Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 7:14 am FRIENDLY CONNECTION — Fifth-graders at Union City Middle School, including Kayla Orsborne and Kaleb Perkins, released 120 brightly-colored balloons into picture-perfect blue skies Tuesday afternoon. Each balloon was attached to a letter, sealed in plastic, written by a fifth-grade student. The project provided students the opportunity to practice the skill of “friendly letter” writing, which they have been studying in class and, teachers hope, will make it possible to for them to call on math, geography and science knowledge in the future. The latter lessons will come into play as students receive responses to the letters and discover how far the balloons traveled, how long it took them to reach the various destinations and other interesting facts those who discover the balloons and respond to the students’ request for information choose to provide. The first paragraph of each student-generated “balloon” letter described the project and at least two additional paragraphs in each missive provided some information about the student and the school. Teachers say last year’s balloon release took about a week to produce results. They are hoping for several responses and included not only the address but also the phone number for the school to encourage those who receive them to provide information.