130 Engaging Prospect Students in Meteorology with a Mobile Weather Station at the Alamo Colleges District

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
John Strybos, Alamo Colleges–San Antonio College, Live Oak, Texas

The Alamo Colleges District has been planning to introduce climate science classes, including AMS Climate Studies course material, with a focus on real local weather data. The colleges have identified potential teaching formats that will help successfully introduce the courses into the curriculum. This presentation will discuss an initiative to develop a mobile weather station to effectively communicate the importance of climate science, provide access to hyperlocal weather data to engage middle and high school students, and promote educational opportunities at the Alamo Colleges District accessible to the Greater San Antonio diverse community. By introducing innovative tools and elements, the Alamo Colleges District wants to communicate the importance of climate science and its challenges to a younger generation. San Antonio’s weather conditions such as extreme droughts, intensified annual rainfalls, and El Niño and La Niña affecting weather changes, will help customize learning experiences focused on the use of hyperlocal weather data. These experiences will provide students the tools to understand the importance of meteorology and the discussion around climate change. The Alamo Colleges District is leading a project to convert an old trailer into a mobile weather station for use as a STEM classroom. The trailer will become a tool to promote meteorology, drive to communities, and educate middle and high school students about the complexities of climate science. This educational outreach tool will have meteorological equipment installed to measure air temperature, relative humidity, dew point temperature, rain amount, barometric pressure, wind direction, and more. It will have work stations with laptops, monitors and a large touch screen to promote interactive experiences. Students will alternate between indoor and outdoor activities and will get access to valuable research tools. The end goal is to prepare students to understand weather data, communicate its applicability at a local level, and motive them to pursue further education on the topic at a college level. This initiative will uniquely prepare students to understand weather data, the evidence of climate change impacting San Antonio at a local level, and make meteorology a relevant and appealing learning opportunity. It will introduce local applicable concepts, motivate students to continue learning about weather conditions and climate change solutions, and most importantly, prepare students to enter the conversation on mitigation and adaptation.
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