Weather Balloon CHALLENGE

Challenge Closed
Challenge Details
YOUR CHALLENGE IS:

TO CREATE A WEATHER BALLOON PAYLOAD AND WEATHER DATA VISUALIZATIONS

Challenge Closed

Kindergarten to 8th Grade Only Challenge

If you are a K-8 student in the United States, your challenge is to design a weather balloon payload for Future Engineers to launch in Los Angeles, CA. First: Using historical data, create 2-3 data visualizations that explain Los Angeles weather and/or climate, including average annual temperatures in Los Angeles for the past 20 years. Second: Using recycled materials and our “paper and penny” mockup components, design a payload that can hang from a helium weather balloon and survive an 8 foot drop test. Your entry must include images (up to 6), a title, and a text description. Be sure to review the CONTEST RULES and DESIGN GUIDELINES for all challenge details and specifications. If you win, we will launch your design and you will also get a weather balloon supply kit! Start thinking lofty ... and good luck!
Challenge Launch Video
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Challenge Launch Powerpoint
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WINNERS

Grades K-8
>
1
Grades K-8 Winner
Keerthana G., Kriti V., Sahasra K., Sanoja S.
Tracy, CA
The Robot
Grades K-8 Finalist
Brian Y.
Brooklyn, NY
Dove of Peace Weather Balloon
Grades K-8 Finalist
Chinmayee G., Namanpreet K., Scarlett T.
Tracy, CA
Weather Balloon Payload
Grades K-8 Finalist
Ilan D.
Brooklyn, NY
Weather Engineer
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Aniruthan R., Thawin V.
Tracy, CA
Polystyrene Payload
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Christopher K.
Brooklyn, NY
The Wide
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Dishita T., Haasini A., Manogna V., Srihitha K.
Tracy, CA
Robust Weather Balloon Payload
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Gurneet S.
San Ramon, CA
Weather Balloon Payload Design
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Manonmani R., Yazyth V., Zoe B.
Mountain View, CA
Damage Proof Payload Design
Grades K-8 SemiFinalist
Nipun R., Samarth R.
Germantown, TN
Mausam Device
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DATES / JUDGING CRITERIA / PRIZES

You have to play by the rules to win.

WHO CAN ENTER

Individuals or Teams of up to 4 Students
All teammates must be in the same judging category
Grades K-8 Students
In the United States

JUDGING CRITERIA

Grades K-8
 
30
POINTS
Informativeness of your Weather Data Visualizations and compliance with the Design Guidelines
30
POINTS
Flight worthiness of your Weather Balloon Payload Design and compliance with the Design Guidelines.
20
POINTS
Creativity of your Weather Balloon Payload Design
20
POINTS
Communication of your entry via text, images, and/or finalist interview (if applicable).

HOW TO ENTER

Please review the Challenge Rules and Design Guidelines prior to creating your entry.

Challenge Rules Design Guidelines

TEACHERS
Sign up to create class codes for your students & manage entries

STUDENTS
Sign up to enter. If you have a class code, please add it during sign up

ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT?
Login to Enter

STUDENT & TEACHER SIGN UP
PROGRAM DATES
Challenge Launch
04
December
Entries Close
27
March
Semifinalists Announced
17
April
Finalists Announced
24
April
Finalist Interviews
03
May
Winners Announced
07
May
Challenge Launch
04
December
Entries Close
27
March
Semifinalists Announced
17
April
Finalists Announced
24
April
Finalist Interviews
03
May
Winners Announced
07
May

PRIZES

 

Dive Into The Challenge

Lesson Plan Details and Challenge Tips!

1. Links & Lessons

Learn about weather

2. Digital Tools

Learn to make data visualizations

3. Brainstorm & Design

Design a weather balloon payload

4. Build & Iterate

Build, Iterate, and Drop Test!
Links & Lessons
Digital Tools
Brainstorm & Design
Build & Iterate
Links & Lessons
>
Links & Lessons
Digital Tools
Brainstorm & Design
Build & Iterate

LEARN ABOUT THE CHALLENGE

Students will learn all about weather! From the water cycle to air pressure, to fronts and weather maps, and then onto weather data and making data visualizations. Students will also learn local climate factors and what makes each city's weather so unique.

Brainstorm & Design

Students will use these brainstorming categories to ideate their payload design. They will also build "paper and penny" mockups of the onboard components and create a sketch of their payload design.
Brainstorming Idea
LAUNCH CONDITIONS

During your weather balloon ascent, what kind of environment will it travel through?

Is it hot or cold? Humid or dry? Windy or not?

 

During the descent, what will your payload encounter? Upon landing, where could it land? You DO NOT need to account for an ocean landing. Future Engineers will not launch with an offshore wind. Nor will we launch in rain! 

 

 

Brainstorming Idea
WEIGHT

A weather balloon payload (including your mockups) can be no more than 4 lbs (1814g).

 

What kinds of designs will make sure the payload stays with in the 4 pound limit? 

Brainstorming Idea
STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY

Your payload needs to hold all components (nothing should fall off), be sturdy during flight (not flop around), and survive the landing back to Earth.

 

How can your payload design be lightweight, strong, and survive impact? DO NOT create a second parachute.

 

Brainstorming Idea
BALANCE & ORIENTATION

Is balance important to your payload build? If so, how will you attain it? If not, how will it not being balanced benefit your build?

 

Remember that the temperature sensor (flight computer) needs to take data and the camera needs to shoot video!

 

Brainstorming Idea
MATERIALS

 To build your payload, you may use any recycled material listed in the Los Angeles Blue Bin Recycling page with any fasteners, string, tape, or adhesive you choose.

 

What materials do you think would work best for your payload build? 

 

Brainstorming Idea
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

 Weather balloons are not always recovered. If we were unable to recover your payload, what impact would it have on the environment? 

 

Digital Tools

Students can make data visualizations with pen and paper, or they can learn new digital skills and generate plots, graphs, and charts using data spreadsheets.
Microsoft Excel
Use a spreadsheet to organize data by columns and create and customize graphs, plots, chart.
Google Sheets
Free google spreadsheet tool that can be used to create graphs from columns of data.
Tableau Public
Advanced data visualization software offered as a desktop product and free for K-12 students. Also available as a free online product. Very powerful, but has a learning curve.

Build & Iterate

In the last phase of the engineering design process, students will build, refine, and iterate their weather balloon payload design. To simulate the landing back to Earth, they will see if their payload can survive a drop test from 8 feet.
FOR THE CLASSROOM

Group Size

Max 4 Students per Team

Approach

Build, Iterate and Drop Test!

Material

Recycled Materials, Fasteners, Tape, & Adhesives
 
 
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An education program for
the Innovators of Tomorrow

Future Engineers hosts online innovation challenges for K-12 students. In 2014, Future Engineers launched its inaugural 3D printing in space challenge, sponsored by the ASME Foundation with technical assistance from NASA, which produced historic achievements including the first student-designed 3D print in space. Based on that success, and through the support of the U.S. Department of Education's SBIR Program, Future Engineers launched a multi-challenge platform in 2018 capable of hosting STEAM challenges of all kinds, including our first Weather Balloon Challenge. All challenges are free for student/classroom participation.

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