I will use the Internet system to provide this information to my students. Specifically, I will use MOSAIC and TURBOGOPHER to bring satellite images of current radar data, forecast maps, and surface image maps into the classroom for the purpose of studying the weather. In addition, I will have an expert, a meteorologist, act as a resource person to my children with weather related questions, using e-mail. I would like to use other classrooms to make comparisons between weather systems or patterns that develop in one part of the country compared with when that same system goes through Central Illinois.
A project such as the one I have proposed here can be done without the help of a computer. If I were to go back to the way I used to teach my weather unit. The Internet system has allowed me to write a weather unit using technology that was not available to me only a few months ago.
My classroom has only had access to an Apple lle. This allowed us to write stories, play games, allow ed bilingual students to have access for language help, and has kept my grades . I felt the Apple lle to be a very useful tool in the classroom. Prior to January, I had heard of the Superhighway of Information, but never thought that I could actuually be a part of it or that I would have access to it from my classroom. When that superhighway is up and running I plan to have my class in the forefront in Champaign schools and using this technology.
The Internet system has allowed my students to access images that they have only been able to see on televison. This is how I have always taught my class. Let me elaborate.
Students, prior to having this technology, would have been given an assignment to watch the weather forecast , current surface analysis, and radar pictures. Using the data they received from televison they were then to to make a forecast of the weather covering three days. There are several problems that are inherent to this way of teaching. First, students could watch the forecast given by the meteorologists and copy it. Making their forecast more accurate. Secondly, the images they received on the televison usually didn't stay on the screen very long. So, they were asked to make a forcast with little time for thought and reflection.
This year has been much better in terms of time allowed to each student to make their forecasts. I will explain.
When I first saw the University of Illinois program of classes to be offered I noticed C&I 300. I thought it sounded interesting so I went to class. At this point I wasn't sure that I would enroll, primarily, because the April 2 meeting fell on our spring break. This was quickly taken care of and I joined the class. The start was a little shaky. Although I had access to a computer and modem (2400 baud) I had to share this computer with the entire staff from my school. Also, this computer was not convienently located. It was located down a separate hall, away from my class, and they had to have permission from the libarian to use it. Also, I only had access during breaks. Hence, more problems.
I set out to solve my problem. I already knew someone who worked at NCSA because of a previous class. He is a bioengineering student, Don Crockett, who had worked on another project with my class. I enlisted his help to get a loaner computer from NCSA. More about this later.
The first step I took toward my goal of using the Internet system was to first learn how to use a Macintosh computer. I had barely seen a mouse, let alone, use it. Turning on the Macintosh Classic, the one in our library, I tried to become familiar with it and explored the workings of the machine. I quickly ran into problems. There were so many windows and no explanation of what they all meant. Finally, I realized that I had to place certain items on the hard drive for any of the programs to work. I tried doing this, but for a novice I just didn't get it. Then an idea struck me. Here I was in a school of 300 children with 600 parents. Someone had to have a working knowledge of Macintosh computers. I investigated this angle and came up with two names. I contacted them and one, a Mark Kuhlenschmidt, said he would be happy to help me. I will say without Mark's help this project would never have gotten off the ground. Not only did he set up the hard drive, but he also showed me some basics of the Macintosh. A case of Titlelists golf balls seemed like such a small reward for all the help he gave to me. I felt that now , my project could begin.
The next item was to check my e-mail, using Eudora, and to find out what was going on in class. After all it had been over a week since our first class meeting. I really was not prepared for the volume of mail. After wading through these I quickly learned that some messages were important and some could be trashed. Also, I had placed several phone calls to Alex for help. I would also like to recognize Alex for his support, patience, and help during the semester. He provided much insight during this time.
Over the next few weeks I sent messages out to different places to see if I could get some help with my project. I sent them to SATEX, Fred, and the National Weather Service. I received an offer of help from June Romack. We discussed how we could connect our classes, but being from Bloomington I felt that she was too close. I wanted someone from Oregon or somewhere far away. I later learned beggers cannot be choosers. More on that later. I also offered my class to anyone who needed a class to work with and received a response from Luci Kim. She however, didn't have an idea and said , she would get back to me. She never did.
At this point I tried to use Macslip, but I was having trouble getting it set up. I contacted Alex. He gave me some pointers, but it still would not work.
