Green Bank Middle School Students Report On Weather Balloon

Earlier this spring, Heather Niday reported on the launch of a weather balloon from Green Bank Elementary and Middle School. For a follow-up on the results, I spoke with two students from the school.

“Olivia Kimble from seventh grade at Green Bank Elementary Middle School.”

“I’m Johnna Bennett from seventh grade in Green Bank Elementary Middle School.”

“And we’re talking about the weather balloon launch that we did on March 30th. The things that we sent up with it was potato chips, marshmallows, packing peanuts, popcorn kernels and bubble wrap, and water with food dye in it.”

“The balloon reached the stratosphere – we thought the balloon would go to 108,000 feet and the balloon would burst at 33,000 meters. But information is unknown because of our sensors, they didn’t particularly work. Our Middle School predicted that the water in our box would freeze, but we don’t know what happened to them because our camera didn’t work. One camera did and we got to see the balloon burst.”

“The day of the launch, we had the seventh grade split up into groups. One group had transmitters and antennas to locate the balloon;  our second group had binoculars; our third group was taking notes on what was happening; the fourth group was taking videos and pictures of the balloon; and then the last group was holding the balloon and the box with experiments.”

“We looked up on Google about, well what experiments should we do for a weather balloon? And sixth, seventh and eighth all chose one or two experiments to do – and the eighth grade chose popcorn kernels and packing peanuts, the sixth grade chose bubble wrap, and then our class chose potato chips and food dye.”

“When the balloon was let go, the balloon accelerated and went 150 miles per hour, which is also five to 10 G’s. The balloon only weighed six pounds by law. As the balloon was let go, our whole school watched it go into the sky.”

“Rudy tracked the balloon, and brought it back to our school on April 3rd after finding it April 2nd in Charlottesville, Virginia. The experiments were all safe – the potato chips were not broken after falling out of a 60 foot pine tree; the marshmallows were enlarged, all the bubble wrap was popped, but also had holes in the side; the popcorn kernels were still hard and not popped; the packing peanuts were softer and they were not smaller or bigger; our water was still liquid and none of it evaporated or froze.”

“And then some awesome camera footage that we got was the blue horizon of the earth and the edge of space. We also saw the balloon pop – it was around 30 meters across when it popped. It fell for 30 minutes before the parachute came out. We almost sent it into a vacuum, which means no matter or air – there was almost no error or matter around our balloon.”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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