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Weather station gets Web-savvy
CARNATION Imagine spending a warm, sunny winter break
in Florida while monitoring the freezing conditions on Stillwater Hill at
the same time.
Web surfers can now access up-to-date information such as
wind speed, temperature, and - what every Northwesterner needs to know -
how many inches of rain have fallen, on Stillwater Elementary's Web site.
The project stemmed from the innovative mind of third-grade
teacher Bill Dumond, who saw not only a practical need for the weather
system, but an educational one as well.
Dumond organized the Riverview School District's first and only
amateur radio club at Stillwater several years ago. But, as students
corresponded with people from all over the world, the same question would
always come up: "What is the weather there?"
"All we could do was look out the window and say, `Well, it's foggy
today,'" Dumond said.
Last September Dumond started to brainstorm ways to integrate an
accurate weather system into the school. Once he found the perfect way, he
was faced with the challenge of funding the $1,000 weather station. With
the financial help of the radio club, PTSA and individual donors, however,
the weather site was completed and officially unveiled last month.
"It's a great focal point for the school and the [Web site] will be
a great tool for the community," said Stillwater Principal Chris Everett.
The station works by capturing data from an instrument on
the school's roof that transmits the information to a processor in the
building, which in turn feeds the data to a computer. The information is
automatically updated every five minutes, so it's best to hit the refresh button
when visiting the Web site, Dumond said.
"This is for people who like weather and want precise
information," he said. "This is a Web site
they should know about because it's probably the best weather Web
Dumond also created a "weather picture" above the school's
library, which shows a tangible version of the Internet display.
Establishing the Web site is only the first step of Dumond's plan to
integrate the new technology with classroom learning. He hopes to create
a science curriculum based on the weather station that will help
students learn to chart, graph and gather information. Also, when funds
become available, Dumond would like to install a Web-cam at the school so
that people can see for themselves if Stillwater is getting sun peeks
And, the computer program has so many more capabilities that there's
no telling how big this project can get under the direction of Dumond.
"Mr. Dumond is such a creative person and he loves to bring
new learning experiences to his students," Everett said. "And he gives so
much of his own time to fulfill that dream. He's an extraordinary teacher."
Stillwater Elementary's weather station can be found