OxBow Elementary’s Fourth Grade High Ability students preparing weather balloon for launch. (Photo courtesy Kendra Divine)

Fourth graders in Concord Community Schools are participating in a weather balloon launch and each Friday throughout the month of May there will be a launch in Elkhart County.

The fourth grade high ability classes of the four Concord elementary schools are releasing a weather balloon into the atmosphere. “I believe this type of learning project allows students to communicate, create, collaborate, and think critically with true, real world application,” states Matt Jerlecki, Digital Learning Specialist for Concord Community Schools. He continues by explaining “that [it] requires them to demonstrate these skills in numerous ways with authentic audiences.” This can be seen in how the students drive the projects by presenting to the school board for permission, contacting local airports, filing a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration, registering flights for use of ham radio signals, and communicating with weather experts for projected flight paths in addition to creating scientific experiments and organizing events the day of launch.

The first weather balloon to take off this month crossed the border and landed in Dashwood, Ontario, where it made the local Canadian news. Students and staff are excited to discover where the other balloons will land. Loaded with GPS tracking, a GoPro, and several student-designed experiments, the weather balloon program at each school showcases the skill and creativity of the students in this project-based learning experience.

This post and accompanying photo are thanks to a collaboration with Kendra Divine, Concord Community Schools.

Indiana’s urban schools offer Hoosier students a rich array of programs, services, and opportunities. IUSA appreciates the opportunity to share the stories that demonstrate what the schools have to offer and the many successes their students, faculty and staff achieve.

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