Weather Balloon Launch: STEM Engineering Project Guide

Vivify STEM
Grade Levels
6th - 12th, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF (35 pages)
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Tackle the ultimate STEM project with this all-inclusive classroom guide to launching a weather balloon PLUS links to a shared Google Drive folder with TONS of extra resources!

Take your students on an unforgettable journey to the stratosphere! What can be more exciting than launching a balloon to the edge of space and seeing footage of the Earth from above? A weather balloon project (also known as High Altitude Balloon or HAB) involves designing a payload and using a helium balloon to send an experiment up to 100,000 feet into the stratosphere!

Click here for an editable STEM journal to use with distance learning, including digital and printable versions.

Based on three years of successful weather balloon experience with over 300 middle school students, this product is everything you need to design a payload, select an experiment, launch, and recover the balloon from a 100,000-foot journey to the edge of space!

Read more about my experience with the weather balloon project with middle school students here.

For this project, students work in teams to understand the science behind the balloon launch, design and build a scientific payload, select the launch site using predictive modeling and weather conditions, launch the balloon, and analyze the collected data. This is the ultimate real-world project. Just substitute “student” for “scientist”, and this is exactly how scientists in industry and government labs send experiments into the atmosphere! 

Budget: This project requires a minimum of $1400 in materials including this weather balloon kit. A complete material list is provided in the product.

This packet includes:

  • Detailed teachers guide with links to resources
  • Full guide on the basics of a weather balloon
  • Explanation of scientific principals of a balloon launch
  • Team assignments to simplify classroom management
  • Student challenge handouts covering balloon launch and design project basics
  • Budget and materials list
  • Shared Google Drive with launch logistics, PPT classroom presentations, balloon launch tutorials, checklists, and more!

Looking for more STEM lessons? Find the Vivify resource guide here:

About STEM Challenges: Click here to learn more about the 3 Stages of STEM. STEM challenges are an engaging way to incorporate the engineering design process into your classroom or after school program! These hands-on activities allow students to work in teams, apply the engineering design process, and connect science topics to real-world applications. The teacher will provide the structure to the project, but students will take an active role in designing and building their own device.

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Total Pages
35 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Semester
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Represent proportional relationships by equations. For example, if total cost 𝘵 is proportional to the number 𝘯 of items purchased at a constant price 𝘱, the relationship between the total cost and the number of items can be expressed as 𝘵 = 𝘱𝘯.
Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.
Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin.
Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.
Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas and other quantities measured in like or different units. For example, if a person walks 1/2 mile in each 1/4 hour, compute the unit rate as the complex fraction ½/¼ miles per hour, equivalently 2 miles per hour.


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