A new $1.6 million National Science Foundation Grant to Mississippi State University seeks to develop teaching materials from weather data for secondary students.

The project is titled “3D Weather,” and will include professional development and instructional materials for activities directly involving and benefitting 44 secondary science teachers and approximately 2,000 middle and high school students across Mississippi. The program will include the Starkville- Oktibbeha Consolidated School District.

Faculty involved are the grant’s principal investigator, Yan Sun, an assistant professor in the department of instructional systems and workforce development, professor of geosciences Jamie Dyer, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering Jean Mohammadi-Aragh and MSU Northern Gulf Institute outreach coordinator Jonathan Harris. The project will run from January 2020 to December 2022. In addition to the four investigators, four graduate students and a postdoctoral researcher will also receive mentorship through the project.

“The project is going to use freely available weather data, and we’re going to use 3-D visualization in the classroom to help middle school students learn science topics,” Dyer said. “Everyone sees weather every day, so they have a better understanding of weather patterns and stuff, and we’re going to use that information and some previsualization techniques to help them learn general science."

Sun said the project would focus on STEM+C skills, which involve science, technology, math and computers.

“For this particular project, we actually will train secondary science teacher to use publicly-available weather data to help them learn how to use those open-source 3-D weather data analysis software to analyze the data and to model the data of weather patterns,” Sun said. “Then they can go back to their classrooms and use it to teach their kids how to get publicly-available weather data and use the open-source free software to analyze the data.”

Sun said beyond just analyzing the data, students would be using and honing computational thinking abilities.


For more on this story, read Friday's Starkville Daily News.

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