On Friday, May 10, 2018, Ryan Wallick's fourth grade students in Elkhart, Indiana,
USA launched a weather balloon. The launched represented the culmination of a months-long
project based learning assignment for the students. In January of 2019, students
began learning about weather and climate, as well as Earth's atmosphere. During
the project, students secured donations for Helium to lift their balloon, persuaded
Elkhart-area businesses to donate t-shirts for their launch event, presented their
project to their school board, and even filed a Notice to Airmen before their balloon
launch with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Students also prepared experiments to travel with their balloon to test the effects
of the upper atmosphere on various objects including baker's yeast, marshmallows,
and paint. Students used computer simulations to predict where the balloon would
land. When they launched their balloon, they expected the balloon to travel to eastern
Michigan. To their surprise, the balloon, which is equipped with several GPS tracking
tools, a camera, and instruments to measure air pressure, temperature, altitude,
and location, landed approximately 10 miles off of Port Glasgow, Ontario.
Mr. Wallick would be grateful for any help in locating the his students' weather
balloon and giving students the chance to finalize their project. The weather balloon's
GPS tracking system reports its location approximately every 5 minutes. The rig,
which is the payload that flies under the balloon, is shown in this picture. Note
that the rig is a triangle with sides that are 1 meter long. Each side of the rig
is floating on teal pool noodles. The rig also has several ropes attached to it
as well at a red parachute that is 1 meter in diameter. The GPS's last transmitted
location was 42.30634 81.31238. The balloon rig is drifting slowly south-southeast.
If you are planning to be out on the lake, please feel free to contact Ryan Wallick
at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-220-6615 and he would be happy to provide you
with the most up-to-date GPS coordinates to help recover the balloon rig for students!
Local News Story about the weather balloon launch
Local News Story #2 about the weather balloon launch
Video of the weather balloon launch