Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pretty Much the Best Thing I've Ever Seen

This weekend, inspiration hit me like a popped weather balloon hits the ground. I came upon a video of a father working with his child, to send the son's favorite toy train into space on a weather balloon.

The duo connected the train and a video camera to the weather balloon, released it, and tracked the balloon with a GPS. In addition to this amazing parent, child play experience, there's a great deal of science curriculum built in. I'll let the brilliant experience speak for itself in this bit of documentation created by the dad...

I hope you're feeling the same sense of joy that I felt after watching. What an awesome bonding experience for the family!

This experiment probably did not cost much. Surely, the materials are within the budget of a classroom teacher. Are you catching my drift? It's this kind of experience that we can create with and for students. In addition to the engineering aspects of connected the toy and attaching the camera and GPS, the math components of calculating travel, the science of the conditions in which the balloon and toy travelled, the technology involved in documenting the adventure, a teacher could build classroom discussion around what toy would be sent up. There might be voting involved, perhaps the decision to send up multiple toys, predictions of where it would travel and where it would land, parent involvement on the special day of the launch, observations of the travel, and creation of the documentation. This would be an experience a student could not forget. 

I'd love to hear your immediate reaction to the video. Please share below!

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