Science Literacy Project and WeatherBug® Schools Improve Achievement Scores and Classroom Atmosphere in New York City Schools
"This special program combining science and literacy has provided opportunities to seek out and research new technology and resources to help children increase both their academic aptitude and enjoyment of learning in these specific content areas."
— Tim Hitchcock, Science Lab Teacher, Brooklyn PS 288
For the past three years, schools that participated in the Science Literacy Project provided by WeatherBug® Schools and USA TODAY have excelled in test scores and have fostered a student environment of teamwork and friendly competition.
In pursuit of meeting the No Child Left Behind Act, over 35 New York City schools joined an innovative project to raise student achievement scores. The project brought students and teachers from all grade levels together from across the city, including Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, to boost morale, interpersonal skills and achievement scores. The program was to be fun and engaging and still follow state and city school district-approved curricula.
The solution was a second-semester educational program that incorporates a virtual road trip across the US using real-world events. Within the past three school years, over 1,000 students from fourth to 12th grade and at all academic performance levels have participated in the Science Literacy Project.
Each project team collects weather-related science articles from USA TODAY. The students locate the specific state for the story on a US map and determine the city location using a road atlas. Then, using WeatherBug Achieve resources, they research the weather patterns and other weather-related information for the area of the news story.
Using WeatherBug Achieve, students investigate math, science, geography and technology through real-life weather conditions and lesson plans that align with national and state education standards. With a proprietary network of over 8,000 WeatherBug® Tracking Stations installed at schools across the country, project members use the precision data collected to determine how weather conditions played a role in their news articles.
At the end of each school year, the students' projects are judged at a Share Fair. At the fair, judges award the best project, two runners-up and the best school submission as determined by creativity and adherence to project requirements.
In the second and third years, student achievement was measured with a pre-test/post-test methodology. Students at all grade levels showed a marked improvement from the beginning to the end of the project, with scores showing between a 20% to 50% increase.