teachers have come up with all kinds of solutions. Everything from recesses to project-based learning, the ideas are creative and inventive. But, what if the real solution comes with two pedals? Educators are giving......

Have you ever stepped out of your house at night expecting to see the sky filled with stars only to be met with an empty sky? Better yet, have you ever traveled in the western US and seen hundreds upon hundreds of stars filling the......

Getting students excited about learning can be difficult, especially during the first few months of school. Students are still thinking about their summer vacation and starting to countdown the days to the next break. The good news is, there are plenty of great ways to......

As educators, we often forget about the perspective of the student. It’s easy to get wrapped up in State Standards, test scores, and lesson planning. But, what happens when we stop and take a look at the real impact of project-based learning on a student?......

NASA recently launched a probe that is set to orbit around Jupiter for 20 months. The goal of the Juno spacecraft, the space probe that was launched for the Jupiter mission,  is to study the planet’s charged particle radiation belts and as much of the planet’s gasses as......

Ocean experts at the General Bathymetric Chart of the Ocean have called for maps of the ocean floor to be made much like those of the Moon and Mars have been. Unlike the surface of those planetary bodies, much of Earth’s ocean floor hasn’t been......

The Earth’s oceans have been rising over the last few years at a much higher rate. They’ve been expanding and growing to almost the point of worry. Scientists predict that coastal towns and entire islands could find themselves underwater, eventually. The only hope we may......

As an educator, you know how difficult it can be to get students excited about learning. Students aren’t always interested in subjects like math and science, but it’s important for them to understand the basics, even if they have more interest in other subjects like......

Weather balloons are high-altitude balloons that can be sent up into near-space to conduct experiments on atmospheric pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speeds and more. Today’s technology allows for easy tracking and customization when it comes to sending a weather balloon into the atmosphere. Experiments can......

So, you think you’re an artist? You may not know it, but you’re probably also a scientist, mathematician, or engineer, too. Often times, these fields overlap in ways you don’t even realize. As an artist, you probably use math when you’re sketching out your next......

For many years, people viewed it as the responsibility of the education system to cultivate an interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. However, as the STEAM education movement has grown and evolved, organizations all over the globe have taken interest. Why? Because the......

Tracking a weather balloon is tough even with the technology we have available to us today… but StratoStar has been working over the last 10 years to make it easier and more engaging for students, parents and the entire community. Our goal was to help......

We all know that STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) education is on everyone’s radars. For teachers who are interested in project-based-learning and high altitude science, however, incorporating so many interests into one project can present a challenge. There are plenty of projects and experiments......

You’ve probably been hearing about STEM for years, but what is this STEAM education business everyone is buzzing about? Are schools abandoning the STEM education model? What does STEAM have that STEM doesn’t… besides an extra letter? At StratoStar, we’ve been getting a lot of......

The atmosphere. You look straight through it more often than not. You know our atmosphere does a lot of important things – but our atmosphere does a lot more than protect us from harmful rays and space debris. Thanks to the five deep layers of......

For decades, people’s minds have been captivated by the fantastical galaxy in the Star Wars films. In this completely foreign universe where the Force reigns supreme, anything seems possible. With the most recent release of Star Wars at the forefront of everyone’s minds, how can teachers......

Twas the week before Christmas and at StratoStar We were searching for Santa, we looked near and far… But we had a strange feeling St. Nick might not show. When up in the sky there arose such a clatter That sound sounded bad… but what......

Drumroll, please… the team at StratoStar is so excited to announce that we have built a virtual weather balloon mission to space. We wanted people to see what project-based learning can be like and how it feels to be in command during a weather balloon project.......

Back in the day, it seemed like science teachers had to give athletes the hard sell on why their subjects were so cool. It’s nice to see that those days are long gone. Every year, millions of dollars are spent on scientific and technological advances......

The Carnegie Science Center (CSC) and StratoStar teamed up to launch a parrot to the edge of space. The Pirate Parrot, the mascot of the Pittsburgh Pirates, took a wild ride when a team of StratoStar students strapped him onto the payload of a weather......

