Children at Roslyn Road Elementary School in Barrington got a very special treat on May 11: the chance to see a real hot air balloon up close and personal.
"We had the opportunity for the RE/MAX balloon to come out. Our PTO president made contact with the company, and they do this for schools across the nation I believe," Roslyn Road Elementary School Principal Paul Kirk said. "It was a great opportunity to have the pilots come out and show the kids the balloons and talk a little bit about hot air ballooning, but also talk about the science behind it."
Pilot Bill Baker said most people don't know very much about how hot air balloons work, so he took the opportunity to give the students a brief lesson on the subject.
"There's no steering wheel in a balloon," Baker explained. "The only way we can steer a balloon is by going to different altitudes because every altitude change means typically the wind is going different directions and speeds."
It wasn't all just listening for the kids during Baker's presentation. After filling the balloon with air, the pilots let students take a peek inside.
"He got to show us the actual balloon and we got to see it demonstrated so it was very interesting," Fifth grader Alex Rowley said.
There was one thing during Baker's presentation that was sure to get everyone's attention.
"I don't know if all of them enjoyed the burner display, but most of them did. Some of them got some extra P.E. in running away. It was great," Baker said.
The unique classroom activity was a hit with most of the kids who walked away raving about their experience.
"I thought that this was an amazing presentation. I thought it was really cool," Fourth grader Mary McAuliff said. "It was a lot of fun and I think they should come back again maybe and maybe I would like to ride in one."