Project Ferociously Awesome Balloons

Optical
Thin Film
Innovation

An IS09001:2008 & British Standard Kitemark company

Project Ferociously Awesome Balloons
 
Project FAB's main aim to achieve an increase in the enjoyment of science lessons for primary school students. By doing this, we aim to increase the number of children wanting to pursue a scientific career. We also aim to increase the confidence of senior high school students in communicating scientific ideas, and teaching them to younger pupils. We hope that this will not only boost their chances of employment or acceptance to higher/further education, but will fuel their individual passion for scientific subjects. Another of our aims is to increase the confidence of primary school teachers in teaching science in a fun and engaging manner.
 
One of the main aims of our project is to inform young people about science. We plan to teach senior high school students the intricacies of the project and recruit them to help teach primary school children. This will give pupils a basic understanding of atomic structure, gravity, the relationship between temperature and pressure, greenhouse gases, and particle physics. Furthermore, we will help older students to expand this understanding by learning about cosmic rays, gravitational waves, and climate change. The high school students will help to lead lessons about high altitude ballooning, which will provide them with the opportunity to become more confident in their scientific knowledge and get first-hand experience teaching. During these lessons, we will carry out exciting experiments which will engage the children and make some of the more difficult aspects of our project easier for them to understand. We also aim to run an after school club for the high school students which will give them the opportunity to learn about microcontroller programming. We hope that giving pupils this basic knowledge of physics will inspire them to become more involved in science and pursue a career in science.
 
We aim to carry out four major experiments, consisting of three high altitude balloons, each measuring a different property of the atmosphere with the equipment attached.
With one balloon we aim to measure the change in magnitude of radiation, caused by high energy cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere, as a function of altitude using a scintillating plastic. With a second balloon we aim to measure the change of gravitational force as a function of altitude, and demonstrate that objects do in fact fall at the same rate. We also hoe measure atmospheric temperature and pressure as a function of altitude. Our aim for the third and final balloon is to measure the concentration of Carbon Dioxide, Ozone, and Methane. Using the concentrations of Ozone, we aim to show that the absorption of UV radiation raises atmospheric temperature. Also, by comparing levels of Methane and Carbon Dioxide to pre-industrial revolution levels we aim to show that levels of these gases do contribute to global climate change. Our hope is that we can use these experiments to illustrate the things the pupils have learned in the classroom, as well as using images captured on-board to really spark their imaginations and love of science.