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UW Partnership Provides Infrastructure for Precipitation Study at Laramie Junior High

April 3, 2017
two men standing with a rain gauge in front of a group of children
Laramie Junior High School science teacher Dan Bremer and UW Department of Atmospheric Science Professor Jefferson Snider (right) explain the new precipitation gauges to a group of sixth-grade students March 22. (UW Photo)

This spring, sixth-graders at Laramie Junior High School began taking their study of the water cycle to a whole new level, thanks to equipment and expertise provided by the University of Wyoming and generous donors.

With precipitation gauges donated by the Wyoming Water Development Commission, UW Department of Atmospheric Science Professor Jefferson Snider helped secure funding from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation’s Engineering Next Generation Program to purchase raspberry pi minicomputers, a desktop computer and other equipment to connect the gauges to one of the science classrooms at the school and to record the data.

Snider also collaborated with Laramie Junior High School science teachers Joel Kropf and Dan Bremer, and instructional facilitator Kim Burkhart to develop lesson plans around measurements and hypothesis-driven inquiry.

On March 22, Snider brought a team from the atmospheric science department to speak to the sixth-graders from Kropf’s and Bremer’s classes. The students enjoyed learning about the gauges and asking questions as they engaged in some of the lesson plans.

“I think it’s awesome that we have this equipment in the school that shows kids where actual data comes from,” Bremer says. “Kids nowadays really like their phones and playing games and using apps, but seeing where all that information comes from is really powerful. It shows how science and math are really important and how they influence their lives.”

Kropf agrees.

“We’re letting them know that this is technology that scientists and meteorologists actually use to collect real-time data,” he says.

He also sees potential for eighth-graders studying physical science to use the equipment for data collection, graphing and analysis.

Snider was inspired to help when he saw outdated equipment at the school and had an opportunity to replace it with new gear. He hopes to continue the partnership.

“We are planning to get a broader suite of weather sensors installed at the junior high. We also are planning to get the weather data displayed in real-time in the entrance,” he says.

The teachers look forward to the students taking their science studies outside the classroom and taking ownership of the data to present to others.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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