Since I returned back home to Cincinnati in late 2011, I’ve been connected with Sycamore Community Schools in a lot of ways: through teachers, through friends, and by getting involved in district activities. Sycamore is a district with award-winning education, and Sycamore is working on some new initiatives to make sure students are better prepared for the workforce.
Before a weather station and camera network was created at Local 12, I spoke at a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) meeting with Sycamore staff in 2012. I discussed the value of having a weather station at a school. First, the data collected by the weather station can be used in the classroom to teach math, science, technology, and computer programming. The data can also be shared with the National Weather Service and media to show current weather conditions; these data are especially important during active and severe weather.
Sycamore recent initiatives opened up an opportunity to put a weather station at Sycamore High School. With the backing of the district, the weather station arrived at the high school last week, and the installation began on Wednesday:
Mr. Chad Husting, a science teacher at the high school, Ashwin Corattiyil, the Dean of Students at the high school, and I set up the weather station on Wednesday. Mr. Husting was nothing short of MacGyver connecting the pieces together. He even came in Friday to secure the station’s pole and tripod!
The weather station is away from wind blocks and obstructions and also away from where animals and people can influence the measurements with it:
The wind speed and direction are measured at the top of the weather station, and rainfall and temperature measurement are taken in the black and white-colored units, respectively.
It is important that the station is positioned away from walls, buildings, and trees that can block the wind. That makes the roof a great spot!
Note the cinder blocks holding the weather station down. Derrick Richardson (assistant principal), Ms. Haverkos (high school science teacher), two custodians, Ashwin, and I put those there to make sure the station was secure (they did most of the work)!
The weather station has a wireless connection to a console in the building. From the console, the data are uploaded to the Internet and to various sources:
While at the school, students will be able to see the data on the console, but the data will also flow to several places online, including:
http://mesowest.utah.edu/cgi-bin/droman/meso_base_dyn.cgi?stn=E7726 (coming by mid-August)
This is an exciting time for Sycamore not just because I see a weather station on the roof but because students, staff, and the community benefit from having that data. Science teachers at Sycamore High School, including the ones listed above, seem to be very excited about this new teaching tool, and I’m hopeful that the success of this weather station is so big that it spreads to other schools throughout the district.
Ironically, Sycamore High School is across the street from a neighborhood heavily damaged by an F4 tornado back on April 9, 1999. Those who have lived in Blue Ash, Montgomery, and Symmes Township for years know that a simple weather station is more than just education; it’s safety.