Weather and Science Day 2014



Anything that happens involves a change in energy from one form to another. Thinking about energy changes is a great way to interpret the world.

When you ride your bicycle, most of the energy you expend goes to moving air—you need to push the air aside and, because air has mass, you need to get it moving, to give it kinetic energy.

This energy has to come from somewhere. And it does—it comes from you.

If your bicycle has a parachute attached to it, you need to move a lot more air. This means that you need to expend a lot more energy.

Weather and Science Day is a joint effort among Colorado State University, the Colorado Rockies, & 9News.


We’ve never found anyone who could beat a regular trike with the parachute trike. Moving this much air just takes too much power.

There’s more to the energy story, of course...

Each of the students at the event got a thermal bracelet; it changes color with temperature. If you stretch it, you do work—you put energy into the bracelet. And so it warms!

When a hot air balloon rises, it cools; the energy to lift the balloon comes from the thermal energy. If you want to keep rising, you need to add more energy—either from a propane tank or, for this balloon, with solar energy that heats the black garbage bags the balloon is made from.