I sent Don an e-mail message for additional help. We discussed my project and how to get Macslip working. He was willing to work with me on the project. We met, decided on an outline of what to do, and set up a field trip to NCSA for the following week. This gave me only a week to prepare my students with the basics of how the weather works (see lesson plans in the appendix). I spent the week teaching them some basic weather vocabulary, Don brought over maps of current radar conditions, 6-panal forecasting maps, a legend the National Weather Service uses, and a graph showing weather data that we used with the maps he brought. He also video taped the children to use later with the children's forecast.
I used the information to teach the children how to read and use this data for use during our field trip to NCSA. We were hoping for some type of weather system that we could use to make our weather forecasts. Luckily, a major snow storm was about to hit Illinois. This was the system we had hoped for.
The day of the field trip was cold and clear. We walked the half-mile to NCSA. Upon our arrival Don and Kim (from our class) were waiting. Don brought up MOSAIC, explaining each step along the way. This first trip was almost a disaster because the computer from the U Of I Weather Machine was down. However, Don had some weather related information and the children worked on that until the computer came back up. About mid-morning the Uof I Weather Machine started working and we began the process of having the children bring up weather images using MOSAIC and TURBOGOPHER. There were many questions and Kim, Don, and I answered each one. They spent the rest of the morning looking at data and making their forecast. After lunch we worked on placing their video pictures on their forecast maps. We had forecasts that ranged from a very accurate prediction of snow to a high temperature in the 90's. Not great forecasts, but students did have success with with accessing MOSAIC and bringing the forecast images from the U Oof I Weather Machine.
About the loaner computer from NCSA. Don had made his request in February from NCSA. I received an e-mail message from Lisa Bievenue approving the request. I spent the next day writing a proposal to the PTA at our school requesting money to purchase a 14.4 modem and installing a telephone line in my class. The requst was approved the following week as was the installation of the Macintosh ll computer. Five NCSA Internet programs were already on the hard drive, including MOSAIC and TURBOGOPHER(see Appendix fo complete list. Now, I had access to the Internet system in my class whenever I wanted.
Also, During this week I received a request from a Sara Latta to interview me for an article in the July Issue of NCSA magazine. This involved how my class uses the Internet system(see appendix for a copy of the article). A little publicity never hurts.
I was still having trouble accessing Macslip and I felt a little desperate. At this point I decided to contact the National Weather Service in Kansas City by phone. I explained my project, gave them my e-mail address, and waited for a reply. About a week later I received a message, via e-mail, from meteorologists, John Hart. He was glad to help my class and I with our project, fielding meteorlogical questions from my students(see Appendix for examples). He gave mehis work schedule and I encouraged the students to write him with their questions. He received some very good questions and they received a very complete answer to their questions. Another success!
Some time later I was still having difficulty with Macslip so I contacted Mark Kuhlenschmidt. He agreed to,"have a look". He was able to get Macslip working. Another success! I finally had access to the Internet system from my classroom! I immediately brought up current weather data, all the things we could do at NCSA were now available from my class. My students have been using MOSAIC to work on their papers ever since. Everything to asking questions of John to seeing what the current weather will be doing. Would it be stormy? Snowy? Clear? They could now find out with the push of a couple of buttons.
With their new expertise at reading weather satellite photos, I planned another field trip to NCSA. Basically, it was a repeat of the previous trip without the glitches. Students were able to access weather data, make forecast, and then were allowed to explore the network. One child accessed the Simpsons and everone wanted to find it. Their was a lot of cooperation that day. Another success!
While my students were accessing the U of I Weather Machine it occurred to me that they were tying up Macslip for long periods of time. I didn't know how to save these images so I investigated. I learned how from Don and will include his e-mail message in the appendix. I also contacted Alex for help and he suggested that when I find out that I send it to SATEX, which I did.
Received two ideas from Don on the project. The first, was to have the students give forecast using graphical information and then present these to the class. The second, was to track lightning by sight and sound. Both ideas have merit and I will try this after my student teacher finishes her take over next week. She is working on another science project, now. I will also implement this into the project next year.
The project is winding down at this point. Afew loose ends to tie up. Students need to finish their questions to John. I want to get an e-mail account through NCSA and have taken steps through Don and e-mail toward this goal. To date,4-29-94, I have not heard back. Later this same day I heard back.
