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Sky Was the Limit to Student Creativity & Scientific Adventures

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Sky Was the Limit to Student Creativity & Scientific Adventures

Two Balloons

Brightly colored miniature hot air balloons filled the skies on the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology campus earlier this month as Wabash Valley middle school and high school students showcased their love of science. The hands-on project culminated a fun-filled year for the Explore Engineering program, part of college's educational outreach activities to interest youths in science, engineering, mathematics and technology.

Rose-Hulman professors and students contribute time and thought to ensuring that youngsters see the joyous side of engineering early on. For example, this miniature hot air balloon activity was organized by Kevin Sutterer, head of the Department of Civil Engineering, with assistance from members of the Cecil T. Lobo student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Explore Engineering program is coordinated by Dale Long of the Office of Communications & Marketing.

Approximately 40 youths worked in teams throughout April to design and assemble their miniature hot air balloons, using light-weight crepe paper and glue. Then, on May 3, the teams patiently filled their balloons with hot air and launched their projects toward the bright blue skies. The balloons soared to about 40 feet into the air, and travelled several feet from the original launch pad, until returning to the ground. Many teams made multiple launches throughout the evening.

The Explore Engineering program brought students in grades 6-12 to campus two nights each month throughout the 2010-11 school year to learn about different aspects of engineering and science. Other activities had youths creating electronic and mousetrap powered racers, completing chemistry experiments, making popsicle bridges and learning about robotics.

Balloon launch