We had an amazing time at Summer STEM Launch. Students from the four CPS high schools (Chicago Vocational Career Academy, Lake View, Michele Clark, and Rickover Naval Academy) joined us on IIT’s campus to design a real weather balloon and to launch it to high altitude!
Students were given the task to create a weather balloon. The making of the weather balloon consisted of three major parts: the sensor pod , Raspberry Pi, and weather balloon. Students worked with Heather Nelson to create a sensor used to measure temperature using Ardunio. Students also worked with Mike Davis to create the structure of the box that was used to hold the Ardunio sensor and Raspberry Pi. Along with the help of Uzoma Agu, students used Raspberry Pi computers to read the altitude and used Pi cameras to photograph and record Chicago at 500 feet! Before breaking out for lunch students and staff worked together on putting helium in the balloon and making sure the boxes containing the Ardunio and Raspberry Pi were secured.
After lunch we found out due to the amount of weight from the three boxes they did not leave the ground and balloon flew way. Which led to the back up plan, which was to send only one box containing everything instead of three different boxes. The back up plan was a total success, the balloon flew high, the data collected, and the photographs taken were amazing.
It was great to welcome new and returning STEM Launch students back to campus. We are looking forward to our next program next year. Stay posted for details!
-Jacqueline Bautista, Senior at Lake View High School, Student Intern at IIT