Classroom Weather Forecasting

Mar 23, 2006 by

I had an idea last summer about taking the common classroom exercise of recording the daily weather and using online resources to explore weather in other areas of the country, or other nations. While I haven’t found a way to incorporate having my students record the weather in foreign countries yet, I have started using several sources to get an accurate measure of what the weather conditions are like in our community.

By incorporating the current conditions feature of Accuweather.com, the previous day’s actual high and low temperatures found at Weather.com, and a wonderful site from MSU that provides the local weather conditions every hour from a weather station literally just down the road, I’m having my students create a two week record of several weather factors. My goal (or hope rather) is to have them follow the data and watch for trends to better predict what the weather will be like over Spring Break (baring any unexpected heat waves or unusual weather patterns of course).

The more I think about what I’m having them do, the more I feel as though there’s much more with technology I could be doing. While I don’t have the software currently installed on any of their laptops, I could have the students create their own recordings of the daily weather as if they were reporting on the radio. We could post the recordings on the class website, share them with other classrooms, or even create podcasts out of them. The audio got me thinking even bigger, and got me wondering what it would take for my students to create their own television-like weather forecast, complete with a weather map (use the computer and a projector to show the map on a wall) and editing effects in Moviemaker or a simliar program to add an intro with the date, time, and a fake television station intro. We could do it with just a digital vide camera and a cheap microphone. I’m not sure if I have the time or the energy (battling a sinus infection at the moment) to get everything together for next week before Spring Break, but I definitely want to try this either after the break or for next year.

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2 Comments

  1. Ben,

    I spent many years in radio/TV working with the folks at Accu Weather. Spent a lot of time with Dr. Joe Sobel and Joe Bastardi, they are good folks.

    I would like to suggest Vlog to use for your news/weather cast. It is very cool to use and quite professional looking. It does all the newscast graphics, your computer acts like a teleprompter, it even does a form of chroma-key (green screen). I’m playing with it over our spring break and I can see it having a lot of educational potential. Check it out at http://seriousmagic.com
    I’m just getting started playing with it, but it might be worth your looking into. It has a 15-day free trial.

    Casey

  2. Ben

    It sounds like an interesting program; I’ll have to give the Vlog It software a look see this Spring Break as well. I was impressed with all of the visual effects in the demo on the site, and if it’s as easy as it claims to be it might be worth picking up a copy. Thanks for the link.

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