High Altitude Research Program (HARP)

Science Heads is now offering a free Project Based Learning (PBL) opportunity to all Intermediate School and High Schools in Southern California. Teachers who register can have their students participate remotely in the program as described below. Four 5-week long sessions are scheduled starting in August . To participate please complete and submit the registration form below for each desired session by the date indicated on the form. Questions about the program may be emailed to richard@scienceheads.org.

Click for to Register for HARP

Program History and Description

Science Heads started the HAB/STEM program in 2018 to offer 7th – 12th grade students an opportunity to participate in real-world like scientific research. Under the guidance of their teachers and Science Heads volunteers – students propose and build experiments of their own design. Working as a class, individuals, or in teams students first submit a written proposal describing their experiment. Proposals are then evaluated by a committee of local scientists and engineers. If selected, the students then build their experiments and watch them launched in the payload of a High Altitude Balloon (HAB).

Science Heads’ HAB’s often reach an altitude of over 100,000 feet where the atmospheric conditions are similar to that on the surface of Mars. The payloads then return to Earth by parachute and are retrieved by Science Heads. The data collected by the experiments are provided to the students for analysis and reporting. This unique program offers a real-world like experience in which students can apply scientific methodology, critical thinking, and writing skills.

This year, to better support educators during the pandemic, the program has been enhanced to support remote participation. Additionally, Science Heads has partnered with the NOAA and NWS to give on-line presentations and answer student’s questions about weather, climate, and other related topics.

Three Participation Tracks

Teachers may register their students to participate in one or more of the three participation tracks:

  • Original Experiment Submission – students working as a class, as individuals or in teams may propose, build, and execute experiments of their own design. Experiments must meet the criteria and parameters detailed in the HAB/STEM Experiment Proposal Submission Guidelines document.
  • Participation in Science Heads run experiments – Science Heads will be building and running one or two environmental / climate study experiments for each HAB. Students can remotely participate in the planning and design meetings, attend subject matter expert presentations, perform data analysis and reduction, and report writing.
  • Participation in Pre-Launch and Post Launch Operations – Students can remotely participate in the HAB launch planning meetings, attend subject matter expert presentations, and write reports. These meetings include presentation given by subject matter experts from the National Weather Service (NWS) and NOAA.

Project Based Learning Components

Students participating in the ’20/21 HAB / STEM program will :

  • Participate in on-line meetings and presentations.
  • Engage in real-world problem solving.
  • Demonstrate their gained knowledge by submitting a report or giving a presentation to their class or educator.
  • Develop deep content knowledge.
  • Develop critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills.
  • Optionally give a 5 minute student poster presentation via Zoom at AIAA’s 17th Annual SoCal Aerospace Systems and Technology (ASAT) Conference on October 10th, 2020.

HAB / STEM Session Dates:

Session #Session DatesRegistration Due ByPlanned Launch Date *
18/31/20 – 10/2/208/19/20 @ 5 pm9/19/20 REGISTRATION CLOSED
211/2/20 – 12/4/2010/21/20 @ 5 pm11/21/20
32/1/21 – 3/5/211/20/21 @ 5 pm2/20/21
44/2/21 – 5/30/213/17/21 @ 5 pm4/24/21

* Dependent on weather, FAA clearance, and other factors.

Click for to Register for HARP