(Sentinel, The (Carlisle, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) June 10--CARLISLE -- Local smartphone users can download a free app to access data on local weather and air conditions collected by new weather stations at Lamberton and Wilson middle schools.
As part of the recent renovation project, Carlisle Area School District replaced the old weather gathering equipment at both schools with a newer, most cost-efficient system that provides its students with the same level of "ownership" of real-time data.
Smartphone users can install the Weather Underground app by searching for "wunderground" in the Apple or Android app store, said Michael Kulikauskas, a technology resource teacher for sixth through twelfth grades. His job is to help classroom teachers integrate technology into their curricula.
Users can then select either the Lamberton or Wilson station to see real-time data for that building, Kulikauskas said. In addition, anyone with Internet access can view the data for either school online at www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KPACARLI9 for Wilson Middle School or www.wunderground.com/personal-weather-station/dashboard?ID=KPACARLI10 for Lamberton Middle School.
The new stations gather information through rooftop instruments at each school that measure humidity, rainfall amounts and speed, wind speed and direction and air pressure and temperature, said Mike Beachy, a sixth-grade science teacher at Lamberton Middle School.
It provides students and teachers with data similar to what was available with the older WeatherBug system, but Weather Underground updates more frequently, Beachy said. The older system featured outdated and broken equipment that needed to be replaced, Kulikauskas said. The renovation work prompted the decision to upgrade the weather station at each school.
Kulikauskas worked with the science teachers at each building to match their needs with the available systems out in the market. It was determined that a system based on Weather Underground was more cost-efficient for Carlisle school district than continuing with WeatherBug.
The system upgrade was fully installed at Lamberton by late April with data available by May 2, said Ashley Knight, who also teaches science to sixth-graders at the school.
The upgrade was ready just in time for Beachy and Knight to integrate the data into the weather unit taught to students during the final month of the school year.
"We pushed to get it in their hands during their weather unit," Kulikauskas said.
Data collected from the rooftop instruments was transmitted to a console in each classroom and then to a smartboard for display to the whole class.
Beachy encouraged the students to compare the data on the smartboard to the weather conditions they see outside the window to get an understanding on how the two correlate.
The students also had to compile the day-to-day weather data into a journal, Beachy said. "It created an excitement for them knowing that it was their weather happening right here at Lamberton and not just generally Carlisle or Harrisburg weather."
This made it more real for the students who got excited about tracking weather data, Knight said. "The kids loved it. As soon as they came through the door, the first question they asked was 'Can they be the meteorologist for the day?' Some of them really got into character."
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