Everyone is excited about the potential implications of finding liquid water on Mars. Does this mean we can travel there soon? Could Mars actually sustain life? Has it done so in the past? After all of the press this discovery has received, there seem to......

There has been a lot of talk about the possibilities of 3D printing. While the future of 3D printing is still uncertain, this technology is already doing wonders. Here are some of the latest innovations that are helping animals all over the globe. Tieta was......

Jeans took the world by storm. The average American owns seven pairs of jeans, and Americans across the country will purchase a combined 450 million pairs of jeans this year. That’s one popular pair of pants. You probably own several pairs yourself, but have you......

Imagine yourself, sitting in front of three glowing screens. Mission control. You’ve just watched the biggest launch in your life so far, and it was even more exhilarating that you could have ever expected. As soon as it disappeared into the blue, you ran back......

Of course the Pluto fly-by has been one of the most talked-about news stories in a long time. Until this year, we have never seen photos of the dwarf planet that is 4.67 billion miles away. That’s nearly 30 times the distance from Earth to......

Forget alien planets. Those of us that have exhausted ourselves trying every reasonable variation of the Drake Equation need to move on, right? Move over, alien planets, because alien comets are here. Two astronomers from the European Space Agency (ESA) believe that the comet 67P......

Did you know that as a planet we spend over 3 billion hours a week playing video and computer games? What do you think is the draw for game playing? Most of the time we think that games are simply just a way to blow......

Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. (BIE) In today’s world the job market and opportunities look very different......

On May 7, 2015 students from the Mary Institute and Saint Louis County Day School launched their weather balloon in Raymond Illinois after preparing for months through a project based learning program with Stratostar. The crew launched the balloon from Orchard Farms High School at......

The president has recently announced to shake up the country’s stalled wages by focusing on technology education. A disturbing and increasing trend has been occurring in the area of STEM education and careers in our country. American’s are seeing less and less students graduate in......

The president has recently announced to shake up the country’s stalled wages by focusing on technology education. A disturbing and increasing trend has been occurring in the area of STEM education and careers in our country. American’s are seeing less and less students graduate in......

As a parent I’m sure you think about your kid’s future like every day…like every second of every day. I know I do. I look around at how quickly the world is changing and see that technology is playing a huge role in how fast......

We have started seeing a trend where there are less students graduating in STEM related fields than other countries. In order to continue to grow and compete in the areas of Science, technology, engineering and math several companies, schools,  have come together to partner in moving......

There are all kinds of dangerous, deadly entities trying to invade planet earth every minute of every day. No, we aren’t talking about aliens. The invaders in question include radioactive rays emitted by the sun and other stars in our galaxy, space debris, other dangerous......

Thanks to many hardworking individuals in STEM fields, technology has come further than we could have ever imagined. For decades, movies and books alike have kept our imaginations alive with ideas. Here are some ideas from the world of science fiction that became reality. 3D......

When teachers across America talk about the origins of Project-Based Learning, the name John Dewey often comes up. Dewey wrote a book in 1897 called “My Pedagogical Creed,” which outlined the concept of “learning by doing.” While many teachers embrace Dewey’s writings as the true......

Do you ever wonder what the United States looks like from above at night? With so many cars, bustling cities and street lights, our country gives off quite the glow… especially around the holidays. Most people have probably unplugged their lights from the holiday season......

How useful are weather balloons? Weather balloons are important to our survival. One of the misconceptions about weather balloons is that they can only predict when it is going to rain. They are much more dynamic than that, though. Weather balloons help obtain data that......

Just how high can weather balloons go before it pops? This is a popular question we hear daily and it’s a great one too. In the previous blog, “4 Weather Balloon Questions You May Not Know The Answer To”, we introduced why weather balloons pop.......

When faced with the challenge of overhauling your new classroom structure and working with a new lesson model, it’s easy to list off the many reasons to continue teaching as you’re used to. If you’re one of these teachers, then this post is for you.......

Every family has their own reasons for choosing to homeschool their children. For a lot of families, they choose homeschooling so that their children can have a more personalized education. Kids, like Logan Laplante, have removed themselves from public school in order to create curricula......

