Our AP Physics teacher wanted his classes to be involved in a year-long design project. He chose a HAB project, then when the AP physics curriculum split into two years, he chose the HAB project for the AP II class . This project is in it's 3rd or 4th year, and each year, the requirements become more stringent. Now, our payload must be 0.500 kg or under, we must record pressure, temperature and 3D accel,, as well as maintain constant contact to our ground base.
We start off in teams of one or two people, and these teams make a memo with their design idea. The top teams move into Stage II. The people whose ideas didn't move on are integrated into larger teams. Stage II ideas are presented to the class, and the top teams move on, and the others are again integrated into the top teams.
Stage III is when it gets really intense. The teams present their ideas, along with budgets and needed materials to a panel of experts (National Weather Service people, lawyers, etc). The school and the general public are allowed to sit in on these presentations. People vote, and the winning team gets the funding to design their payload. Any left-over monies go to the other teams (in order of placement) to work on their designs.
The students get to chose their roles-theorists, climatologists, legal council, fabrication, journalism, safety crew, etc.
Here's our website: http://civicbloom.com/smithapphysics/, and a video from one of last years (3 were launched) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2oyAYGu9aY. Bakteriak sent up petri dishes to see what affect high altitude had on bacterial colonies.