Six enthusiastic middle school students at East Junior High in Boise, Idaho, kicked off the TAHMO School-2-School Program at the end of 2013 by forming their very own weather club. Their group, the International Climate Team – East Jr. High, will serve as the first U.S. school in TAHMO’s sister school partnership program. The TAHMO School-2-School (S2S) initiative aims to foster international school partnerships and science education, utilizing on-site automatic climate monitoring technology to collect weather data and allow schools to compare their local environments with partner schools around the world. At East Junior High, students have begun by exploring, testing, wiring, and programming tipping buckets, air temperature sensors, and solar radiation sensors.
Pam Aishlin, the TAHMO volunteer and geologist at Boise State University, is training these highly motivated junior high students to run their own weather stations and collect data, while also fundraising for equipment so their African sister school can implement parallel activities. “This setup promotes global collaboration, communication, understanding, and environmental/social connection to a critical generation at this point in human history. Furthermore, the students, many of whom would not have otherwise been exposed, will gain significant exposure to science, technology, environment, and community stewardship,” says Pam.
Students set up working sensors at their school in Boise by disassembling old donated sensors and learning about their functions and basic electronic information. After mastering the electronic functions and equations to convert voltage outputs to environmental data values, students had their datalogger up and running.
The International Climate Team – East Jr. High is currently preparing to create video tutorials to share with their Kenyan sister school online, documenting the progress they’ve made to date. During the school year, the club presents its weather data and weekly forecasts in school video announcements. The students look forward to exploring more connections between their club and activities in computer science, mathematics, geography, and communication classes. Once their sister school is up and running, students will be able to compare and discuss different weather events and activities with their peers across the world.
Lead intern Daniele Moro, 13, who loves math, science, electronics, and technology, says of the project, “So far I have had an incredible time and I feel like I am making a real impact on the world by being part of a project that will change how we get our weather internationally.” Daniele helped found the International Climate Team and especially enjoys programming data loggers. Megan, an 8th grader in the club who will take over as lead intern next year, is interested in becoming an astrophysicist. Megan likes to work on the electronic problem-solving realities of building a weather station and enjoys the opportunity to learn more about environmental sensors and how to plot and analyze weather data.
The S2S program anticipates rapid growth as the new school year begins in autumn 2014. TAHMO programs out of TU Delft will expand to include over thirty school partnerships in Ghana over the next two years, while a total of six pilot schools in Idaho will connect with sister schools in East Africa.