As scientific discovery becomes more data-driven, there is a critical need to build a workforce with robust skills in data analysis and scientific modeling. Nowhere is the need to strengthen learning opportunities greater than in rural areas, where a majority of the nation’s school districts reside and where under-investment persists.
WeatherX is working to advance the knowledge of strategies that can promote interest and skills in data science and scientific modeling among middle school students in rural areas. To do so, the project is developing and studying a set of learning experiences where students use large-scale weather data to investigate extreme weather events on Mount Washington, New Hampshire, and in their rural communities.
With weather scientists and educators from the Mount Washington Observatory and learning scientists and technology developers from around the country, the WeatherX team is leading the following efforts:
- Develop and study curriculum materials that involve hands-on data investigations of extreme weather events
- Work with middle school science and mathematics teachers in northern New Hampshire and Maine to develop and test the materials in rural classrooms
- Integrate and study the use of the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) and online SageModeler to support students’ data investigations and scientific modeling
- Connect students with community members who are deeply knowledgeable about the local weather to strengthen the cultural relevance of students’ learning
- Build students’ understanding of and interest in science careers through online chats, video demonstrations, and virtual live sessions with Mount Washington scientists
- WeatherX will provide data-rich science learning experiences for up to 15 teachers and 800 middle school students in rural districts in northern New Hampshire and Maine.
- The project’s curriculum materials will support the development of fundamental practices with large-scale scientific data for students around the country.
- Curriculum activities that connect students with community weather experts will engage the broader community in students’ science learning.
- Through interactions with students, scientists at Mount Washington and beyond will learn how to make their work more accessible and of greater career interest to students.
Mt. Washington Observatory, University of Maine, University of Washington, Concord Consortium