Weather Trackers for Inquiry-Based Learning

Grant Details


To provide undergraduates with stronger inquiry-based field experiences involving hypothesis testing and data collection, this project will revise existing curricula to include weather data gathering projects using 80 hand-held weather trackers, instruments that have cable hookups permitting the easy transfer of weather data to computer files for statistical manipulation. Faculty from geography/earth science, biology, and engineering departments are using the weather trackers in a variety of introductory and advanced classes. Students are exploring spatial and temporal variations of weather variables in classrooms, on campus grounds, at local forests, and at local elementary and middle schools, where pre-service teachers taking these courses regularly work with K-8 students. Examples of specific projects include students measuring temperature and dew point variations within buildings, testing for the existence of an urban heat island, and correlating changes in barometric pressure with associated changes in wind speed and air moisture.

The intellectual merit of this project lies in the promotion of an inquiry-based approach for learning about weather in series of existing science courses in earth science, biology, and engineering. Non-majors, pre-service teachers, and K-8 students are collecting and analyzing their own field data. Students who might ordinarily not gain such abilities learn technical and analytical skills that are useful in the workplace, a significant broader impact. With the needs of pre-service teachers in mind, the project's inquiry based approaches are aligned with state and national science standards.

Effective start/end date09/1/0408/31/08


  • National Science Foundation: $28,363.00


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