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Hail to the weather! Summer weather camps at the Clinton Presidential Library

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011: 8:30 AM
Hail to the weather! Summer weather camps at the Clinton Presidential Library
604 (Washington State Convention Center)
Kevin A. Kloesel, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and A. Kolodziej, P. Marsh, C. Taylor, and J. Willis

During the summer of 2010, the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma partnered with the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas to offer three, one-week summer weather camps for participants ranging from 4th to 10th grade. The camps were held in conjunction with the Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters traveling exhibition created by The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Each camp provided five days of content-rich, age-appropriate, hands-on activities using the six strands outlined for informal learning by the National Research Council in 2009.

The camps focused on a) creating excitement, interest, and motivation to learn about the atmosphere and its hazards; b) introducing basic atmospheric and earth science concepts; c) allowing campers to explore, predict, question, and observe; d) presenting science as a way of acquiring and applying knowledge about our environment; e) providing activities using the language and tools of science; and f) encouraging students to think of themselves as scientists.

In addition, the camps focused on the NRC 2009 recommendations concerning broadening participation in informal learning environments. The camps included individuals from diverse populations and a multitude of ethnicities. Students also represented public, private, charter, and home schools. Care was taken to acknowledge each camper's needs and experiences as they related to natural disasters. This paper will specifically outline the lessons learned from each of the three camps. Our presentation will inform future museum/practitioner partnerships regarding the implementation of the most recent NRC recommendations for informal learning environments.