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Piñon 5th-graders become hot air balloonists

PIÑON, Ariz.

Piñon Elementary | Verna Clinton
Piñon Elementary students and staff watch their hot air balloons take flight on Nov. 19. Light winds cause the balloons to drift west.

Fifth graders at Be’ak’id Baa’ Ahoodzání initiated a project that demanded all the fundamentals of the scientific method, according to a news release from Piñon Elementary.

Four teachers set out on a quest to have 80 students assemble 20 9-foot hot air balloons to test their hypotheses and questions. In near-perfect conditions at 30 degrees, the students held the first-ever hot air balloon event on Nov. 19.

They spent three weeks building their balloons out of art tissue. When the first balloon quickly floated upward and away, shouts of joy boosted others to inflate their balloons over stovepipes dispensing hot air. Several balloons landed atop the middle school and another near the horse stables a mile away.

One sad team reported their balloon landed near a tenant burning weeds and he picked up their balloon and fed it to the fire, reported teacher Ordell Bizahaloni.

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