The Topic:

Easier - Balloons are small, often brightly colored, thin rubber bags that rise and float when they are filled with air or some other light gas. These small balloons are blown up and used as toys or as a decoration. Much larger hot air or other lighter-than-regular-air balloons are used as aircraft. They often have a basket that carry passengers and other loads into the air.
Harder - A balloon is a bag filled with heated air or a light gas causing it to rise and float in the air. A balloon ascends because the heated air or gas inside is lighter and less dense than the surrounding air. Balloons are made in a variety of sizes, shapes, and designs. In addition to their use as children's toys and party decorations, balloons and have other uses. Scientists use balloons to carry instruments into the atmosphere to gather information about the weather.
Balloons can be captive, free-floating, or powered. Powered balloons are called airships or blimps. The airship has an engine and propellers to power it, plus a rudder and instruments that enable the pilot to steer it. A free-floating balloon travels wherever it is blown by the wind. The balloon pilot can control the vertical movement of a piloted, free-floating balloon but cannot steer it. However, the pilot can control the course of a balloon flight to some degree by rising or descending into a layer of wind that is blowing in the desired direction. Some large-size piloted balloons are used by people in the sport of ballooning. Such balloons have a basket attached beneath the bag to carry a pilot and passengers. Piloted balloons are also used for scientific research. Captive balloons are anchored to the ground by a cable. Captive or tethered balloons are often used in advertising displays, but sometimes are employed to relay radio and television programs to remote areas.
Balloon HQ
This site is a comprehensive collection of toy and decorative balloon information.
Balloon Race Around the World at PBS Nova Online
At this site, you can explore the science of hot-air ballooning.
Related Website:
2) SoloSpirit: Round the World Solo Balloon Flight
Balloons: Why Are Balloons Stretchy? from Newton's Apple
Why are balloons stretchy? What are balloons made of? How do they hold air? What are they used for? This presentation includes insights, connections, key words, resources, and a main activity on balloons
How Hot Air Balloons Work by T. Harris at HowStuff Works
If you actually need to get somewhere, a hot air balloon is a fairly impractical vehicle. You can't really steer it, and it only travels as fast as the wind blows. But if you simply want to enjoy the experience of flying, there's nothing quite like it.
Other Balloon Pages at HowStuffWorks:
2) Hot Air Balloon Going to Mars
3) How Helium Balloons Work by M. Brain
4) 'How Many Regular-sized helium-filled Balloons Would It Take to Lift Someone?'
5) 'What Causes Helium Balloons to Lose Their Lift After A Day or Two?'
6) 'Would A Balloon Filled with Vacuum Instead of Helium Float?'
After visiting several of the websites for balloons, complete one or more of these related projects:
Make Your Own Balloon Creations. You will find some online help including directions from Kids Stuff with Magical Balloon-dude Dale and Professor Wonder's Balloon Gallery.
Complete A Balloon WebQuest. Follow or adapt the procedures found at the following webQuest sites:
1) Take Your Balloon Team Around the World! by S. Anielski (Grade 8)
2) Up, Up, and Away by N. Piwko (Grade 3)
Draw A Hot Air Balloon. Watching a hot air balloon travel across the sky is an exciting experience! The bright colors against the blue sky are usually striking. Draw and color your own hot air balloons. Create a unique design pattern. Display your creation.
Create A 3-D Balloon Model. Start with a inflated balloon. Then use one of the following procedures (Ideas from Balloon Explorium) to cover and create your model:
(A) Papier-mâché: use newspaper strips with flour and water paste to cover the inflated balloon. Let dry and paint.
(B) Stained-glass balloon: Start with a white or clear balloon. First cover it with several layers of white tissue paper. This prevents the color of the balloon from showing through. Cut colored tissue paper into 1 to 2 inch wide strips. Use diluted (water) glue to attach the strips of tissue over your balloon. Vary the colors, overlap edges haphazardly, or you may want to create a pattern. Using a variety of paper colors will give a stained glass appearance. Apply several layers of tissue paper. Hint: Tissue paper colors will bleed. Be prepared - cover work surface and clothes. Let balloon dry.
(C) String art balloon: Dip 2 or 3 foot lengths of string or thread into starch and place over your inflated balloon. Let dry. When string is dry, pop balloon.
