Provided by Prince William County Schools
Six second grade classes at Buckland Mills Elementary School have been learning about climate changes and the tools used to track weather conditions over time. Each student has studied weather-measuring devices and have applied that knowledge to develop their own equipment, including bracelets for tracking the Earth’s water cycle, gauges for measuring rain levels, and weathervanes for tracking the direction of the wind.
Using their devices, the students logged and charted data about daily weather conditions over the course of two weeks. The lesson helps students better comprehend the need for weather predicting and the critical role meteorologists play in assisting with weather-related decisions.
Halfway through the project, students prepared for a virtual weather lesson from a mystery person, not knowing who exactly it would be. Could it be the man whose photo recently appeared everywhere throughout the building? The answer was yes. The secret guest was none other than weatherman Doug Kammerer from the NBC4 Weather Center.
“Most of the students did not know we were going to Zoom with Mr. Kammerer. Over the past few weeks, we placed pictures of him in classrooms and around the school to see if they would make a connection to our weather-predicting research. Many wondered if he was a substitute, a new teacher, someone’s dad, a teacher’s husband, or a police officer,” said second-grade teacher Lisa Perry.
Kammerer took the students on a virtual tour of the weather center, showing them special equipment including a green screen used to project graphics behind him as he delivers the forecast. Kammerer shared a little about his background and how he first became interested in weather at age 7. The children were excited to show him the tools they had developed and to discuss weather-related lessons.
“This experience afforded the children the opportunity to connect their learning to real life experiences that can extend their curiosity, inspire them to become readers, and embrace science,” said second grade teacher Marylouise Polhamus.
The meteorologist gave students from each classroom the opportunity to ask questions. Where are storms located right now? Will it be cold tomorrow? What will the weather be like in Las Vegas next weekend?
Following the virtual visit, the students were noticeably energized and ready to discuss the exchange with Kammerer. Perry used this opportunity to open the floor for students to express their thoughts.
“Now that I met Doug, I want to watch the weather,” said Xavier.
“I like learning about how he does his job and what his job looks like,” added Norma.
“I liked when Doug showed us the green screen and what he sees compared to what we see at home,” said Cameron.
Cecil thought Doug’s job was cool. “He studies the atmosphere and weather and continues to learn. I like that too.”
“My family and I watch Storm Team 4 and I never thought I would get to meet him. I got to ask him a question and see where he works,” said Elena.
Before concluding the virtual field trip, a show of hands overwhelmingly proved that these meteorologists are eagerly awaiting the months with the highest probability of snow. Perhaps adding a ruler to their tools is in order.