High altitude balloon schools competition

We launched a competition for primary and secondary schools to win the chance to launch a high altitude balloon at their school and be able to decide how the data is analysed and what experiments are on board. The balloon will be carrying a suit of scientific equipment including a camera.

About this competition

We asked schools to tell us what scientific question they would like to answer during the balloon launch by using either the on-board camera, simple radiation detector or atmospheric sensor. We also wanted to know what experiment they would propose be added onto the balloon.

The winning primary school and a secondary school will be selected on Thursday 4 April 2019 to host the launch and send an item and experiment up on the balloon in June or July.

About the launch day

We will run a half day workshop at the two winning schools with the launch being the highlight.

The day will comprise of science talks, hands on activities and careers discussions from our academics about the physics and engineering related to the high altitude balloon project. The research talks will be filmed and available for the other schools in the competition to access and the launch will be available on the Habhub tracker where schools will be able to see the images that are uploaded in real time.

We will share all the scientific data from the experiments with all the schools involved after the launch, with teacher guides on how you might build lessons around the data sets collected and we hope this will be a starting point for further investigation and enrichment.

In case of bad weather

Weather is an important factor for the launch and we won't be able to if it is raining, or heavy winds, so we will develop an additional hands on workshop around high altitude balloons as a backup in case of bad weather.

This will include a team activity ‘build a balloon’ where students can design their own high altitude balloon platform for carrying a specific weight and we will use a helium balloon to see who’s design can get furthest in the school hall. We plan to give multi-disciplinary prizes for best launch video, best experiment and best photo.