I believe that I have had only one failure during this project. This failure was that I was not able to include this project with another class. I feel I have more knowledge and can access more sources to involve other classes, with next years class. I feel the successes far outweigh any failures I may have experienced. I would , however, recommend that any other classes doing this project start early contacting other classrooms. This will allow some time for making a proposal to the other teacher, having the children send personal information and to set up a dialogue. Also time to work on schedules on both ends.
I feel that my students have learned a lot from the project. They have had success with using the Internet system, have learnd how the National Weather Service works, how the weather works and how to read all the satellite images available and make forecast using this information. Another success!
Personally, I have learned the same things. I have also gained access to a system that I was completely unaware of prior to January. I have gone from using an Apple lle with its limited abilities to having a Macintosh ll, a modem(14.4 baud), and a phone line. I feel a great deal of success from having taken this course. It has opened a whole new way of teaching and the way I view education and teaching.
I have discussed what my students and I have gained in the class and personal conclusions. The people we have worked with, I feel, have gained a relationship with my students. Satisfaction for having worked with a classroom of eager learners and the knowledge that they have contributed a piece of themselves to education.
Don Crockett had his own agenda for working on this project and has yet to send me this information. I will send it as soon as I have it. Basically, he is involved with writing computer programs that are of interest to educatiors and their students. We, my class and I are his guinea pigs.
Appendix # 1
WEATHER CURRICULUM LESSON PLANS
Lesson 1-The Atmosphere
Objectives: To define the atmosphere and its components
I. Definition: The atmosphere is the envelope of air surrounding the earth
A. Parts: The upper atmosphere, stratosphere (ozone) and the troposphere
1. Upper atmosphere contains a small amount of air
2. Stratosphere - contains the ozone which absorbs dangerous solar radiation
3. Troposphere - the lowest layer of the atmosphere where most of the weather occurs.
The troposphere is approximately 10 miles high.
Evaluation: Quiz on vocabulary terms
Lesson 2-How Clouds Form
Objectives: To define a cloud and
To describe how a cloud forms
To classify types of clouds
Vocabulary: cloud, fog, cumulus cloud, cumulonimbus, cirrus, stratus
I. Definitions: 1. A cloud forms when invisible microscopic water particles attach themselves to
microscopic dust, salt, ash from volcanoes or pollution particles and they become visible
2. Fog - occurs the same as a cloud, but occurs close to the ground.
II. How air rises to form clouds
1. Mountains can force air to rise. When this occurs, air cools and condenses into clouds
2. An approaching cold front or cold air mass lifts warmer air ahead of it. This cools the air
and it condenses into clouds.
3. The sun heats the air, in turn it rises, cools, and condenses to form clouds. Heat from the
sun can produce thunderstorms.
III. Four major types of clouds
1. Cumulus - white puffy clouds, usually mean fair weather
2. Cumulonimbus - storm clouds
3. Cirrus - feather-like clouds made of ice crystals, forms very high in the atmosphere
4. Stratus - grey sheet-like cloud layer associated with all day rains
Experiment - Make a Classroom Cloud
Materials: 1 large, thick bottle with narrow neck
1 rubber stopper with hole
2 feet of rubber tubing
1 air pump
Preparation: Connect rubber tube to air pump on one end and the other end to rubber stopper.
Procedure: Light match, blow out, and drop into bottle. Attach rubber stopper to bottle and pump out air to create a partial vacuum. (Be careful not to pump too much air out of bottle as this will cause the bottle to implode.) Then release rubber stopper. The differences in air pressure will condense into a cloud.
Evaluation: What process led to the formation of the cloud? What role did the lighted match play?
Lesson 3 - Precipitation
Objectives: To understand the differenct types of precipitation and to define each type.
Vocabulary: precipitation, rain, snow, sleet, hail, freezing rain
I. Definition: Precipitation is moisture that fall froms the sky. The different types are: (1) rain,
(2) snow, (3) sleet, (4) freezing rain
II. How Each Type Form
1. Rain - occurs when water droplets within a cloud grow too large and heavy to remain
suspended in a cloud and fall to the earth.
2. Snow - forms when ice crystals grow too large and fall to the earth. Temperature must be
below 32 degrees from start to finish
3. Sleet - is rain that freezes as it falls through a layer of freezing temperatures on the way
4. Freezing rain - is rain that freezes only after it hits a frozen surface such as tree limbs, cars,
5. Hail - occurs when water droplets freeze, begin to fall to earth, are then uplifted back up into
the clouds. This can occur numerous times. Each time a new layer of ice is added until it
becomes too heavy to stay aloft and falls to the earth as hail.
Experiment: Making Rain
Materials: heat source, a clear tray, ice, pan, water
Preparation: Heat water in pan to a boil. Cover the tray with ice.
Procedure: While steam rises from boiling water, hold tray of ice over rising steam until
droplets of water form on bottom of tray. Allow the water to fall as rain.
Evaluation: Be able to list the steps of how precipitation forms.
Lesson 4 - Storms
Objectives: To learn the different types of storms. These include: A) thunderstorm, B) tornado,
To understand what a cold cloud is and know how lightning and thunder develops.
Vocabulary: thunderstorm, tornado, hurricane, cold cloud, charge (as related to electricity),
I. Cold Cloud - is a cloud that contains both water droplets and ice crystals.
1. Ice crystals that split apart produce a charge in the cloud. Charges can be either
negative or positive. Opposite charges attract each other.
2. Lightning is a discharge of electricity within a storm cloud.
3. Thunder is a sound wave created by the heating (lightning is very hot) and expansion of
II. Thunderstorms are created when a harmless cumulus could is exposed to rising warm air.
The cumulus cloud then grows into a thunderstorm (cumulonimbus). Heavy rain, lightning,
and thunder develop.
III. A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in touch with the ground. This is caused by
a few intense thunderstorms rotating. This is causes a funnel to develop which then develops
into a tornado.
IV. Hurricanes are rotating storms that develop over warm water usually starting near Africa and
moving across the Atlantic to North America. It begins as a low pressure center that rotates
itself into still lower pressure. Winds of a hurricane start at 74 mph or greater. Hurricanes
lose their strength when they move over dry land or colder waters.
Experiment: Tornado in a bottle
Materials: Two empty liter soft drink bottles, masking or other heavy duty tape, water
Preparation: Fill one liter bottle to about 8-9 tenths full. Connect the other bottle on top with
the tape, connecting the mouths of both. Invert the bottle.
Procedure: Invert the bottle (so the water is now on top) and vigorously rotate the bottle until a funnel appears. Allow to drain into lower bottle.
Evaluation: Observe the funnel. Resembles the movement of a tornado.
Lesson 5 - Temperature and Humidity and the Water Cycle
Objectives: To understand the meaning of temperature
To understand the meaning of humidity
To understand how the water cycle works
Vocabulary: temperature, molecules, thermometer, mercury, humidity, relative humidity,
evaporation, condensation, water vapor
I. Definition: Temperature is the amount of degrees of how hot or cold something is
A. Movement of molecules causes this and temperature is the measure of the average
speed of molecules
B. Molecules move faster as heat in a substance increases.
C. Molecules move slower as heat decreases in a substance.
II. Thermometer: is an instrument to measure the temperature. Two types:
A. Mercury-filled (Note: Mercury is a poisonous substance. Shouldn't be used with small
B. Alcohol filled (usually dyed red in color)
III. Humidity: is the amount of water vapor in the air
A. Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor the air holds at a certain temperature
B. The higher the air temperature the more water vapor the air can hold.
IV. How to measure humidity
1. Use a dry and wet bulb thermometer
A. Dry bulb thermometer - is an ordinary thermometer used to measure the temperature.
B. Wet bulb thermometer is the same except that it has a wet piece of cloth attached to it.
This allows the thermometer to measure evaporation of the moisture into the air.
V. Water cycle is the exchange of water among the earth, atmosphere and all bodies of water, including the main body of water, the ocean, and also lakes, rivers, streams, and all open water.
Experiment: Wet and Dry Bulb Thermometer
Materials: 2 thermometers, an empty milk carton, cheesecloth, rubber bands, thread, and
Preparation: Attach cheesecloth to a thermometer with the thread. Cut a hole into the milk
carton and push cheesecloth through the hole, attaching both thermometers to the milk
carton with the rubber bands. Add water, making sure the cheesecloth is wet.
Procedure: Fan the wet bulb, wait about 5 minutes, and read both thermometers.
