Exploring weather phenomenon with the help of GLOBE Weather

Tuesday 1:30pm-2:40pm
Share-a-Thon Part of Share-a-Thon


Emily Snode-Brenneman, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
melissa rummel, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)


Why does warm air go up and cool air go down? Investigate what happens when a mylar balloon containing helium gas is heated with a hair dryer as a way to explain this phenomenon. The Mylar Balloon Investigation is part of the new free GLOBE Weather curriculum. Browse the entire curriculum, try out some of the activities, and explore the GLOBE Observer data collection app with UCAR Center for Science Education.


The University Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) is proud to share a new free NGSS-based unit about the science of weather for 6th-8th grades. GLOBE Weather is a new five-week curriculum that includes investigations of weather phenomena through activities, demonstrations, data collection, and data analysis. Try out the Mylar Balloon Investigation within Lesson 5: "How does air move and change when a storm is forming" and a variety of other activities from the curriculum.


This hands-on investigation is within Lesson 5 of GLOBE Weather, a new free NGSS based unit about the science of weather for 6th-8th grades.

Why It Works

The Mylar Balloon Investigation is a fun visual demonstration that sparks students' curiosity as they begin exploring how air moves during storm formation. Students make observations of what they see and hear happening to the Mylar balloon as the air inside is warmed and then cooled. Students use this phenomenon to explain the differences between warm and cool air on a molecular level and how this leads to the movement of air. Students use an annotated reading exercise to relate the mylar balloon to air movement when a storm is forming.

Presentation Media

GLOBE Weather Lesson 5 Teacher Guide and Student Sheets (Acrobat (PDF) 848kB Jul12 19)
GLOBE Weather Curriculum (Acrobat (PDF) 32.7MB Jul12 19)