World Knowledge

Linville-Edom Students Explore Earth Balloon

Posted: September 28, 2013

Linville-Edom Elementary School third-grade teacher Jennifer McCoy stands inside a giant replica of the globe called the Earth Balloon with her students Friday morning. David Knutson, owner of Earth Adventure, uses the balloon to teach lessons about the Earth. (Photos by Nikki Fox)
Students in Linville-Edom Elementary School teacher Stephanie May’s first-grade class get ready to explore the Earth Balloon with the help of its owner, David Knutson (right), on Friday.
LINVILLE — First-grader Nathaniel Collins stood in awe as he looked up at the 17-foot tall Earth Balloon on display at Linville-Edom Elementary School on Friday.
The 6-year-old was among 200-some students who had an opportunity to go inside the balloon and “explore the world.”
“I liked when I walked around in it,” Nathaniel said. “I saw the North Pole …  they have polar bears there.”
Six-year-old Jessica Elliott also was caught up in the day’s excitement.
“I liked sitting in it, and seeing the islands …  how big they are,” said the first-grader.
The Earth Balloon is a 20-foot wide “portable classroom” that travels throughout the United States teaching students about various subjects, including geography, Earth science, ecosystems and environmental issues.
Lesson plans are geared toward the students’ grade level.
According to Earth Balloon Inc., the first one was built by several Minnesota architects, educators and geographers as a traveling education exhibit for the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976.
In 1992, the idea of using the Earth Balloon as a teaching tool was revived by David and Audrey Knutson.
David Knutson, who travels with the balloon to talk to children about the world, said students enjoy the concept.
“They love it,” he said. “It’s visually stimulating and it puts things in perspective.”
The school’s principal, Karen Thomsen, said the balloon fits in with this year’s school theme, “world tour.”
Thomsen said she was researching activities for the students and read about the traveling balloon. She said it ties in perfectly with teacher’s lesson plans.
“It’s like taking 215 students on a field trip right here at the school,” Thomsen said, adding that the school’s parent-teacher association paid for the event.
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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