S.T.E.P. - Near-Space Balloon Project

The Science Technology Engineering Program (STEP) Space Balloon Pilot Project introduces students and teachers to the STEP Near Space Balloon Pilot Project with training, workshops, seminars, mentoring, professional development and technical support for the teachers and skills, concepts, networking, fundraising, team building and hands-on exercises for the students. This project infuses the NASA mission at the K-12, parents, community and business in Canton Mississippi to partake of this educational opportunity.


The Mississippi State University CAVS Extension partnered with Canton Public Schools to launch a space balloon project. This project is designed to help teachers and students see the potential of scientific careers related to space exploration. Students will begin to learn and recognize the importance of advance theories, formulas and ideas that are embedded in engineering careers. This project was centered on teachers/students engaging in scientific exploration, technology driven, computational analysis of data collected and captivating the interest level of disadvantage students in the 9th - 12th grades that are enrolled in Canton Public school district. This project was an opportunity for a direct impact on cohorts and teachers with surveys to help track their involvement as a way to impact positive consideration toward scientific/technology careers that influence career choices. The professional development of the instructors was included with: mentoring from university professors, industry experts, and governmental/educational professional. The monthly professional development workshops for the teachers will include: conference calls, webinars, and brain storming sessions. The support partners will provide collaboration partnership, team building (technology, science, mathematics & physics teachers), designed to help meet short & long term milestones for the project. This district wide project provided guidance and direction to help elementary, middle and high school teachers/students examine, demonstrate and produce an experiment that was on the launch vehicle.


This project objective initiates workshops, consulting with educational and industry experts provided clear, easy to implement instructions to help teachers/students examine and demonstrate procedures necessary in completing this project. Launch a near space balloon to 90K - 95K feet to collect data and track progress.

  • Create a team of teachers from technical career & academic to teach concepts with university support
  • Introduces students to the atmospheric exploration of earth sciences
  • Engaging students in STEM education with a focus toward engineering, technical and scientific exploration

Increase literacy for science and technology with students, parents, educators and general population about the hands-on/interactive activities that support earth and space exploration.

Please contact Tonya McCall at (601) 407-2767 if you like to learn more about the STEP Program.

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