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Published: Wednesday, 5/25/2005

Ostego: Classroom weather system opens eyes

Nine-year-old Justine Tolles checks out the figures on the WeatherNet at Weston Elementary school. A grant paid $6,211 to have the equipment installed. Nine-year-old Justine Tolles checks out the figures on the WeatherNet at Weston Elementary school. A grant paid $6,211 to have the equipment installed.

Shelby McClellan, like many fourth-graders, doesn't yet know what she will do when she grows up.

But the 10-year-old says a geography class in Ostego Local School District's Weston Elementary School has opened her eyes to one profession: meteorology.

Seated in a third-floor classroom on a warm afternoon last week, a group of 16 fourth-graders discussed what they liked the most about a weather-forecasting system recently installed in their classroom.

The equipment includes rain and wind gauges, and temperature sensors on the school's roof to record real data that the students can access on computer terminals in their class.

The project, a brainchild of science teacher Annette Castorena, was funded through the Martha Jennings Foundation and the Otsego Endowment Foundation. It cost $6, 211 to install the equipment.

"I like when it shows us pictures of tornadoes and temperatures from many different states," said 9-year-old Danielle Lashaway.

As part of the project, the students have been learning about weather patterns in northwest Ohio and from other states including tornadoes and thunderstorms, said Ms. Castorena.

In addition, each class has been announcing the day's weather forecast to the school after their morning sessions.

For 9-year-old Justin Tolles, that's most of the fun for the day. "We have to make an announcement to the whole school everyday," he said excitedly. "Sometimes it's good because we know when we need to bring our jackets if it is going to be cold," said Brooke Kinder, 10. "It's a good experiment because we have never been able to do that," she said.

The hands-on activity is one of the key reasons the school started the project, said Principal Priscilla Pixler.

"This program will really fulfill a lot of parts of our curriculum in that we will be able to meet state standards in as far as teaching students to collect, analyze, and make conclusions about raw data," said Ms. Pixler.

Ms. Castorena agreed. She noted that her students love the experimentation of the project because "it's hands-on, it's fun, and it's using technology in a meaningful way that elementary students can understand."

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at:

krujumba@theblade.com or


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