Weather Balloon CHALLENGE

83 DAYS : 14 HOURS : 52 MINS LEFT
Challenge Details
YOUR CHALLENGE IS:

TO CREATE A WEATHER BALLOON PAYLOAD AND WEATHER DATA VISUALIZATIONS

ENTRIES DUE: March 06, 2019 | 11:59 PM PST

Kindergarten to 8th Grade Only

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!
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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
 
20
POINTS
Creativity of your Weather Balloon Payload Design
20
POINTS
Communication of your entry via text, images, and/or finalist interview (if applicable).
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.

HOW TO ENTER

An entry must include:

Title (Max 30 Characters)

Text Description (Max 1500 Characters)

Up to 6 images (Max 2MB each; JPG/JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF or SVG)


Please review the Contest Rules and Design Guidelines prior to creating your entry.
Contest Rules Design Guidelines
PROGRAM DATES
Challenge Launch
04
December
Entries Close
06
March
Semifinalists Announced
10
April
Finalists Announced
17
April
Finalist Interview
29
April
Winners Announced
02
May
Challenge Launch
04
December
Entries Close
06
March
Semifinalists Announced
10
April
Finalists Announced
17
April
Finalist Interview
29
April
Winners Announced
02
May

PRIZES

 

Conduct The Challenge

Lesson Plan Details and Challenge Tips!

1. Science 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!
Science Lessons
Digital Tools
Brainstorm & Design
Build & Iterate
Science Lessons
>
Science Lessons
Digital Tools
Brainstorm & Design
Build & Iterate

LEARN ABOUT SCIENCE

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.
FOR THE CLASSROOM

Group Size

Max 4 Students per Team

Approach

Use Lessons and Slides to Teach Weather

Material

Computer, Internet, Other

Videos / Resources

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.
FOR THE CLASSROOM

Group Size

Max 4 Students per Team

Approach

Make paper & penny mockups, get creative, and sketch designs

Material

Computer, Internet, Other

Educator tools

Brainstorming Ideas

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.
FOR THE CLASSROOM

Group Size

Max 4 Students per Team

Approach

Make plots, charts, graphs using computer software

Material

Computer, Internet, Data sets
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

Educator tools

 

An education program for
tomorrows innovators

Future Engineers hosts online innovation challenges for K-12 students. In 2014, Future Engineers launched its innaugural 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.

Prize Partners