In May of 2008...National Weather Service Meteorologists Stephen Keebler and Erik Heden taught a two part series on meteorology at Ogden Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina. The focus of the initiative was safety...more importantly tornado safety. During the final lesson...miniature tornadoes...were distributed to all second graders with tornado safety reminders printed on the side. These were furnished through money from the Ogden PTA. Also a big thank you to Ogden Elementary 2nd grade teachers Mrs. Hicks, Mrs. Mason, Mrs. Green, Mrs. Gould, Mr. Uckart, and Mrs. Casteen. See the breakdown of the sessions below.
Day One May 12th, 2008
The first day was dedicated to an introduction to basic components of the atmosphere. These included air masses...cold...warm and stationary fronts...along with high and low pressure systems. The concepts were reinforced by showing various weather maps and having the students identify what they learned on them. We also covered the different classifications of clouds. One of the main components of the presentations was the interactive questions...where web-based questions were used to engage and reward the students. Each student who answered a question correctly, received a National Weather Service sticker along with Owlie Skywarn, a weather coloring book from The National Weather Service.
Day Two May 13th, 2008
After a brief review...we picked up right where we left off. We began the session talking about thunderstorms. We focused on lightning and flooding safety, two of the biggest killers of thunderstorms. As a bridge to our final topic, we went over the difference between a watch and a warning. We wanted to reinforce the idea that a watch means it is possible, and a warning means it will happen. We then turned to our top goal of the two day talk, tornado safety. We went over what students should do in the event of a tornado. We covered three situations: if they are at home, if they are outside, and if they are at school. We had the students answer more interactive questions. This time the students would receive a National Weather Service sticker, coloring book, and a mini-tornado. At the end of class each student received a mini-tornado. The tornadoes had the Ogden school logo on the side along with the same tornado safety tips they just learned. The mini-tornado was used because it would be something the students would have fun with and keep around for awhile, thus lengthening the time the safety tips would be around to refer back to.