Madra’s Math Course Launches Balloons


Emily Fong

Emily Fong, Staff Writer

On Friday, May 24, math teacher Nita Madra and her Calculus BC classes completed their hot air balloon project by launching their creations into the skies. Students used mathematics in a real-world application by building miniature hot air balloons out of tissue paper.

1st and 4th period Calc BC classes gathered on the softball field in preparation for the launch. A small propane tank was ignited and used to fill the balloons. Successful takeoffs were met with applause and cheers, though many of the projects failed to gain significant lift in the air.

For the students, the satisfaction of seeing their balloons achieve flight was the culmination of several hours of hard work, determination, and labor. “It was really, really stressful, but I’m really happy ours flew,” said senior Matthew Morton. Morton spent “from 3 after school to 12” over the course of two days with his group working on the project. The effort paid off, as the group’s balloon managed to fly, even after hitting a bench.

However, the reward was gained only after much frustration as well. “The beginning of the project was really hard because of all the equations we had to make. It was pretty challenging,” said senior Jiwon Lee. “Sometimes the instructions weren’t very clear, and everyone has to help hold it up when you build it so it doesn’t fall back down. The calculus was hard and the equations were hard, but putting it together and working with people I like was very fun.”