Olathe & Southwest Joco

Olathe School District’s ‘ultimate show-and-tell’

Students at Indian Creek Elementary School got a science lesson when Jennifer and Maury Petrehn brought one of their hot-air balloons to school.
Students at Indian Creek Elementary School got a science lesson when Jennifer and Maury Petrehn brought one of their hot-air balloons to school. Courtesy photo

The ‘ultimate show-and-tell’

The Olathe School District calls it “the ultimate show-and-tell” for a fifth-grader as well as “a unique learning experience for all students” at Indian Creek Elementary School.

A fifth-grade girl’s parents, aeronauts Jennifer and Maury Petrehn, brought one of their balloons to school this spring to demonstrate the science behind hot-air ballooning.

“During the week leading up to the hot-air balloon demonstration, our school focused their science lessons on standards such as states of matter (liquid, solid, gas), the Earth’s spheres and weather patterns,” said Principal Julie Sluyter. “Incorporating a hot-air balloon into those lessons provided a real-world experience for our students to see the science standards in action.”

The special event began in the gym, where students learned about the history of hot-air ballooning. The flights date to the late 1700s when the Montgolfier brothers of France combined their interest in science with their jobs in the family paper business. One of their earliest experiments sent three small farm animals aloft in a basket suspended below a paper bag filled with hot air, the district said.

Today, hot-air balloons are made of coated nylon. Pilots initially fill them more than half full with cold air before turning on propane burners to heat the air. The hot air makes the balloon envelope rise, Jennifer Petrehn explained, and letting the air cool will cause the balloon to descend. The flight path is affected by the speed and direction of the wind because aeronauts can steer a balloon only by going up and down.

The students then went outside to see the inflation of a colorful balloon that held 56,000 cubic feet of air. That’s smaller than the Petrehns’ commercial balloon, which holds 105,000 cubic feet of air, the district said.

The students learned that hot-air ballooning is a nature-friendly form of travel that uses little fossil fuel.

“We combined our Earth Day activities that week and focused on how we can protect our environment,” Sluyter said. “Hot-air ballooning is very protective of the environment and encourages outdoor activities.”

Rabies clinic June 1 for Olathe residents

The Olathe Animal Shelter is holding a rabies vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to noon June 1 at the Olathe Animal Shelter, 505 E. Sunvale Drive.

The clinic is open to Olathe residents only. The cost is $10 for a one-year vaccination and $30 for a vaccination that’s effective for three years. Visitors can also take care of licensing their pets. Cash or check only.

For details on other services and prices, click on the calendar listing at olatheks.org.

Free summer lunches at Olathe Downtown Library

The Olathe Public Library is providing free meals on weekdays throughout the summer.

Through Aug. 14, kids can enjoy free lunches at the Olathe Downtown Library, 201 E. Park St., from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Meals are only for those ages 18 and under, but adults may accompany the children. Kindergartners and younger must be supervised. The meals, which must be eaten at the library, are sponsored by Harvesters Community Food Network, Friends of the Library and the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund.

And on Fridays from June 7 through Aug. 9, free hot lunches will be offered for all ages from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the downtown library. Menus will vary each week. The meals are presented in part by the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund and Friends of the Library.

Registration is not required.

For a child’s perspective on the past…

Every Wednesday and Thursday this summer, the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm will offer “A Day Out with Frank and Ella,” named for the two youngest Mahaffie children.

The historic site, at 1200 E. Kansas City Road, will explore a different theme each week related to growing up during the mid-1800s.

Weekday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per youth with one adult admitted free with each paid youth. A fee will be charged for additional adults.

Activities for June 5 and 6 focus on the pioneer trails and their history in this area. For the full schedule of themes, consult the calendar at mahaffie.org.

On Thursday nights in June and July — except for July 4 — the site will offer activities around the same themes during Family Fun Nights from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission to the night sessions are free, but there is a fee for stagecoach rides and some other activities.

Get rid of paint and chemicals

Residents from across Johnson County can dispose of old paint cans, gas and oil, chemicals, pesticides and other household hazardous waste at Olathe’s drop-off location, which is open the second Saturday of each month.

The next free event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 8 at 1420 S. Robinson Drive. No appointment is necessary, but people should bring a photo ID and label items not in their original containers.

For a full list of acceptable items, go to olatheks.org.