The sky’s the limit for kids taught by UW Rock grad

This syllabus sounds like fun:

  • Introduction to hot air ballooning materials
  • Use scuba tanks to demonstrate that air has mass
  • Calculate how many helium balloons it would take to lift a child in the class (a lot!)
  • Build a tissue paper hot air balloon and use a hot air gun to fill it and watch it float

And then there’s the chance to watch burners fire up and inflate a real hot air balloon and to climb into the basket, albeit tethered.

Here’s the catch: You have to be a second-, third- or fourth-grader enrolled in Ballooning 101 through UW-Rock County’s College for Kids on the Janesville campus.

UW-Rock County graduate Jim Bushelle guides the youngsters through the science behind ballooning from the physics of flight to the weather conditions that can affect it.

“It is kind of neat to see them thinking and putting concepts together,” he says.

They typically are impressed with the mass of a fully inflated hot air balloon, he says, “That kind of surprises them.”

They also are wowed by watching their own tissue paper hot air balloons lift off and float down.

Bushelle is a life-long learner and enjoys sharing what he’s learned with tomorrow’s scientists and entrepreneurs. The former General Motors electrician took advantage of company education benefits and enrolled at UW-Rock County, graduating in 1988. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and holds an airline transport pilot certificate as well as commercial balloon pilot and flight instructor ratings in addition to SCUBA certifications. Along the way he also started two businesses: the Janesville Hot Air Balloon Co. and Bushelle Photography. Retired from GM now, he continues to take courses on the UW-Rock County campus and has taught additional College for Kids courses again in the summer of 2012.

“College for Kids offers motivated students in grades 2 through 8 a chance to learn while still having fun,” says Stacy Randall, director of continuing education. “This course, like many of the others we offer, gives students at a young age a taste of how what they learn in the classroom can be applied to not only a career, but also their dreams.”

For information, please contact us at:
Phone: 608-758-65650 #360
E-mail: Stacy Randall, Continuing Ed director,