Bringing maker education and computational thinking to the classroom.
Weather Snapshot with the SparkFun micro:climate Kit
It is targeted for grade 7, but could work for grades 6 to 8.
earth & space
Using the SparkFun micro:climate Kit, students gather data about weather by using traditional weather observation tools such as an anemometer and wind vane and by using innovative technologies such as the SparkFun weather:bit, a SparkFun extension for the micro:bit, that students can easily program to collect real-time data about factors that affect weather such as temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind.
micro:bit, weather, earth science, climate, climate change, STEM, environmental science, inquiry
Before completing this assignment students should be familiar with the capabilities of micro:bit and feel comfortable creating basic programs in the MakeCode environment. Try visiting the micro:bit MakeCode page and completing a few of the tutorials ahead of time.
Introduction / Motivation:
Today, we're going to explore weather monitoring tools. How many of you have ever watched a weather report on TV or looked one up online? Where do they get this information? Meteorologists, or people who study the weather, are able to create weather reports by tracking temperature, air pressure, wind speed and wind direction throughout the troposphere, or lowest level of the atmosphere. While we don't have access to all the tools they have, we can still create a station that will tell us about the weather near us. Today, we're going to analyze the tools available to us and discuss how they are similar to ones that meteorologists may use. Then, we will install our weather station and use the data it collects to become better informed about our own weather.
Before the Activity
With the Students
Place the Weather Meter Outside
Note: This can be done before the lesson, but it is always more exciting if students are given the chance to experiment with it in the classroom before it is placed outside.
Tip: If you use the SparkFun enclosure, you’ll need to drill a hole in it to allow for airflow and exiting cables.
Note: The rain sensor measures the amount of rain that has fallen starting from when you start the program on your micro:bit. If you want to capture precipitation data while it’s raining, make sure the micro:bit and weather:bit are enclosed in a waterproof enclosure.
Tip: Not sure where to put your weather meters? The SparkFun micro:climate Kit includes hardware that makes it easy to mount the weather meters to a fence post.
Using Data From the Weather Meter
Once you've collected a day or more's worth of data from the micro:climate Kit, it is time to talk about the data in class.
Here’s where that adaptability mentioned at the beginning of this project and your expertise and classroom requirements come into play. Each educator teaches content in their own way, that’s why I’ve created an editable worksheet to accompany this project.
The questions here are meant to facilitate features of student performance for this standard such as making observations and recording data “either firsthand and/or from professional weather monitoring services.”
The worksheet is intentionally simple so that you can easily change or rearrange the elements to fit your class. If you’re an educator who uses the Google Drive suite of tools, you can open this document as a google doc here. Save it as a copy to your Google Drive to begin to make changes. If you have awesome PDF editing software, or you don’t want to make any changes and you just want to print out the worksheet, you can download the PDF version of this document here.
Tip: If you’re an educator who uses Google Docs with your students, you can delete the lines that are meant for writing on and have your students type their responses instead.
Here are some examples of how you might edit the worksheets to fit your students:
Tip: Add more lines for writing on to encourage longer student responses by right clicking (ctrl + click on mac) and selecting “add row below”.