Woodrow Wilson and the amazing Technicolor hot air balloon

WTHI Photo / Cody Murphy
WTHI Photo / Cody Murphy

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – As students are building up excitement for the end of the school year, nearly a thousand spent Thursday morning building one exciting science project.

It started as a question and like a good teacher the answer ended up being blown up to something much bigger.

“We start the year making smaller scale balloons, but one student asked me what the biggest one I’ve ever made was and we got to talking about making one as big as the room, so we did,” explained Jeremy Johnson, Woodrow Wilson teacher.

The class of Woodrow Wilson and the amazing Technicolor hot air balloon – the largest of its craft patched together by Johnson and his 6th Grade Science class.

“The balloon was 55 ft long, so 55 ft tall and made from 792 pieces of tissue paper of various sizes,” stated Johnson.

So why tissue paper?

“Tissue paper is light, so less mass, light weight, easier for flight…” Johnson explained.

The school gathered around for blast off Thursday morning, but unfortunately there was a problem.

“We pumped heat into it and it was working fine, but I think our nemesis today was the wind gust, I think it came in too fast and it ripped,” Johnson said.

Although everything didn’t go as planned teachers and Johnson say it’s a soaring amount of fun but it also helps propel that school lesson for the students.

“I love hands on learning and teaching, I love getting the kids involved with something bigger than them,” he said.

Johnson said he and the students are going to give it another go next school year in hopes of taking the largest tissue paper balloon record.

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