Well, not anymore! The NASA-sponsored Classroom of the Future™ has created STORM-E, a distance learning weather simulation targeting grades 4-6. It asks students, "Can you predict the weather?”
STORM-E (Students and Teachers Observing and Recording Meteorological Events) is designed to culminate any weather unit. Jane Neuenschwander, a former teacher and now curriculum writer at the COTF™, explains that students play the role of meteorologists. Air pressure, humidity, temperature, and winds are the four areas used to organize this simulation. Each student joins a team and focuses on data from one of those areas. The teams are then asked to help with the decision of holding or canceling the outdoor events based on maps, graphs, data, and satellite images provided. The simulations are based on historic weather events.
“Today's students need opportunities to be problem-solvers, “says Neuenschwander. “The simulation requires students to tackle a problem using the science-processing skills of observing, inferring, predicting, communicating, and interpreting data. These same skills are needed to succeed on current standardized tests, and that excites teachers,” Neuenschwander adds.
STORM-E was designed as a curriculum option for the NASA Explorer Schools. However, it is available to all schools with videoconferencing capabilities. It is an exciting, culminating activity for any weather unit. Learn more about this program and how to participate at http://storme.cet.edu.