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Global Fun
Earth Balloon featured at Christian Academy fair
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From the outside, the Earth Balloon is a huge globe, 19 feet in diameter. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Children who attended Central Kansas Christian Academy’s open house on Tuesday got a unique look at the Earth.
The Barton County office of the U.S. Conservation District set up an Earth Balloon that children could enter for a quick geography lesson. The inflatable globe is 19 feet in diameter and includes maps of the continents.
A young girl was overheard describing the experience to her friends Tuesday night.
“You go in and you sit on Art Antica,” she said.
Children removed their shoes and lined up for their turns inside the globe, but it was more than a glorified bounce house (without the bouncing). Pam Tucker, district manager of the Barton County Conservation District, said that inside it is made of 24 panels that represent the 24 hours in a day. The continent Antarctica does cover much of the floor.
Tucker talked about the Ring of Fire in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, an area where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. There are lessons to learn about planet Earth and its oceans, deserts and tectonic plates.
The Earth Balloon was set up in the gymnasium of the private Christian school, which has classes for children from kindergarten through eighth grade. The classrooms were filled with exhibits of things the students have been working on.
Lisa Beckwith, who teaches fifth and sixth graders, said she learned about the Earth Balloon after some of her students won a poster contest offered by the Conservation District earlier this year.
The Earth Balloon is owned by all of the Kansas Conservation Districts and is available for educational purposes throughout the state. Tucker said those interested in booking the exhibit should contact their county Conservation District manager. In Barton County, contact Tucker by calling 620-792-3346, extension 1334.