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School-Based Weather Monitoring Project

Weather Station: http://www.sananton.edu.mt/weatherstation

San Anton School Weather Logger: http://www.sananton.edu.mt/SAWS.htm



Aim of the Project

The Humanities Department of San Anton Senior Sector applied for National Curriculum Council Funds to set up a school-based weather station. The aim of this project is to give senior sector students hands-on experience in weather and climate-related topics, covered in Geography and Environmental Studies. Weather projects are also a selected MATSEC requirement for Geography and Environmental Studies practical reports, assigning 20% and 15% of global mark respectively.

This project will also help to enhance cross-curricular work with IT and Maths through collection, analysis and display of downloadable weather data from the station.

The specifications of the station required were the following:

1. A wireless weather station with roof top sensor assembly.

2. A station that analyses the following weather data: wind speed, wind direction, temperature (outside and inside), relative humidity, dew point, heat index, wind chill, barometer and rainfall;

3. A computer interface with a data logger that can allow the system to log up for a few months without having to download the data

4. Software to upload the logged data from the computer interface into a weather database on the PC’s disk and also to see real-time readings on website display.

Use of Station for Curricular Activity

The project is still in its early inception and therefore technical support is still being addressed to ensure total functionability of the station. Nonetheless, the teachers of the Humanities Dept have still decided to include IT-related activities based on this weather station data in their scheme of year for this academic year. Projects based on weather station can be very flexible in content and activities can be organised at all academic levels of the senior sector, ranging from basic observations and interpretation of real time data in a qualitative manner to analysis of a whole range of data over a period of time and interpreted and assessed in a mathematical form. It is also useful tool to make students aware of the close inter-relationship that exists between different subjects and that how learning in one subject can be of benefit to another.

The installation of the station has already caught the interest and curiosity of the students. Though the activities are scheduled to run in the second term, some students have already responded by checking the website and even suggesting to start issuing daily weather reports on the school radio as part of their break activities. The idea in the pipeline is to issue vacancies for radio weather forecasters and students applying for these school posts will take on the responsibility to check and report the weather on the radio during the mid-day break.

This feedback confirms also that school-based projects are not just a useful academic tool: they also help to foster a sense of ownership in the students towards their school and encourage them not only to be active learners but also active participants in the running of the school.

A special thanks goes to all those who helped setup the School Weather Station.

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