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An Uplifting Science Lesson

USC partners with White Knoll Elementary School to launch weather balloons.

West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Students at White Knoll Elementary School launched their fifth weather balloon experiment Tuesday morning.

The excitement was rising at White Knoll Elementary School early Tuesday as the students prepared to launch another weather balloon.

"It's wonderful. I look at all of those as future students and future colleagues and future scientists," said Dr. April Hiscox.

Hiscox is an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina. She and her geography graduate students lead the fifth-graders with their fifth and final balloon launch of the school year.

The launch Tuesday morning involved batteries. The students wanted to test if less atmosphere would impact the voltage.

Don Sarazen, is a fifth-grade teacher at the elementary school, he got the project off the ground.

Sarazen said this project has been a collaboration with USC, White Knoll Elementary School and WP Rawl.

Sarazen said, "A great experience for our students." He said, "It gives them some knowledge on something they may want to do in the future, some upper-level science activities, something that may grab their interest for future work."

The science experiments this year already have fifth-grader Owen Sumner thinking about his future.

Sumner said, "If this is cool, imagine how cool it will be in college and in other grades when it is much more advanced."

It is that kind of reaction that makes this a value learning experience and worth it to the Hiscox too.

She said, "To get a kid excited about science in general, about the atmosphere, about experimentation, is the most exciting, most gratifying thing I do in my job."

In a previous launch, the White Knoll Elementary students sent corn seeds up on a balloon. They plan on planting the corn seeds to see if sending them high in the air will make a difference in their growth.