What’s that funny-looking bug, and that big smiley sun? They’re hot air balloons — just like balloons at a birthday party, except they’re huge and they’re full of hot air. They’re flying in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta running all this week. Hundreds of hot air balloons fly each day, including crazy ones shaped like chickens, cows and trains. The hot air balloon is a pretty simple idea invented in 1783 in France, when a sheep, a duck and a rooster flew on one. A flame in the basket at the bottom heats the air in the balloon. So that air weighs less than the sky air around it, which makes the balloon float up. Thanks to that trick, now any 4-legged animal can fly.
Wee ones: If a sheep, a duck and a rooster flew that very first hot air balloon, how many animals flew it?
Little kids: If there’s a cow balloon, a sheep balloon and a chicken balloon, how many legs do they have? Bonus: While the fly-around-the-world speed record is 13 days, the longest balloon ride took 19 days. How much shorter was the fastest trip?
Big kids: If your rocket balloon can lift 500 pounds and the folks on board already weigh 420 pounds together, how much can you weigh and still ride with them? Bonus: The height record for a hot air balloon is 21,000 feet — above that, the pilot needs an oxygen tank since the air is too thin for breathing! If your balloon can fly to only 1/2 that height, how high can you fly?
Wee ones: 3 brave animals.
Little kids: 10 legs (4+4+2). Bonus: 6 days shorter.
Big kids: 80 more pounds. Bonus: 10,500 feet.