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Madison elementary buys weather station with MSF grant, donations

Sixth-graders Gianna Nabors, from left, Emily Drinkard and Christopher Woodard check out their Davis Instruments weather station at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sixth-graders Gianna Nabors, from left, Emily Drinkard and Christopher Woodard check out their Davis Instruments weather station at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sixth-grader Jackson Eames checks out digital statistics collected by the weather station at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)
Sixth-grader Jackson Eames checks out digital statistics collected by the weather station at Madison Elementary School. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Teachers’ ingenuity and community philantrophy have secured an outdoor weather station at Madison Elementary School.

Sixth-grade science teacher Bonnie Howard wrote a grant proposal to the Madison Street Festival (MSF) committee for funding. In addition, each grade level had received a donation from GenCorp and one of its employees, Carlton Brewer.

Sixth-grade teachers Meredith Brewer, Shannon Lilienthal, Laura Ruffin and Howard combined their donations and MSF grant money to buy the station, which allows all grades to study real-time data and scientific instrumentation.

Alabama Course of Study for sixth grade describes “function of instruments and technology used to investigate Earth’s weather, including barometers, thermometers, anemometers, weather vanes, satellites, radar, weather balloons and rain gauges,” Howard said. Students can ‘own’ their collected data and observations by actually monitoring the instruments in action.

Mounted on a tall, metal pole on campus, the weather unit is a 6152 Vantage Pro 2 Weather Station, manufactured by Davis Instruments. Students are using Davis Instruments Weatherlink Data IP Logger Software.

The young meteorologists at Madison elementary are accessing a website for the “Weather Underground” (wunderground.com). “This site allows us to link our weather data for everyone to view,” Howard said.

Kindergartners are using weather data for their newly planted garden at school. They determine how many days the garden received rain in April and May and will predict the rain’s effect on plant growth, Howard said.

To make meteorological predictions, Madison elementary sixth-graders are applying data for relative humidity, temperature and barometric pressure. “It’s all very exciting and engaging. It will take our study of weather and weather instrumentation to a higher level,” Howard said.

“We are also in the process of working to register the station with the National Weather Service’s Citizen Observation Station network or CWOP,” Howard said. “This network, once registered, takes the weather station from Madison Elementary School and provides it to the world meteorological community.”

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