Enlightening lightning!

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Sunday, 29 January 2006
Enlightening lightning!
Exhibit Hall A2 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Richard Orville, Texas A&M Univ., College Sation, TX; and D. H. House and M. F. Hibbs

This paper presents the result of a three-year project to produce a curriculum ensemble on the topic of thunderstorms and lightning for middle school students. A multi-media visual program has been completed for presentation in a planetarium setting, along with written and laboratory materials designed for classroom use. There were two objectives. First, create materials to educate sutdents in the fundamental concepts of thunderstorm and lightning processes. Second, demonstrate the capacity of the planetarium as an out-of-classroom milieu for learning and teaching about the physical systems of the atmosphere and earth. In addition to the planetarium show, which has been completed, we have achieved a third unexpected goal. We have produced a 35-minute DVD suitable for use in middle schools, which teaches lightning fundamentals and safety, and is appropriate for all ages.