50 Foot Solar Balloon

Contributor
Dillons Day
Type Category
Assessment Materials
Types
Phenomenon
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This video clip demonstrates the use and performance of a 50 foot long solar balloon. A solar balloon demonstrates the phenomenon of the conversion of one form of energy (solar/electromagnetic) into other forms (thermal, kinetic, and gravitational potential). It is recommended that the video be shown without sound so that students are not tipped off to the science behind the phenomenon. As students watch the video, the instructor could have them write down what they think is happening. This resource is not part of a larger work and is not connected to another resource. The phenomenon shown in this video could easily be turned into an activity that students perform themselves. This phenomena can be used as a discussion starter for students to write driving questions for which they can design investigations to use to gather evidence.

Some questions that the students may discuss are: Why does the balloon rise? Does it matter what color the balloon is? Does it matter if its sunny or cloudy?

This phenomenon could easily be turned into a hands-on activity or used as a discussion starter for students to write driving questions for which they can design investigations to use to gather evidence.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-PS3-2 Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects)

Clarification Statement: Examples of phenomena at the macroscopic scale could include the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy, the energy stored due to position of an object above the earth, and the energy stored between two electrically-charged plates. Examples of models could include diagrams, drawings, descriptions, and computer simulations.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students should create models (including diagrams and explanations) that explain the conversion of solar energy into other forms of energy including kinetic, gravitational potential, and thermal. The instructor should make sure that students also address the energy of air molecules inside and outside the balloon and not just the energies of the macroscopic balloon itself.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students should have prior knowledge of the molecular and kinetic theories of gases, as well as the various relevant forms of energy (solar, thermal, kinetic, and gravitational potential), the conservation of energy, and buoyant force. All of that prior knowledge will be used by students as they work to develop a detailed explanation of why the solar balloon rose into the sky. This lesson could even be tied to the Earth and Space Sciences performance expectation HS-ESS1-1 that states that energy formed in the core of the sun during nuclear fusion will make its way to earth in the form of radiation.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This is a resource that can unite Earth and Space Science with Physics since it is solar radiation that is heating the bag, lowering the air density inside bag, and causing it rise thereby demonstrating conservation of energy and the conversion of energy from one form (solar/light) to another (kinetic and gravitational potential). An instructor may want their students to diagram how energy moves through the system as well as the various changes it undergoes. In addition, students should be required to describe the evidence that indicates energy is conserved.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Have students diagram the transfer of energy from the sun, to earth, and then into the bag in the form of kinetic and gravitational potential energy and also indicate how energy is conserved.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -