By Roger McKinney
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Some Joplin teachers have another tool to educate their students about the science of weather.
Four teachers on Thursday were surprised with seven laptop computers presented to them by Brian Crouse, executive director of the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition. The donation is a partnership among the coalition, Giant Screen Films, Lenovo computer company and the National Science Foundation.
“This is pretty cool,” said Peggy Holland, a special education science teacher.
The teachers in March attended a professional development workshop provided by Karen Kosiba with the Center for Severe Weather Research. Crouse said the laptops are loaded with software used by the center and by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They also are loaded with Skype, which would allow for interactive video conferencing in the classrooms.
“It is a cutting-edge laptop,” Crouse said, noting that it can be used as a touch-screen pad computer. He said each one has a retail cost of about $800.
“It’s a really great interactive tool,” he said.
Crouse said one of the ways it can be applied in a classroom is using a projector linked with the laptop, projecting radar images and data of hurricanes approaching the U.S.
“How I will use it is to look at the chemistry of the weather,” said Belinda Vaness, high school science teacher. “I’ll use it with my students to analyze the chemistry of the atmosphere to determine how that affects the weather.”
Lisa Simmons, a middle school teaching and learning coach, said she likely would share the laptop among all the middle school science teachers.
Crouse said a goal of the donation is to get students to look at how storms form and study the dynamics and physics of storms. He said his group wants students to be engaged in science.
He said some students also might pursue weather science as a career path.
THE MISSOURI MATHEMATICS and Science Coalition is associated with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.