Piedmont Elementary Launches Weather Balloon

DULUTH, Minn.– The Northland weather is always unpredictable but one group of elementary students had a pretty cool way to try and make sense of the conditions.

With the help of St. Louis County, Essentia Health, and others, students at Piedmont Elementary got to spend their Friday researching from the sky.

Piedmont students launched a weather balloon into the air Friday afternoon to help students learn about the atmosphere in the Twin Ports.

Once launched, a GPS located inside in the balloon will help the students find the balloon and gather their results.

“That science is a lot of fun and even through some failures we learn a lot,” said Loni Schweiger, a 5th grade teacher at Piedmont Elementary.

Along with solving experiments students came up with, the balloon will give a reading of conditions in the atmosphere like the o-zone, wind conditions, and air pressure.

And their teacher says students couldn’t wait to launch the balloon, with best day ever chants before class.

“We focused a lot on atmospheric pressure, so it takes a really abstract concept like air pressure and makes it concrete and tangible for our students,” said Schweiger.

Dave Johnson, a 6th grade science teacher at Marshall School was also there to see the balloon go up.

Most balloons for the project stay up in the air for a few hours. Even though this one didn’t go quite as long, Johnson says it’s still a great way to spark young student’s interest in STEM through the numbers and by showing them what the balloon can do.

“They launch this balloon, they’re looking at these cool pictures that it took when it was up in the air, and then they can look at the data and it begins to make sense. The numbers begin to tell a story,” said Johnson.

Marshall School will plan on launching their balloon on Monday if conditions allow. Johnson says any other schools are interested in this learning opportunity should contact him.

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