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Rising With the Weather

Research the science and safety of hot air balloons; then students create a painting of themselves rising up in colorful hot air balloons.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Invite students to find information about how hot-air balloons fly by doing research in books and electronically. Observe a flight. Talk with passengers and crew. Research information on how various types of weather affect air currents. How is hot air created to keep the balloon afloat? What safety precautions are essential?
    2. Once student research is complete, ask them to cover their work spaces with recycled newspaper. With Crayola® Washable Paint, students paint a hot-air balloon, with themselves as passengers in the basket.
    3. Add pattern and color to decorate the balloon and basket. Show weather in which it is safe to fly. Dry on a flat surface.
    4. Students share their artwork with small groups of classmates. Ask them to incorporate into their talks newly-acquired information about hot air balloons.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Generate a number or shape pattern that follows a given rule. Identify apparent features of the pattern that were not explicit in the rule itself.

    SCI: Use mathematics and computational thinking to observe and record local weather data over time using standard units.

    SCI: Analyze and interpret weather data to identify day-to-day variations as well as long-term patterns

    SCI: Obtain and evaluate information about a variety of weather-related hazards that result from natural processes, as well as their environmental and societal impacts.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    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: Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman; A Rainbow Balloon by Ann Lenssen; Hot Air Balloons by Ailsa Spindler

    Students investigate the patterns of hot air balloons. Identify how often the pattern tessellates. Students design original patterns for their hot air balloons.

    Investigate safety precautions that should be taken when flying in a plane. Compare and contrast safety precautions for flying in a plane with traveling in a hot air balloon.

    Invite a balloon enthusiast to speak with the class about his hobby. Prior to the meeting, students make a list of topics they would like addressed during the talk. After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.


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