Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM
USING HIGH ALTITUDE BALLOONING TO TEACH INQUIRY AND PROJECT DESIGN TO PRE-SERVICE SCIENCE TEACHERS
Inquiry based atmospheric geoscience investigations using high altitude ballooning (HAB) activities are incorporated into the curriculum for students majoring in elementary education and secondary level science education. The activity is used to satisfy specific state-mandated learning competencies relating to Earth and space science, physical science, project design, data collection and analysis, and designing and conducting scientific investigations. HAB activities are included as extended projects in two courses; Elementary Science Methods and Integrative Science for Teachers (secondary level). Working collaboratively, students design experiments relating to the Earth, space, life, or physical sciences and then assemble, test, and launch HAB payloads that include environmental sensors, cameras, global positioning systems and experiment-specific apparatus. Maximum design altitudes for the experiments are typically 27,500 to 33,000 meters (90,000-108,000 feet). Student teams also participate in the flight planning, logistics, and trajectory prediction. In addition to experimental design and hypothesis testing, students learn atmospheric science, use of radio telemetry systems, task-specific teamwork skills, flight prediction, etc. Upon recovery of payloads, student teams analyze the data collected and evaluate their hypotheses with respect to their data. Experimental results are reported to the class or a university-wide audience in oral or written form. Assessment results indicate that the HAB activities should be subdivided into discrete project modules; each reported and evaluated separately. In addition, launch activities must be scheduled early enough in the semester so that adequate time remains for students to process and interpret the sensor data.