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Up & Away

Where do balloons go when they fly away? Explore funny balloon-escape stories and write an imaginary story about the whereabouts of lost balloons.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. As a read aloud, invite students to experience Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis or a similar humorous story about balloons. Encourage them to use their imagination to determine what the sky would look like if it were filled with all the lost balloons in the world. Also find information about what happens in real life to helium-filled balloons when they escape.
    2. Working in small groups, students brainstorm a list of ways to assure that balloons do not escape and litter the environment or endanger sea turtles or other wildlife. Share lists with classmates.
    3. Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Using Crayola® Washable Watercolors, color a sky background on watercolor paper. For a wash of color, wet the paper first. Use varying amounts of paint to create a realistic sky effect. Dry.
    4. On a separate piece of watercolor paper, sketch helium balloons in different sizes and shapes with Crayola Colored Pencils. Color them with various colors of watercolor paint and brushes. Dry.
    5. Cut out the balloons using Crayola Scissors. Glue one edge of each balloon onto the sky background with Crayola Glue Sticks. Stuff balloons with tissues and then glue down the other end. Glue on pieces of colorful yarn for balloon strings.
    6. Students write a short story about the scene created. How did the balloons get lost? Where did they go? What happens to them? Share completed short stories with classmates.
  • Standards

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

    LA: Read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

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

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Mystery by Jamie Lee Curtis; A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood; Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman; A Rainbow Balloon by Ann Lenssen

    Students investigate how hot air balloons work. Are they similar to or different from rubber and plastic helium-filled balloons?

    Invite a community member who works with or flies hot air balloons. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for the guest, After the visit, students post learning to a class blog.


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