85th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 9 January 2005
Online Weather Studies as an Ideal General Science Course
Serhii Kalynovs'kyi, Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, MD
Faculty and administration of Columbia Union College, the liberal arts minority-serving institution in Washington, DC metro area believes that Online Weather Studies course, developed by American Meteorological Society with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is an ideal offering for satisfying general education requirements in the area of science, since it has a well-developed lab component, doesn’t require advanced math skills (which is making it open for all majors), but nevertheless offers an excellent way to engage students into real investigation thus providing them an opportunity to have a taste of scientific exploration. The course will be taught in computerized physics lab and its format will be a mixture of a traditional textbook teaching and lab activities with online activities through the use of the latest weather data, maps, forecasts, and satellite and radar imagery delivered via the Internet. Meteorological observations will also be part of the course lab, which will help the students to connect information they see on the map with actual data acquisition.

The science of meteorology gives a science educator a rare opportunity to show the students how both deterministic and probabilistic approaches work in science as well as to demonstrate the limits of modern knowledge right in the introductory course. Other important outcomes of the course are development of analytical skills and critical thinking. Weather is something very practical and important for everybody, and its prediction with subsequent verification creates interest and motivation, which helps an educator to reach his/her goals.

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