After having heard of the school’s
plans to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a Balloon
Release the grade 3 class was very concerned.
“This is bad for the animals!” They cried.
“The fish, turtles and birds will eat the balloons
and they can die.”
Our class has just finished a unit of inquiry on endangered
animals. During the unit we had Paola Deda and Robert
Vagg from the UN CMS come in to speak to the class. The
students learned about the dangers of plastic bags to
animals (especially the turtles). The turtles mistake
the bags for jellyfish and eat them. The plastic gets
stuck in their digestive track and eventually kills them.
The class is presently working on a campaign with CMS
to encourage the BIS community to use canvas bags instead
of plastic bags. With this thought in mind, the students
made a link to balloons causing the same sort of problems
for the turtles.
We were not sure if the same logic could be applied to
balloons. So we did some research.
We discovered that balloons made of latex are biodegradable
within 6 months. Ninety percent of helium balloons released
float high enough into the air that they expand and pop
into hundreds of tiny pieces, which float back down to
Earth and cause little problem.
The trouble lies with the 10 percent of balloons which
do not explode; they end up semi-inflated in our environment.
Animals (birds, fish, turtles, seals, dolphins) may mistake
these balloons for food (jellyfish and squid) and eat
them. The balloons are either not easily ingested, or
worse, they block the digestive or respiratory tracts
and death is likely to be slow and painful.
Another problem with balloon releases is the attached
string or ribbon, which falls back to earth and may entangle
The students decided to each write a letter to the 10th
Anniversary Planning Committee explaining their concerns
and encouraging them to cancel the planned balloon release.
The students also offered alternative activities to celebrate
Their arguments were so convincing that the Balloon Release
was cancelled immediately!
Bravo Grade 3!
“If we don’t
save them, who will?”
- BIS Grade 3
Grade 3 teacher
For more information please contact:
Tel: +49 228 815 2462