The University of Nebraska Summer Weather Camp Educational Experience

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Kenneth F. Dewey, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

Handout (5.9 MB)

This presentation will outline, based upon our experience, how to create a successful weather camp using local resources; how to create a challenging, yet fun, curriculum; what field trips and activities outside the classroom are the most engaging for the students; and, how to create partnership volunteers to assist with the curriculum both inside and outside the classroom. .. MISSION: The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offered its third Summer weather camp in June 2013 as an educational outreach activity to (1) increase weather, climate and science literacy of Middle School and High School students, (2) to encourage bright, underrepresented students to consider science as well as meteorology and climatology careers through first-hand exposure to educational and career opportunities as observed through various professional presentations in the class room as well as field trip visits, (3) to increase the overall talent pipeline of students pursuing studies in science in general and within the files of meteorology and climatology, and (4) provide the students with an opportunity to learn how to do research through individual and group projects. .. PARTICIPANTS: As part of a national weather camp program, we attracted students from 7 states. Our campers ranged in age from 10 to 15 years old. Four UNL weather camp alumni returned in the capacity of weather camp peer counselors providing excellent role models for the weather campers. .. SCHEDULE: The week long camp took place from 9am to 5pm daily with a Friday evening family picnic. Our weather camp consisted of a weather and climate classroom curriculum, outdoor hands-on experiments with instruments, classroom guest speakers, research projects in a computer lab, and field trips. The guest speakers included the Warning Coordination Meteorologist from the local NWS office; representatives from an instrument company; the National Drought Mitigation Center Outreach Team; and a science career guidance specialist. The field trips included a tour of the county emergency management command center; a visit with the coordinator of the storm spotter network; a tour of the UNL football stadium with a micro-climate data collection activity; and, a visit to our local CBS TV station where they watched the Noon news and weather live on the set and then had fun practicing their weathercaster skills in front of the green screen. .. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: The weather campers learned leadership skills; how to work in groups to solve problems; how to take daily weather observations; how to use instruments; how to conduct experiments; how to make daily weather forecasts; how to make emergency management decisions; how to conduct research and present it to the public; and. how to manage water resources with several interactive exercises. .. FAMILY PICNIC AND VARIETY SHOW: Each weather camper chose a weather research topic and using our computer lab they produced individual posters that were on display at our Friday evening family picnic. Following the picnic, we had an awards ceremony and a variety show put on by the weather campers and the counselors for their families. The variety show showcased in song, dance, poetry and skits what they learned during the week in weather camp. .. START YOUR OWN WEATHER CAMP: Our weather camp continues to be a huge success, let us show you how you can create a successful weather camp and how you can be a part of our national network of weather camps.