Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012PA185B

Instrumenting Nature: Bringing real-time data into the K-12 curriculum

Institute: Pennsylvania
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2014-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $22,810 Total Non-Federal Funds: $87,532

Principal Investigators: Charles Cole

Abstract: This request seeks to continue and extend a wetland education and research project begun with the State College Area School District (SCASD) in the summer of 2011. I wish to develop weather and soil moisture data from a local, natural wetland and deliver it to the web such that K-12 students will be able to compare and contrast their schoolyard wetland sites with a local wetland. I have a pilot grant to instrument several schoolyard wetlands within the District with meteorological and soil moisture monitoring equipment. This real-time data will then be brought into the school wirelessly and uploaded to a web site where teachers and students will access it for use at various points in the curriculum. To date, a weather station and a soil moisture probe have been installed at the Park Forest Elementary School and these are now transmitting real-time weather data. I expect to complete a similar installation at the Ferguson Township School later in 2011. I also expect to instrument an additional two schools: Mount Nittany and Radio Park elementary schools. Mount Nittany is newly constructed (fall 2011) and a wetland is included in the landscape plans. Radio Park will have a new wetland constructed by the SCASD which will then be instrumented after it is finished. At the conclusion of the pilot project four local schoolyard wetlands will be instrumented with weather stations, soil moisture monitoring equipment, computers, and all four will be transmitting the data to the internet where it will be collected and displayed in a central location. This proposed WRRC project will add in local wetland data to that mix. The SCASD will then be able to use the information across the K-12 curriculum in a variety of ways, from math and science classes to writing and other activities.