School resources

Got curious students? Well, let us help you! Here you can find some useful information on hot air balloons and how they work, plus some pretty cool photos too!

A fun game

This game allows you to have a go at flying a hot air balloon. It gets you thinking about the science behind heating the particles to climb into the air, and opening the parachute to descend.

Play here:

A fun balloon game
Hot air balloon fun facts

Some fun facts!

- The first human-carrying aircraft was the hot air balloon.

- While unmanned balloons have been around in some form for thousands of years, the first untethered flight with people on board was in 1783.

- The large 'balloon part' on top is called an ‘envelope’. It holds hot air created by a heat source known as a burner.

- The burner creates an open flame by burning a mix of liquid propane and air.

- Hot air balloons are buoyant because the hot air inside the envelope has a lower density than the colder air outside.

- Passengers typically stand in a wicker basket beneath the envelope.

- While most envelopes have a standard balloon shape, others are designed to look like animals, cartoon characters and other fun objects.

- The top of the balloon usually has a vent which allows the pilot to control the speed of ascent/descent (along with the burner).

- Hot air balloons can fly to amazing heights, the world record is over 21,000 metres! (68,900 feet). It’s tough to breathe up there so oxygen is needed from around 10,000 feet.

- The temperature inside a hot air balloon is usually kept below 120 degrees Celsius (248 Fahrenheit).

- A typical envelope is made from nylon with a melting point of around 230 degrees Celsius (446 Fahrenheit).

- Hot air balloon flights and festivals are popular in various destinations around the world. Well known locations include Cappadocia (Turkey), Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA), Luxor (Egypt) and the Serengeti (Tanzania).

A great learning activity

This is a great activity to explain warm and cool air. Kids will learn why air expands when it heats up.

You will need:
- An empty water bottle
- A deflated balloon
- Hot water

- Take the empty bottle and stretch the balloon over the mouth of the bottle.
- Heat the water in the pan, place the bottle over the hot water; make sure the water is hot but not boiling.
- The balloon will start to expand

Why did it happen?
The air inside the balloon heats up, as warm air takes up more space than cold air, the balloon starts expanding. Warm air is also lighter than cold air which explains why the balloon will fly off when released from the bottle.

hot air balloon learning activity for kids