Back in May, we wrote a blog on how the future of 3D printers was going to impact the world. Our team was in awe at all the innovative ways people were using this advanced technology. We’ve been talking quite a bit about 3D printers,......

In our previous two blog posts, we’ve given a behind-the-scenes look at a launch that took place on September 15th, and carried into near space experiments designed by local grade school students, members of a local 4-H club, and students from the university. The balloons......

Photo by: ERIC GREGORY/Lincoln Journal Star In our last post, we introduced a team from the University of Nebraska that planned to launch a high altitude balloon at a Huskers football game in front of roughly 85,000 fans. Because of how unique a high altitude......

In this blog series we will be taking you back in time. In 2012 we had the opportunity to watch a graduate from StratoStar’s STEM Academy make history in a very cool way. In a huge collaboration with the Strategic Air and Space Museum, the......

STEM fields offer students more than just a close look at how the world works. Even though changes in STEM education are altering the way students engage with and react to those fields of study, the process is slow. However, the more students learn practical,......

The guidelines for becoming a STEM teachers are usually not clear. There is no textbook for STEM. In order to educate yourself on STEM you may need resources. We put together a list of STEM resources that will help you become a more knowledgeable educator.......

Out with the passive and in with the active projects. What’s happening in the classroom is evolving into a technology based environment. Students are becoming more responsible, motivated, and expressive about their education. Not to mention it is vital that students grow and learn with......

Becoming a STEM teacher is not an easy process. It take dedication, research, and actually wanting to help your students grow through STEM education. The goal here is to evolve with your students. Students change the way they think, engage, and react almost every year.......

As we are all witnessing there is a lack in students graduating in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. We understand that STEM needs to be implemented in the classroom. The question is how early can we start teaching these subjects too our own......

The New York Film Academy’s Director of S.T.E.A.M. Education Initiatives, astrophysicist, and actor, Rajiv Uttamchandani helped conduct a weather balloon project in Los Angeles this past June. The launch was successful, detecting the climate change in the Southern California area over a period of time.......

There are so many great tools out there to assist teachers today. With technology advancing every day, this opens up a world of new ways to unlock student curiosity and give students new ways to understand and comprehend important lessons. One of these technologies is......

In today’s world, we use apps for everything from managing our bank accounts to expressing our thoughts via tweets, so why not use them for our STEM education projects? StratoStar has compiled a list of our top 5 favorite apps will make tracking, solving equations,......

As research develops and science protocols shift and morph, so do the way we need to teach our children. Currently, most of our nation’s educators are teaching under the Common Core standard for science, but there is another set of standards in development. As always,......

(image: nypost.com)  Watching television is one of the most appealing activities for 14 to 18 year olds. Some say “all TV is bad TV”, but is this true? Not exactly. Some television series have a positive influence on STEM education. Programs such as Planet Earth......

Previously we explored the Next Generation Science Standards and the pros that come with them. As a new set of standards for the STEM studies, the NGSS presents learning objectives and teaching approaches for reaching those objectives. However, does the NGSS only work to advance......

We’ve talked a lot about STEM education recently. We’ve discussed what it is, what it does, but we haven’t really discussed why we need it. What does integrating a STEM learning environment do for our students? Future STEM Careers and U.S. Advancement In a world......

In a previous post, we talked about how STEM education fits the mold of today’s student and how, because of this, STEM education is often more effective than traditional teaching models for engaging students with the course material. Students today engage and interact with content......

StratoStar is excited to be working with Noblesville teacher, Andrew Wilkins to bring a STEM learning project to his aerospace engineering class.  We had a blast working with Mr. Wilkins and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of both missions.  Mr. Wilkins passion and......

All over, people are exploring the ins and outs of the world, studying and learning everything they can about our world and how it works. Today, that study and exploration has extended to include the entire universe. As technology advances, our studies advance and, as......

At StratoStar, we are in awe of some of the amazing things science and technology discovers and innovates. Some really cool things are happening right now, and we can’t help ourselves: we’re just too interested. The latest thing that has really caught our attention is......

