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Showing Laura Donaldson

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Second Place

6-8 | Science & Tech | Interactive Whiteboard

Station WMPB in Maryland

My Classroom Innovation

For my project, the students used the information they learned about weather over an entire term to create their own weather report. The students kept records of the weather conditions at different cities throughout the United States over the course of eight days. After recording the information using various internet websites or their iPods, the students complied all of the information. At this point, the students had the opportunity to have a Skype conversation with a Washington D.C. television meteorologist to learn how they should analyze their information, as well as how to put a weather forecast together for a television audience. The students worked in their computers classes to create their maps and forecasts in a PowerPoint presentation. Then, using the classroom SmartBoard as their green screen to act like a television meteorologist, the students gave their forecast to their classmates, being recorded using the school’s flip camera, so they could feel as though they were giving their forecast to a television audience. This project was innovative in its approach because it allowed the students to combine all of their knowledge from an entire term into a product that showcased their knowledge in a new way. The students were able to use technology in a variety of ways with their curriculum to create a well-balanced final product. I used the “How’s the Weather” activity packet from PBS as my inspiration for this project, modifying the “The Weather in Three Towns” activity. I took the idea of the students each researching the weather in three towns and had each students pick one town, then the forecasts of different cities around the United States showcased the differences in weather in different climates.

How Students were Engaged

The project completely engaged the students in all aspects of learning. The students had to recall the information they learned throughout the term, they had to apply that information to the weather data they collected in order to create their final product, and they also had to use technology and their knowledge of weather to put their weather forecast together accurately. In addition, the students engaged with a Washington, D.C. television meteorologist using the Skype chat program to learn about his job and how he analyzes weather data to create a forecast. This gave them a very hands-on approach to their project. The students had to take their knowledge and use practical application in collecting the weather data, while transferring their knowledge to a new situation, as they had never created a weather forecast in the past. The students made me a very proud educator because they showed an immense understanding of the topic of weather from where they had started in November with this unit. The students were able to score the highest they have all year on their chapter tests because they were working on this project, which caused them to revisit the material on a regular basis. I believe that projects like this, which allows students to take what they know and apply to a real life situation, give the students the most long term benefit because they have seen how the material applies to their everyday lives. For students of this age, that is the key to success in the classroom – the outside connection.

PBS Program/Content Used

"How's the Weather?"