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Hot-Air Balloon Flight

Let creativity soar by building a hot-air balloon replica.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Place an empty paper cup in a bowl of water. Why does the cup float? Experiment to see if the cup will float top-side down or when filled with water. Investigate the scientific concept of buoyancy using electronic and text resources.
    2. Students research to discover how hot-air balloons float. Use resources to find out how hot-air balloons maneuver through air streams in the atmosphere.
    3. Students use crumpled recycled newspaper, paper cup, and straws to build a replica of a hot-air balloon. Cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Tear sheets of newspaper in strips. Mix equal parts Crayola® School Glue and water. Cover the crumpled ball with newspaper dipped in the glue mixture. Place the covered ball on the paper cup to dry overnight.
    4. Paint the balloon in bright colors and designs with Crayola Washable Paints. Dry.
    5. For the hot-air balloon basket, cut construction paper with Crayola Scissors and glue it onto the paper cup. Dry. Decorate the basket with Crayola Washable Markers.
    6. Glue the ends of the straws inside the hot-air balloon and inside the cup. Dry.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Participate in shared research and writing projects.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    SCI: Construct an argument using evidence about the relationship between the change in motion and the change in energy of an object.

    SCI: Use information from texts and diagrams to communicate that scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds have applied scientific discoveries to invent technologies to enable humans to transport and store energy for practical use in daily life.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Curious George and the Hot Air Balloon by H. A. Rey; Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman; Come Down Now, Flying Cow! By Timothy Roland

    Students attend a hot air balloon festival and note the differing hot air balloons that are launched during the event. Students may chose to sketch the look of the balloons or take digital photographs for uploading to a classroom computer. Upon returning to the classroom, students review what they experienced at the festival and are challenged to create an original balloon skin using Crayola Colored pencils and markers.

    Upon returning from a balloon festival, challenge students to sketch a favorite scene or event that they recall from the experience. . Students also prepare a written summary of their experience and have this accompany their sketch. Display these sketches in the classroom

    Students take on the role of scientists and write directions for a future balloon pilot to use when driving his air-born vehicle.

    Working in small groups, students collect a variety of recycled materials, including fabric or material. Students write an original story or poem about an adventure in a hot-air balloon. Students create a 3-D hot air balloon to accompany their story using the recycled materials.

    Students interview a hot-air balloon pilot to investigate safety measures taken when preparing for flight, when in flight, and preparing for landing. Students prepare questions prior to the interview and post learning to a class blog upon completion.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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