“Oh wow a HAB sounds delicious, but what exactly is that again?” “Why are there Instagram links everywhere?” “What is happening down in the Robotics Lab during innovations? I thought that was a humanities class.”
Recently there has been quite the buzz in the Seattle Academy Upper School regarding #IHABC2018, a High Altitude Balloon Challenge that innovations teachers David Pynchon and Lysie Taylor created for their 12th grade Innovations course.
Describing the thinking behind the project, David Pynchon explained, “The HAB challenge is something we have been playing around with in our heads for a long time. It is a lot different than things we have done in the past and by doing a longer and more involved project we are excited to take a leap on a different approach on our core skills of collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.”
The project was introduced three weeks ago, starting with just a simple prompt to create a balloon that would travel to space and collect data. Classes were divided into groups, each with 12 people and told to create their own mission. David and Lysie left the project fairly ambiguous to allow the groups to explore as many options as possible.
In order to take advantage of each student’s particular skill set, the crews were also charged with designing a media presence, along with websites, Facebook pages, and broader media strategies. From orchestrating a UFO craze to raising money for animal shelters, teams have committed to creating a digital spotlight for their specific endeavors.
“My team, the @HABLabradors, chose to explore CO2 in the atmosphere,” says Lake Lewis ‘18. “We really wanted to see what kind of data we could collect at different altitudes and draw attention to climate change. Our pitch to the public is to donate money for both animal shelters and climate change-related research.”
While the HAB Labrador Team is focused on CO2, other teams have chosen different routes. McKenzie Carlson ‘18 of @OutofSightSeattleite stated, “We wanted to explore the effectiveness of renewable energy at high altitudes so we strapped a a solar panel to our payload. We are also excited to make our balloon look like a flying saucer, creating passion amongst alien movie fans and earning us a considerable following.”
“We also think the HAB project is a good stepping stone between more traditional class projects and the senior project,” Lysie Taylor said. “Developing larger project skills, learning to manage your own time, and navigating a business-like hierarchy will hopefully prepare students for college and life.”
Make sure to follow the teams mentioned on Instagram:
For more information and updates on the balloon launch check out the project websites: