Engaging Indigenous Youth in Science with the High-Altitude Balloon Experiment

Cheng, Stephen
Gendron, Fidji
Ziffle, Vincent
Gerhard, David
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Scientific Research Publishing

Our custom high-altitude balloon experiment kit with the complete set of instructions has been successfully used to engage high school and post-secondary students across Canada. This article describes how the high-altitude balloon experiment was adapted to engage Indigenous students from two on-reserve schools in science with the presence of an Elder. Based on the results from our research, while the balloon experiment is an effective tool to engage Indigenous students, the project doesn’t change the participants’ interest in science. We are making several suggestions to bring the experiment to its full potential. It would be more beneficial to make the high-altitude balloon experiment as a multi-day workshop or a major component of a science summer camp. Further, it would be more effective to integrate the balloon experiment into the high school science curriculum rather than run it as an independent event in the on-reserve schools. Finally, we are suggesting how student participation of the survey can be improved for on-reserve schools

High-Altitude Balloon Experiment, Indigenous Students, Student Engagement, Science Activity, STEM