Lighter than air? Beehive students investigateJan 27, 2022 01:19PM ● By Julie Slama
Up, up and away: One Beehive Academy student-assembled balloon takes flight during its initial release. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Taking 20-inch by 30-inch pieces of tissue paper, Beehive Science and Technology Academy sixth-grade students followed a template to create balloon sections, which they then assembled during a six-week process that began in December.
In mid-January, the students then allowed their homemade balloons to lift off outside of their school building.
Through trial and error, they learned how many staples they needed to make a good connection of the balloon’s base and how much glue was enough to seal seams, but also wasn’t too much so it would weigh down the balloon when filled with air that was about 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It is part of the engineering process from following the patterns to making better seals and fine tuning it,” said Beehive’s Flight and Space teacher Daniel Bryant. “I hope they learn how to overcome obstacles, and there can be many, and learn that determination and resilience is important, especially as they enter a workforce.”
Sixth-grader Rayyan Azametli said she learned that she should follow the directions first, starting with cutting out the template exactly.
“I learned working with this material, it requires patience and patience leads to success,” she said. “My team and I had to repair our balloon many times as our materials kept ripping. Even though the tissue paper is soft and fragile, with so many repairs, the patch made it heavy and lopsided. So, we’ve learned to keep trying and be patient as we work through this. The best thing about it is I’m learning something new as I’m spending time with my class and teammates.”
Being able to assess, problem-solve and adjust is another lesson Bryant hopes students learn as many of them may enter either the manufacturing or engineering field one day.
While in years past, a former student group’s balloon has made it to Draper, this first day of flight attempts, most balloons only landed a few feet from the launch, except for one which landed on the school roof. After a couple days of adjustments, Bryant will have his students try again.
“I hope they find fulfillment and happiness,” Bryant said. “It’s easy to forget to look back at our accomplishments we’ve had from struggles and challenges and see that we’ve figured them out and we did it as a team. It’s something to celebrate.”