Sky Glider Challenge

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In this design challenge activity, learners use two helium-filled balloons to build a blimp that can travel in a straight path across the room. The activity guide contains information for Educators on how to best facilitate the challenge as well as key vocabulary (air resistance, drag, axis of rotation, etc.). Three associated videos available for download help reinforce these concepts. It is recommended to do this activity after completing the Sky Floater Challenge.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 sheets of corrugated cardboard (approx. 11x17 inches)
  • duct tape
  • rubber bands
  • paper clips
  • Sky Floater balloons
  • clear tape
  • copier paper
  • scissors
  • small paper clips


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Transportation Engineering
    • Technology
      • Transportation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
      • Potential and Kinetic Energy
      • Energy and Power
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Newton's Laws
      • Rotation Motion
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
  • The Nature of Technology
    • Technology and Society
      • Impacts of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Problem Solving
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Design Squad Nation


Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 0810996