Case Study: A Learning Environment Where Students Explore and Think Critically; Webster Hill Elementary School, Hartford, CT
Webster Hill School decided to purchase a WeatherBug Tracking Station in order to enrich its fourth grade weather curriculum. The school reviewed a number of systems and selected the WeatherBug Schools Program.
"The WeatherBug Schools Program is all and more than it proposed to be," said Kenneth Sopelak, a fourth grade teacher at Webster Hill Elementary School, "Our original intention was to use it in conjunction with the fourth grade weather curriculum. It turned out to be so powerful that we were able to enrich our entire curriculum in kindergarten through fifth grade in math, science, social studies and language arts.
Students at Every Grade Level Use Tracking Station Data to Study Multiple Subjects
Webster Hill joined the WeatherBug Schools Program with a platinum package, including a complete Tracking Station and camera. It is now part of students' everyday classroom activities. Because the WeatherBug Schools Program's curriculum correlates to the Connecticut Curriculum Trace Maps for science and math in K-12, teachers of all grade levels at the school can use it to teach multiple subjects.
The school also established a Weather Club. Junior Weather Reporters are assigned to each classroom in the school. Using live tracking station weather data, the school now provides traffic and travel weather forecasts to the community. Additionally, Webster Hill's real-time weather station has been used to study its Living Courtyard. Students learned about composting, growing cycles, monarch butterflies, forecasting, meteorology and more.
Teacher Recognition: Ken Sopelak Wins NEA Foundation's Hilda Maehling Award, 2001
The Hilda Maehling Award recognizes an individual who builds on the professional development funded by an NEA Foundation Leadership Grant by enhancing the academic skills of additional faculty or staff in the school institution of higher education.
According to the NEA Foundation: "Ken Sopelak has shared his knowledge and skills with students and teachers alike, and has developed materials for weather activities that teach mathematics, science, and critical thinking skills."