Mount Madonna’s High School science classes will be piloting a series of lessons developed by Stanford Research Institute (SRI) under a grant from the National Science Foundation. Four years ago, Science Teacher Lisa Catterall asked a class to compile temperature and precipitation data to look for a quantitative answer to the supposed “global warming debate” in our local area. The data was very hard to find and even more difficult to translate. SRI noticed around the same time that weather statistics compiled by NASA and the National Weather Service were not available to students, and began researching ways to bring satellite and weather balloon data into the classroom. They developed a team at Stanford to design draft lessons and software data that could be used by students to graphically show the effects of global warming on interactive mapping software.
SRI won a grant to further the work last spring and titled the project “Studying Topography, Orographic Rainfall, and Ecosystems (STORE).” Three California schools and three New York schools were selected to help develop and test the lessons for the first year of the project; Mount Madonna was the first school on board. The HS Science lab’s laptops have been upgraded and a wireless printer installed, and more advanced projection technology, in order to accommodate the software tools and data for the project. The 10th grade class began working-on the lessons this week and testing the software this week.
“The most exciting aspect of the project for the school is the potential for innovation in teaching one of the most important science concepts of our time. To be able to combine the approaches to the subject developed at Mount Madonna with a cutting-edge technical support team and some of the most innovative educators in the country is good for our school and our students.”–LC