Teens participating in a summer STEM program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County's Goshen Clubhouse have been actively engaged in designing, building, and launching a weather balloon. They were responsible for creating the apparatus to hold all the experiments, including the GoPro and GPS, and made calculations based on the jet stream to predict the balloon's landing location.
The teens played an integral role in every aspect of the project, including gathering information required for FAA approval of the flight. Meteorologist Tom Coomes from ABC 57 supported the project and emphasized the value of project-based learning, where kids enjoy the process of learning while having fun.
On the day of the launch, the teens were both nervous and excited. As the helium-filled balloon soared to heights of 80,000 feet during its 70-mile journey to Alvarado, the teens tracked its progress using their phones, likening it to a video game experience.
The organizers highlighted that project-based learning allows for hands-on, unstructured learning, where students can be curious and show initiative in figuring things out. The challenges the teens faced throughout the project encouraged problem-solving skills and the development of valuable learning experiences.
Overall, the project aimed to inspire students to pursue more of such hands-on opportunities and foster a passion for science and education at an early age.