The Brown Bag STEM Challenge II- Hot Air Balloons

In this challenge, students design and fly a hot air balloon that will stay aloft the longest.  This one sounds simple, but don’t let it fool you!  It is more difficult than it sounds, so be sure to provide a little more time as students learn which shapes and designs “fly” the best.

I like to have teams of three for this project, simply because it is more involved and requires students to follow specific directions for this first round. I’m also a big fan of assigning jobs, so I prefer to divide up the work either specific to this challenge or like this.

So, what did we learn?
Next Generation Science Standards: Planning and Carrying out Investigations, Designing Solutions; Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information CCC- Patterns, Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

CCSS Math: Measurement and Data, Geometry, Ratios and Proportional Relationships

Get the Hot Air Balloons Design Brief and Interactive Notebook Pages!


Brown Bag STEM Challenge II- Hot Air Balloons

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2 comments on “The Brown Bag STEM Challenge II- Hot Air Balloons
  1. I feel like this would be an assignment that my students would really get into, and enjoy. It was really smart of you to already divide up the work into three categories, so that all of the students must participate equally if they want their balloon to get off the ground. Hopefully I can find the materials and prepare my lesson plan so I can do this before the end of the year.
    Hot Air Balloon

  2. EM Slagle says:

    I have done this challenge with adults too and it is always a crowd pleaser! It sounds like a rather easy project, but there is a lot of thought that gets put into what shape will hold the most volume and thus float the longest. Hope you guys have fun with it!