92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
Severe Storm Forecasting in a Summer Science Institute for Middle School Students
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Richard Wagner, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver, CO; and S. Ng

The Summer Science Institute at Metropolitan State College of Denver offers urban middle school students the opportunity to explore science and math in a hands-on, team-oriented setting. For each two-week session, students work with full-time college professors in a range of activities in meteorology, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, mathematics, computer science, and flight simulation.

After initial activities focusing on the basics of tornadoes and tornado safety, student teams investigate case study data in preparation for “virtual tornado chases”. The team goal in each case is to determine where severe thunderstorms will occur based on archived 12Z observations and model output. Local storm report maps and video footage of tornadoes provide the verification for students' predictions. Targeted activities (decoding weather maps, measurement of dew point, locating fronts) provide additional tools and skills for the forecasters to improve predictions in successive cases.

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