8th Grade Launches Weather Balloon

8th graders prepare the weather balloon to be filled with helium.

8th graders prepare the weather balloon to be filled with helium.

On May 3, the 8th graders launched a weather balloon to study the layers of the atmosphere, take photos and videos from the stratosphere, and practice predicting and tracking the balloon’s journey. The 8th graders worked in teams for two weeks leading up to the launch to equip the balloon and its payloads with thermometers, barometers, hygrometers, GPS beacons, a parachute, and three HD cameras. The payload included "StratoBarbie" and a raw egg as an experiment in the harsh conditions of near-space. 

The launch site was relocated west to the Boonville High School soccer field to reduce the likelihood the balloon would end up in the Mississippi River flood waters. After the launch, students boarded a bus and chased the balloon to near Bowling Green, MO, where the balloon was retrieved in a farm field.

StratoBarbie took a ride 100,000 feet up, courtesy of the weather balloon.

StratoBarbie took a ride 100,000 feet up, courtesy of the weather balloon.

At the conclusion of the event, the 8th-grade team learned that StratoBarbie did not fully survive the volatility of the balloon burst at 99,573 feet, the egg "cracked under [lack of] pressure," and technical difficulties can happen when so many variables are in action.

Students then analyzed the data from their instruments and saw that pressure and temperature changed as predicted, and they were also able to see from the graphs where the troposphere changes to the stratosphere (see attached graphs). 

The weather balloon launch is always one of the most anticipated Cube projects of the year!

The weather balloon filling up with helium, getting ready for takeoff.

The weather balloon filling up with helium, getting ready for takeoff.

Mr. Luther and Mr. Vasquez retrieving the popped weather balloon near Bowling Green, MO.

Mr. Luther and Mr. Vasquez retrieving the popped weather balloon near Bowling Green, MO.

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