Concluding Questions

Below are the concluding questions that students answered after completing all three problems in the Simulation scenario. Students could only answer one question at a time, and could not go back to a question after they confirmed their answer.

To answer these three questions, students were allowed to view the table shown below at any time. Note that in the Simulation interface students could sort the table by clicking on the column headings.

Payload mass (lbs.) Amount of helium (cu. ft.) Balloon volume (cu. ft.) Time to final altitude (mins.)  Altitude (ft.)
10  700  700   0  0
10  800  800  0  0
10  910  910   0  2
10  975  3083   360  36211
10  1700  3083  60  36211
10  1875  3083   51  36211
10  2400  3083   34  36211
10  2515  3083   30  36211
10  2600  3083   27  36211
10  3083  3083   24  36211
50  700  700   0  0
50  800  800  0  0
50  910  910  0  0
50  975  975  0  0
50  1700  1700  0  2
50  1875  3083  112  22326
50  2400  3083  32  22326
50  2616  3083  28  22326
50  2800  3083  24  22326
50  3083  3083  20  22326
110  700  700  0  0
110  800  800  0  0
110  910  910  0  0
110  975  975  0  0
110  1700  1700  0  0
110  1875  1875  0  0
110  2400  2400  0  2
110  2616  3083  79  7918
110  2800  3083  48  7918
110  3083  3083  16  7918

1. The table now shows results for all possible experiments. Based on the data in the table, what is the highest altitude the balloon reached?

A. 10,000 feet

B. 36,211 feet

C. 2,275 feet

D. 3,063 feet

The correct answer is B, 36,211 feet.

2. How could you get the balloon you used in your experiments to go higher than 36,211 feet?

A. Put 3,083 cubic feet of helium inside the balloon with a 10 lb. payload mass.

B. Put less than 2,275 cubic feet of helium inside the balloon with a 10 lb. payload mass.

C. Use a payload greater than 110 lb. with 3,083 cu. ft. of helium inside the balloon.

D. Use a payload less than 10 lb. with 3,083 cu. ft. of helium inside the balloon.

The correct answer is D, use a payload less than 10 lb. with 3,083 cu. ft. of helium inside the balloon.

3. Notice that when the balloon carries a 10 lb. payload mass, it can only reach 36,211 feet. How could you get a helium balloon carrying a 10 lb. payload mass to go to an altitude higher than 36,211 feet?

A. Use a 10 lb. payload mass that is very small with a balloon that can hold 3,083 cu. ft. of helium.

B. Use a balloon that can hold 3,083 cu. ft. of helium, but allow to release helium into the air as it rises.

C. Use a balloon that can hold more than 3,083 cu. ft. of helium.

D. Use a balloon that can hold less than 3,083 cu. ft. of helium.

The correct answer is C, use a balloon that can hold more than 3,083 cu. ft. of helium.