Sixth Grade Science Experiment Floats into Space

Sixth Grade Science Experiment Floats into Space

Up, up, and away! Duchesne sixth graders are analyzing the results of a science experiment they sent into space by weather balloon, but the students are learning more than the data the experiment collected.

"The real hope is not that they will remember any of the data obtained, but rather that they get a better understanding of the process and high level of collaboration involved in setting up and carrying out experiments that have real world application," said Adam Farnie, Middle School science teacher.

"This could apply to real life situations because we learned that it is possible to collaborate and work with others who don't go to your school, or even live near you," said sixth graders Emily Parmenter.

The experiment traveled to York, Pennsylvania, where the Edge of Space organization floated the weather balloon far above the Earth's surface into space.

"The purpose of this experiment was for students to confirm predictions on how various measurements, such as temperature, humidity, UV, and pressure, changed throughout our atmosphere," said Mr. Farnie.

"The purpose of this experiment was to identify the changes that took place as the balloon went farther up in the atmosphere," said sixth grader Fiona Charlton.

A video of the balloon's launch and trip into space can be seen by clicking here.

The experiment returned home to Duchesne after landing safely. The experiment measured humidity, temperature, UV radiation, and air pressure. The results showed all except for UV radiation went down as the balloon traveled up the atmosphere. The UV measurements were inconsistent.

"I learned that the UV light was crazy and spiking up and down because the machine measuring was spinning when the balloon was going up. Also, there was no humidity at one point because the stratosphere does not have enough particles for humidity," said sixth grader Echo Malinowski-Cunningham.

The experiment was not only a successful science lesson. The students learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration.

"My hope is that they leave with an interest in pursuing experimental fields in college," said Mr. Farnie. "Because of their participation in this, they will be better equipped to perform experiments that have practical application and more able to collaborate with teammates in their class, as well as those across the country or world."