2.2 Learning Programming and Electrical Engineering through Meteorology

Monday, 23 January 2017: 1:45 PM
308 (Washington State Convention Center )
Jeffrey A. Yuhas, Morristown-Beard School, Morristown, NJ; and T. Grant, H. Kern, and T. Margosian

Over the past year, Morristown-Beard School (MBS) students have collaborated with EarthNetworks, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Global Cities Team Challenge and, the Internet of Things (IoT) Education Working Group to create a portable weather station which includes a pressure sensor, humidity sensor, and temperature sensor. Taylor Grant, Harrison Kern, and Thomas Margosian were able to apply their previously acquired technological skills to a unique and experimental setting, working towards a product that will assist the entire MBS community. 

The three high school students soldered and wired the Raspberry Pi from EarthNetworks to a screen and the three sensors, and finished their work by programming an accessible, easy-to-use Graphical User Interface (GUI) using Python. 

Work in the Morristown-Beard Weather Services (MBWS) is focused towards creating a final product, but the most prominent traits that have been developed are budgeting, collaboration, and design. 

Funding for clubs at MBS is primarily provided by the Student Government Association (SGA).  At the beginning of the process, it was difficult to work past funding issues with the SGA, but by attending multiple funding meetings and advocating for the cause, the program was eventually accepted. The original grant received was relatively small, but after successfully completing one section of the project, larger grants have been issued. 

Because the money coming from the SGA is limited, students needed to learn to budget and determine which elements would be the most successful in a high school environment, and which would be feasible to work with. 

The connections made with EarthNetworks were not only beneficial in terms of collecting supplies to work with, but also taught the students what it means to work with a large corporation. Presenting requests in a persuasive way, along with overcoming obstacles which may interrupt the process, are fundamental skills that students need to learn in order to function in the workplace. 

Unlike many typical high school projects, the future of the portable weather station is entirely open-ended. Because of the continuous support from EarthNetworks, students were allowed to experiment unlimitedly with materials uncommonly offered to teens. “This project gave me the opportunity to work in a discipline that I love with a project that was my idea with endless possibilities, no deadlines, and all original ideas,” says Taylor Grant. 

While students involved in MBWS most likely will not pursue a career in meteorology, their experience with STEM develops skills that can be used in other fields. Students are attracted to the program because it gives them the opportunity to fully exploit their diverse talents in a new 

and exciting environment which is typically hard to come by. This procedure was mainly comprised of coding and computer programming techniques, but coordination across all of MBWS was needed. “Although the result of our project is amazing, it's not necessarily about the final product – it's about learning skills and combining a group of people with all different skill sets,” Harrison Kern reflected. 

By encouraging collaboration and cross-disciplinary connections, the portable weather station project opens doors for students into new fields while maximizing the effects of the talents of the group. 

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