In our last two blog posts, we wrote about a launch during a Minnesota Twins game, honoring Bob Cabana, Director of the Kennedy Space Center, and kicking off Minnesota Aerospace and Aviation Week, and even took it a little behind the scenes. We love the......

In our last post, we talked about the preparation work behind a special balloon launch conducted by students and Dr. James Flaten at a Minnesota Twins game, kicking off the Minnesota Aerospace and Aviation Week and honoring Bob Cabana, Director of Kennedy Space Center. One......

It’s no secret that we love high-altitude balloons and the science that can be explored with them. So when we see places around the country exposing high altitude balloon technology to large crowds at really popular events, we get pretty excited about it. One of......

This is the third part in the blog series “The Secret Stem Lives Of The Founding Fathers” focusing on the incredible hands-on STEM projects that led to some pretty widely used inventions today. (Part 1: George Washington & Part 2: Thomas Jefferson) Part 3: Benjamin Franklin Washington,......

This is the second part in the blog series “The Secret Stem Lives Of The Founding Fathers” focusing on the incredible hands-on STEM projects that led to some widely used inventions today. (Part 1: George Washington)  Part 2: Thomas Jefferson Inventions Washington, Jefferson, Franklin. All of......

Washington, Jefferson, Franklin. All of these men are known as some of greatest contributors towards the birth of the United States of America. But, these men are more the just founding fathers; they are also innovators in other fields aside from politics and government. On......

The year was 1960, and Col. Joseph Kittinger sprang forth from his capsule at 102,800 feet, creating a record distance freefall. Joe fell through earth’s atmosphere at incredible speeds during a time when people had no idea whether or not a person could survive a......

StratoStar was invited to help Students and Teachers honor Astronaut Gus Grissom by launching a Scientific High-Altitude Balloon to the edge of space at the kick off of the Indiana Space Complex.  We will be sharing more about this event and the adventure later this......

Tardigrades, otherwise known as water bears or moss piglets, have long been a part of all kinds of experiments at the edge of space and beyond. Why? Because time and time again, they are sent unprotected to the vacuum of space and return perfectly healthy!......

I loved a lot of things about being a student. Getting to meet new teachers and learn from them was always great, and I loved it when I was put into a class with one of my friends. The best part of school, however, was......

Scientists have recently discovered what may be strands of alien bacteria in the upper atmosphere. The alien bacteria found have absolutely no resemblance to anything on this planet, making the discovery one of great importance. While it is not certain exactly where the bacterium is from originally,......

In our last post “Five Reasons FOR the Flipped Classroom”, we talked about the advantages of this teaching  method and  in this post we will now share the disadvantages.  Teachers are finding ups and downs for this new, upside-down, model. StratoStar works with teachers to provide......

Over the years StratoStar has developed materials for Educators to engage students with hands-on project based STEM activities utilizing high-altitude ballooning missions.  We have try to keep up with the latest trends used by teachers to engage students in learning.  This is a two part......

At StratoStar, we do a lot of work with STEM classes. In case you don’t know, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion about adding Art to STEM curriculum (effectively making the acronym STEAM). There’s a lot......

As we’ve observed recently, a major trend for schools and educators is to embrace the rapidly developing tablet environment and educational applications for these interactive platforms in lieu of hands-on project based learning. Apple and other manufacturers offer bulk purchasing options for software and hardware......

High altitude balloons aren’t just for education. Sending a balloon to the edge of space is a very powerful image by itself, and incorporating everyday items can create a sense of exploration that is very moving. Even with all of the advancements made by NASA,......

There’s real and useful science behind high altitude balloons. From weather research to the development of NASA’s human space program, the technology that StratoStar makes available to Educators on the front lines of research methodology, education pedegogy and has been used by notable scientists and institutions. High......

This is the second of three blog posts about the Indian Valley high altitude balloon launch. You can find the first one, where we introduced the school, here “School’s Journey to the Edge of Space : Part 1 – Meet the School” On weather balloon......

Indian Valley Middle School is in Enon, Ohio, just east of Dayton. We’re dedicating a short series of three blog posts to this weather balloon project, to document exactly how StratoStar helps educators Educate, Explore, and Engage students with project-based learning (PBL) tools. In this......