Project Ferociously Awesome Balloons

Lead Research Organisation: Helia Photonics
Department Name: Research

Abstract

Project FAB's main aim to achieve an increase in the enjoyment of science lessons for primary school students. By doing this, we aim to increase the number of children wanting to pursue a scientific career. We also aim to increase the confidence of senior high school students in communicating scientific ideas, and teaching them to younger pupils. We hope that this will not only boost their chances of employment or acceptance to higher/further education, but will fuel their individual passion for scientific subjects. Another of our aims is to increase the confidence of primary school teachers in teaching science in a fun and engaging manner.

One of the main aims of our project is to inform young people about science. We plan to teach senior high school students the intricacies of the project and recruit them to help teach primary school children. This will give pupils a basic understanding of atomic structure, gravity, the relationship between temperature and pressure, greenhouse gases, and particle physics. Furthermore, we will help older students to expand this understanding by learning about cosmic rays, gravitational waves, and climate change. The high school students will help to lead lessons about high altitude ballooning, which will provide them with the opportunity to become more confident in their scientific knowledge and get first-hand experience teaching. During these lessons, we will carry out exciting experiments which will engage the children and make some of the more difficult aspects of our project easier for them to understand. We also aim to run an after school club for the high school students which will give them the opportunity to learn about microcontroller programming. We hope that giving pupils this basic knowledge of physics will inspire them to become more involved in science and pursue a career in science.

We aim to carry out four major experiments, consisting of three high altitude balloons, each measuring a different property of the atmosphere with the equipment attached.
With one balloon we aim to measure the change in magnitude of radiation, caused by high energy cosmic ray collisions in the upper atmosphere, as a function of altitude using a scintillating plastic. With a second balloon we aim to measure the change of gravitational force as a function of altitude, and demonstrate that objects do in fact fall at the same rate. We also hoe measure atmospheric temperature and pressure as a function of altitude. Our aim for the third and final balloon is to measure the concentration of Carbon Dioxide, Ozone, and Methane. Using the concentrations of Ozone, we aim to show that the absorption of UV radiation raises atmospheric temperature. Also, by comparing levels of Methane and Carbon Dioxide to pre-industrial revolution levels we aim to show that levels of these gases do contribute to global climate change. Our hope is that we can use these experiments to illustrate the things the pupils have learned in the classroom, as well as using images captured on-board to really spark their imaginations and love of science.

Planned Impact

As a team we intend to present our project at the annual event run by the Institute of Physics, The Conference of Astronomy and Physics Students (CAPS), which is hosted by a University every year and typically lasts 3-4 days during the summer. This conference is available to undergraduate and postgraduate students studying Physics or another related field; providing us with good scientific connections that enable us to successfully promote and publicise the project. We believe CAPS is a beneficial and rewarding experience that enhances scientific knowledge through the use of student/guest based lectures. This is turn will educate former students attending the event and make them more aware and interested in Project FAB. We hope to use the event as a platform to motivate our fellow students to run similar projects in their own areas, or attempt to bring more schools under the scope of Project FAB.

To communicate to the general public, we plan to use social media outlets Twitter and Facebook. On these platforms, we can easily inform the public of who we are, what we are doing and, crucially, why we are doing it. We also intend on setting up a web-page, which will have any and all information on the project. We also plan to use this to make our lesson plans and technical diagrams of learning aids open-source, so anyone who wishes to educate young children on science, be it through school, the Scout Movement, Boys' Brigade, Girl Guides or youth clubs has the capacity to do this.

We also intend on applying to give a presentation, or to have a stall, at the Glasgow Science Festival next year. This represents an excellent opportunity for us to introduce new schools to Project FAB, as well as informing members of the general public about our work. The festival also brings in many scientists from across the country. Our intention is to use this opportunity to explain our project to them, and to encourage them to run similar projects related to their field of work.

Publications


10 25 50
 
Description Project FAB Collaboration 
Organisation Gas Sensing Solutions
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Planning and delivering all engagement activities. Majority of experimental design and construction.
Collaborator Contribution Helia Photonics handled all purchasing and accounting for the project. The CTO acted as chief advisor to the project, and the company supplied the Helium for the weather balloons. Gas Sensing Solutions provided one of the COZIR Ambient CO2 detectors free of charge. The University of Glasgow School of Physics and Astronomy allowed us use of the Kelvin Building Common Room. The Nuclear Physics group and the Particle Physics Experimental group provided advice regarding our Cosmic Ray experiment, the latter group loaned us a MediPix detector and FitPC control computer for the experiment. The Astronomy Department loaned us Radio equipment for payload recovery
Impact Entire project
Start Year 2016
 
Description Project FAB Collaboration 
Organisation Helia Photonics
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Planning and delivering all engagement activities. Majority of experimental design and construction.
Collaborator Contribution Helia Photonics handled all purchasing and accounting for the project. The CTO acted as chief advisor to the project, and the company supplied the Helium for the weather balloons. Gas Sensing Solutions provided one of the COZIR Ambient CO2 detectors free of charge. The University of Glasgow School of Physics and Astronomy allowed us use of the Kelvin Building Common Room. The Nuclear Physics group and the Particle Physics Experimental group provided advice regarding our Cosmic Ray experiment, the latter group loaned us a MediPix detector and FitPC control computer for the experiment. The Astronomy Department loaned us Radio equipment for payload recovery
Impact Entire project
Start Year 2016
 
Description After School Programming Club (Larbert Cluster Primary Schools) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A four week after school club was run for Primary School students, teaching them how to program.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Blog Post for Science Grrl 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As a follow up to the award presented to the project at CAPS '16, a blog post for the website sciencegrrl.co.uk was writtten and published. The post detailed the equality and diversity aims of the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://sciencegrrl.co.uk/project-fab/
 
Description School Lessons (Larbert Cluster Schools) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact (Currently ongoing) The high school students previously trained on delivering lessons traveled to local primary schools to provide a three week curriculum regarding various scientific topics. Currently on week 3 of 3
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description School Visits (Larbert High School) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Training of 15 senior high school pupils in engagement with younger children at a primary school level. Weekly visits over a period of 5 weeks helped the pupils understand the topics involved, and prepare lessons on the subject to deliver to the primary school children
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Speech at Conference for Astronomy and Physics Students 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Presented a well received speech at CAPS '16 explaining the goals and outcomes so far of the project. Won the Science Grrl award for Diversity and Inclusivity in Science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016