5th Grader Kickstarts Aerial Photo Rig for Science Fair

Photography & Video
5th grader Audrey Hale
5th grader Audrey Hale

When 11-year old Audrey Hale found a copy of MAKE: Vol. 24 and decided she wanted to recreate the helium balloon-lofted aerial photography rig for her school science fair project, her mom Laurel told her the materials weren’t in their budget. Undeterred, the Biloxi, Mississippi, 5th grader asked for help launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund her endeavor.

“I actually thought it would be a good way for her to learn that sometimes even when you want something really bad and you ask for help the answer would still be ‘no,’ or ‘not yet,’” says Laurel Hale. “Turns out that my passionate little scientist ended up teaching me the lesson that sometimes when you find your tribe, your passionate ideas become real.”

Hi, I’m Audrey Hale.

In first grade I built a solar system and added the enterprise. I like to use creativity and science together. I want to be a technical engineer when I grow up. I want to change the world and solve problems with new technology that I build.

Right now I am in the 5th grade and I want to build a satellite. They are used every day, and so far I have researched nine different types. I want to learn the basics. So I found my Mom’s old MAKE magazine that explains how to make it and I found the materials I need online. I have found some experts to help me learn how to do it.

But, it’s kinda expensive. I used most of my savings to pay for the materials I have so far. YOUR funding will help me to finish my satellite.  I also want to donate this project when its complete to my school. That way other kids can learn what I did about how satellites work and get into science.

The rewards will be cool, I really hope you can help fund my project!

Page from Make: Vol. 24
Page from Make: Vol. 24

Audrey’s project was successfully funded on January 20, with 32 backers pledging $420 (the goal was $150). “When she posted the Kickstarter, I thought it would be a fun way for our large family to be involved and help out,” mom Laurel says. “But people we don’t know have pitched in, too” including someone from France.

Comment from one of the backers: “My son is almost 11 yrs old and loves everything science! We’re excited about seeing the videos. Good Luck Audrey!—Darren in Houston, TX”


Audrey hopes to make an ebook documenting her build of the project, with tips and resources for other kids. The next project she wants to tackle is the Global Space Balloon Challenge.

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