Author: Semih ESENDEMİR
Within the scope of the “STEM Discovery Campaign 2020” organized by Scientix in European countries, I, as a science teacher at Emine Emir Şahbaz Science and Art Center, organized an online STEM activity “Build your own weather station” with my students being 9 to 12 years old between 13 – 19 of April, 2020.
My aim in organizing this activity was to develop scientific and engineering process skills by directing them to research, questioning, and design with the online STEM event that I organized during these difficult times when I am separated from my students. To achieve this goal, I dealt with the weather events that concern us in our daily lives. I thought to develop Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills by having my students’ design tools to measure weather events like a scientist, mathematically express and predict their measurements. Based on these ideas, I decided to implement the learning scenario called “The weather in our town!”
I was in close cooperation with my students and their families in the implementation of the event. I tried to manage the process by organizing online meetings with my students and sharing the instructions of the activities. I started the activity by asking how my students would describe the weather, which features of the weather were effective. From this question, we determined the variables (temperature, wind, humidity, pressure, rain) that were necessary for examining the weather events and forecasting the weather. To observe these variables, to predict the weather, we could observe outside, go out, feel what the weather was like. So, could we just trust our observations and feelings? If we wanted to make a real and scientific forecast in the light of my students’ answers to this question, we concluded that we needed quantitative measurements and measurement tools. We talked about the concept of meteorology, which is the branch of science that examines the formation and change of weather events occurring in our atmosphere together with their causes and collects data with measurement tools and makes scientific predictions. I tried to draw attention to the subject of the weather, weather forecasting, meteorology, and measurement tools with the video named “Weather and Meteorology”. After this point, I asked my students, “Who wants to become a meteorologist?”. I said that we will build their weather station where my students can observe the weather events and make weather forecasts with simple materials in their own home.
My students, who had great curiosity and desire, designed wind vane, wind meter (anemometer), rain meter (udometer), temperature meter (thermometer), pressure meter (barometer), and humidity meter (hygrometer) in line with the instructions I prepared. They tested these tools they designed and made measurements. They discovered the working principles of these tools. They understood how meteorologists forecast. Of course, I explained that meteorologists also use the same tools we do, but their tools measure more precisely and benefit from more technological tools (radar images, air balloons, satellites, supercomputers…). Learning the working patterns and measurement tools of meteorologists enabled me to reveal career opportunities associated with our event.
I designed two educational games called “Meteorology riddle” and “Matching measurement tools“. With these games, I ensured that the concepts emphasized in the event were reinforced in a fun way. I also applied a 10-question evaluation exam using the Quizizz application to evaluate the event. I had the chance to make a process-based assessment by designing an online worksheet to evaluate the knowledge, research results, and products obtained by my students in the process.
The event enabled my students to think like a scientist who was questioning, researching, and thinking like an engineer who designed, produced. By making use of all stages of STEM education, we discovered scientific events and the importance of weather forecasting. We used mathematics in these estimates and measurements practically. We developed engineering skills with designs that enable us to recognize the technological tools used. In these times spent at home, I can say that creating so many products with fun and simple materials has increased my students’ interest in science, engineering, and technology.