Evaluation: Calculate the differences between the dry bulb thermometer temperature and the
wet bulb thermometer temperature. Use this difference with the chart in the appendix.
Lesson 6 - Air Pressure and Fronts
Objectives: To understand what air pressure is
To understand the meaning of high pressure (fair weather)
To understanding the meaning of low pressure (precipitation)
Vocabulary: Air pressure, barometer, high pressure, low pressure, isobars
I. Air pressure is the force created by the weight of the air above.
A. Air exerts an average force of 15 pounds per square inch.
II. Barometer - an instrument that measures this force and the changes that take place
III. Changes in air pressure that occur are:
A. High pressure: air sinks toward the surface of the earth. When this occurs we usually have
fair weather. Air blows clockwise around a high pressure.
B. Low pressure: air rises away from the surface of the earth and we usually have some form
of precipitation. Air blows counter clockwise around a low pressure
C. Isobars are connecting lines of same air pressure using millibars as the unit of measure.
IV. Fronts: warm, Cold
A. Warm front: warm air pushes into a region. On a map it is shown with a curved line and red
bumps. This is the leading edge of a warm air mass.
B. Cold Front: cold air pushes into a region. On a map it is shown by a curved line with blue
teeth pointing out. This indicates the direction it is moving. Without the counterclockwise
wind circulation around a low pressure area there would be no movment of air masses or
Evaluation: Questions concerning air pressure and fronts
Lesson 7-National Weather Center
Objectives: To understand a weather network.
To understand the National Weather Servive and how they operate.
Vocabulary: weather network, National Weather Service, forecast.
I. Weather Network-is a collection of weather stations that collect and share data covering the weather.
A. There are about 250 collecting stations.
B. Data is also collected by satellite and ballon.
C. Data is also collected by volunteers for local areas called
cooperative observing network.
II. The National Weather Service is a network that collects weather information
for aviation, agriculture, and for public use.
A. All recording areas feed their information into the National Meteorlogical
Center in Washington D.C..
B. They plot the information on a weather map and transmit this to a world wide
network so that weather forecasts can be made.
Evaluation: On going.
Weather Maps Lesson Plan-8
Objectives: To be able to read and understand a weather map with appropriate symbols.
To be able to make accurate forecasts using current satellite images.
Vocabulary: WXP Symbol ledgend, satellite images.
I. Activity: Hand out maps of the United States. Allow students to use their wxp symbol ledgend to identify any unusual activity on their maps. Example: temperatures, isobars of pressure, types of precipitation, wind speed and direction etc..
Evaluation-Accuracy of maps.
Forecasts:Lesson Plans 9
Objectives: To understand how to make a weather forecast.
To understand the accuracy of weather forecasting.
To make a weather forecast.
To understand the purpose of weather forecasting.
I. Weather Forecast-is a prediction of weather conditions.
A. purpose: Forecast help to save crops, property, and lives.
II. Accuracy of Forecasts:
A. Long range forecast-not very accurate, but improvement made.
B. Short range-less than 24 hours are very accurate.
III. Activity:Using our Macintosh click on appropriate windows(see appendix) for weather
forecasting. Bring up image of 48 hour weather forecast image using 6-panal, radar image, and surface analysis. Make a forecast for Central Illinois. Include barometric pressure, temperature, precipitation and type, wind direction and speed.
How To Start The Computer To Bring Satellite Images Into the Classroom. Lesson 10.
Objectives: To learn how to use a computer to bring satellite images using MOSAIC and TURBOGOPHER.
I. The computer - steps to bring in MOSAIC
A. Turn computer
B. Double click on hard drive
C. Double click on NCSA Internet Software
1. Window with five applications will show window - TURBOGOPHER,
MOSAIC, Telnet, Z Word, and
2. Double click on MOSAIC.
II. MOSAIC window will open up.
1. TURBOGOPHER will automatically take me to bookmarks then to home gopher server.
2. Find newspaper N.L. weather. Click on
3. Next window - find U of I weather machin - click on
4. Next window - find images - click on.
III. Images: Menu will open - select appropriate title.
IV. Pick image you want
1. Next window - individual image from satellite. Choose 1 and let JPEG bring up image.
Evaluation - Ability for student to bring up sequence of windows that allows final image to appear.