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Class learns hot air science

COAL GROVE – The giant paper balloon filled with warm air, then rose swiftly when students released it into the wind.

Tuesday, May 22, 2001

COAL GROVE – The giant paper balloon filled with warm air, then rose swiftly when students released it into the wind.

This one made it over the building, and several ran to retrieve their creation.

Dawson-Bryant High School chemistry classmates joined seventh-grade science scholars for the balloon launch Monday – the culmination of weeks of studies.

Chemistry teacher Carla Dishman and science teacher Deb Porter got the idea while attending the National Science Teachers Convention in St. Louis, they said.

A seminar there spoke of the balloon experiment and how its hands-on technique teaches students the physics and chemistry of air, so the duo brought the idea home, they said.

Students taped together tissue paper into a balloon shape, with straws attached in a ring at the bottom. They talked about what would happen then took them outside. A little warm air from borrowed popcorn poppers helped launch the balloons so students could see what they had accomplished.

For the high schoolers, the experiment let them see firsthand the chemistry laws affecting gases and density. Seventh-graders also saw what their books had been saying, that hot air rises, the teachers said.

It was a lot of fun, too, the students said.

And, at least a few commented that the balloon launch was something interesting – instead of book work.