(D) Cloth scraps balloon: Collect old sheet scraps or cotton fabric scraps. Cut in 1 to 2 inches wide or in squares. Dip fabric in liquid starch and cover the balloon. Let dry and pop the balloon.
Construct or find a small basket to use as your balloon gondola. Hang or fasten the basket underneath your balloon. Attach a hook, string or fishing line and hang your balloon.
Create A List of Balloon Safety Rules. Hot air ballooning is an exciting sport. However, the activity does include a number of potential hazards. Using information found at several of the websites, create a list of safety rules or guidelines for ballooning.
Website By Kids For Kids
Happy Landings (1999 Internet Challenge)
This is a website about balloons and ballooning
More Balloon Websites
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Follow this yearly gathering of hot air balloons. The site includes ballooning facts, photos, and live images from the balloons.
Balloon History from ReMax
This brief article summarizes over two centuries of ballooning and aeronautic history.
Other Balloon History Sites:
2) Balloons: (1700-1900)
3) Early Hot Air Ballooning in Australia
4) Hot Air Ballooning History from the Arizona Balloon Club
5) Short History of Hot Air Ballooning from BalloonZone
Balloon Life
This online site for hot air ballooning contains a few articles and links to related sites.
Balloon Zone
Read an abbreviated history of hot air ballooning and learn about how the balloon is put together.
Ballooning As A Science Project by T. Hamilton
This report is designed to answer a number of frequently asked questions about ballooning, provide some additional resources for information, ask some thought provoking questions, and otherwise supply some ideas.
Alternative Location:
Breitling-Orbiter 3
This is the official site from the first team to make it all the way around the world in a hot air balloon.
Related Websites:
2) Orbiterballoon
3) Team RE/MAX Balloon
4) Virgin Global Challenger
Cascade Ballooning Page
This site was created to assist balloonists and those interested in becoming involved in the sport of hot air ballooning.
NASA's Scientific Balloon Program
Balloons offer a low-cost, quick-response method for doing scientific investigations.
Related Webpage:
2) Scientific Balloons from NASA
Tzvi and Chana's Wonderful World of Balloons
Here you can learn about different types of balloons, how to properly use helium, balloon decorations, and balloon popping games.
World Wide Web Balloon Pages by J. de Wilde
This is a large links-site for sites related to ballooning.
Another Balloon Links-Site:
2) Ballooning Links
Websites For Teachers
Air Travelers
This site provides an introduction to the basic principles of buoyancy, properties of gases, temperature, and the technology involved in hot air ballooning.
Balloon Activity (Grades 9-12)
This activity will present students with a problem in which they have a given set of materials to construct a device that will transport a passenger (clothes pin) the greatest distance along a string.
Balloon Fun (Pre-school to Grade 1)
Here are some ideas for fun balloon activities for young learners.
Related Websites:
2) Balloon Activity
3) Ballooning Activities for your Classroom
4) For the Classroom from NASA
Education at ReMax Balloon
This K-12 curriculum was originally prepared in conjunction with the December 1998-January 1999 Global Balloon Mission, the only round-the-world balloon attempt planned for flight in the stratosphere.
Educational Materials at Solo Spirit
Solo Spirit is an incredible adventure, but it is also a educational opportunity.
Up in Smoke -- Investigating Hot Air Balloons by L. Claud at Educator's Cheapbook
This activity plan has students building and flying their own hot air balloons.
Related Lesson Plans:
2) Building and Flying Paper Hot Air Balloons by B. Queen
3) Hot Air Balloon
4) Hot Air Balloon Activity
5) Hot Air Balloon Laboratory from Overflite
6) Hot Air Balloons
7) Hot Air Balloons
8) Hot Air Tissue Paper Balloon (Grades 4-12) by R. Kramer
9) Paper Takes Flight - Making Tissue Paper Balloons
10) Tissue Paper Balloons at Balloon Explorium
What Is the Kissing Balloon? (Grades 3-8)
Use this balloon activity to teach about static electricity, attraction, repulsion, transfer of electrons, and induction.
hot air balloon
jet stream
lighter-than-air flight
Boyle's Law
Venturi Effect
Archimede's Principle
air pressure
water balloon
weather balloon
De Montgolfiers
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 8/01.