Category Archives: DataStreme

NCSTA Conference November 15-16th

If you are a Teacher in NC, the North Carolina Science Teachers Association is hosting their annual conference. I will be presenting this year. My topic will be our JPL Open Source Rover we built at our school. Rover Build Roverto is being retrofitted with new parts and electronics. It has become a legacy project at our school and I wanted to share this with other educators in the State.

Want to build a Rover? How do you get started? JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) shared open-source plans for a Rover built in 2018. Learn what it takes to build this Rover and to get your school community involved with this project. Our presentation will review the steps that the Cardinal Gibbons High School Robotics Team took to build JPL Rover and how the school community came together to create a legacy project. Detailed information about how to fund this project, how to find building parts, and how much time to allow for the building of the Rover will be shared. 6-12, College 

Check out the link for the schedule and information about the conference, “Want to Build a Rover

Feel Free to contact me if you have any questions. I will also be presenting at the Middle School Share-A-Thon with someone from AMS about different professional development opportunities.

AMS DataStreme Courses

American Meteorological Society DataStreme courses are great way to get some background on Atmosphere, Climate and Ocean.  It creates opportunities to be an earth science leader and local expert in your school, district, and state. Materials not only invigorate your own confidence in teaching these topics, but also align with the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas for Earth and Space Science, specifically ESS2.C, ESS2.D, ESS3.B, ESS3.C, and ESS3.D. Addresses NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns, Cause and Effect, Energy and Matter, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change. Below is information for North Carolina Teachers, however anyone can use this information to find your LIT Mentor in your area.

DATASTREME ATMOSPHERE begins its Fall Semester on Monday, August 26th 2019.

Calling all North Carolina educators, both classroom and informal! Are you interested in adding to your curriculum to meet STEM standards? The American Meteorological Society (AMS) offers an on-line course for K-12 teachers to help you brush up on your atmospheric science. The course will increase your understanding of important earth science concepts while leveraging a dedicated mentoring team of education and scientific experts throughout the semester-long graduate courses. The mentor/coaching model allows you individual feedback on challenging material and the opportunity to leverage relationships for future collaboration

By leveraging grant funding, each DataStreme course costs participants a fraction of total tuition value of over $1900 per semester (as of spring 2019).

*2019 AMS k-12 teacher membership fee only $57/year

Academic fee covers full access to Cal U course management system and support staff

AMS fee contributes to providing course content including textbooks and lab manuals, which alone are a $144 value, and partially supports staff to administer the program

Successful participants will receive three (3) hours of graduate credit in science through California University of Pennsylvania. The main cost to you (besides the academic fee) is your time – time to complete the weekly investigations. This course will require 4 to 6 hours of focused work each week depending on your science background and experience.

DATASTREME ATMOSPHERE 1) focuses on the study of the atmosphere through the use of online data and learning materials; and 2) trains you as an Atmospheric Sciences Education Resource Teacher to promote the teaching of science, mathematics, and technology using the atmosphere as a vehicle across the K-12 curriculum in your home school district. After completion of the course, you will have access to a network of education resources to help you build atmospheric science into your curriculum.

For additional information, please visit the DATASTREME ATMOSPHERE website

  • PLEASE NOTE:  If you are interested in participating in a DataStreme course during the next academic semester (currently Fall 2019) and are not already in touch with one of our Mentor Teams, please fill out this Google Form.
  • The first day of the spring semester of DATASTREME ATMOSPHERE is Monday, August 26, 2019.

For more information, please contact Diane Ripollone



Diane Ripollone

NC Mentor Team Leader

Join us for a free Webinar on El Nino and Ocean Currents

Lessons from AMS Education will be presented during the 1-hr Webinar for Teachers. Teachers will work away with a free lesson and some great resources. Learn about the American Meteorological Society’s professional development opportunities.

🚨FREE Climate PD!

🌊 El Niño & La Niño

🗺 Ocean currants

🔎 Explore Ss activities in a webinar!

📆 Saturday, May 18th ⏰ 10:00 – 11:00 EST

💻 Register:

DataStreme courses are great way to get some background on Meteorology. It’s being offered by the American Meteorological Society). It creates opportunities to be an earth science leader and local expert in your school, district, and state. Materials not only invigorate your own confidence in teaching these topics, but also align with the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas for Earth and Space Science, specifically ESS2.C, ESS2.D, ESS3.B, ESS3.C, and ESS3.D. Addresses NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns, Cause and Effect, Energy and Matter, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change.

Project Atmosphere-Severe Weather Days

The Monday back we had another guest speaker- Bill Bunting Operations Branch Chief (Chief of Forecast Operations
Branch Storm Prediction Center)of the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center. Mr. Bunting discussed his role at the Storm Predication Center and the center’s role in weather prediction. The Storm Prediction Center has about 700 people working in the center and typically four forecasters on shift all the time.  He went over the history of the weather service; it was established in 1870 by Congress with Army Signal Corps. An interesting fact, the word Tornado couldn’t be used for the first 30 years in the service. Amazing huh! After going over the history of Weather Service Mr. Bunting went over Tornadoes and the prediction center’s job. The three main challenges in Severe Weather Predication is accurate assessment of current state of the atmosphere, accurately reflecting atmospheric processes in numerical models and conveying forecast (and uncertainty) accurately. Pretty impressive challenges, but something they are trying to improve on. Mr. Bunting ended with going over different radar maps and tornado predictions. An interesting talk and great information.


After lunch Bob went over the Atmosphere and it’s basic structure. Once we finished that we had our “Best Practice” presentations. Everyone was to show one practice that worked for them in class. Some really good ideas were shared. Some were digital and others were activities used in class. For instance, one teacher shared an activity in which she had students name movies and songs with weather in their names. It was a fun activity and a great warmup to the topic. Other teachers showed off their digital resources such as Nearpod,  Plickers, and Showbie ( ipad app). This was an excellent way to collaborate and talk about what we do in class that works. I think this was one of the highlights of a workshop

Next day we continued with extreme weather, the Director of the National Hurricane Service Dr. Rick Knabb spoke to us about the Hurricane Center. He worked first for the Weather Channel and then became Director of the Center. The purpose of the center is to Advance Hurricane Forecasts, Warnings, and Resilience. His explanation and description of various components of Hurricanes and their forecasts were great. Every storm has its own characteristics and threats. But the one thing that was common in all Hurricanes was the storms surge which is deadly hazardous. “Storm surges are responsible for 49 % of deaths and rain (inland flooding) is responsible for 27% deaths. Not surprising Storm Surge doesn’t occur as frequently, flooding occurs more and is more deadly.” Amazing Statistics. He continued to talk about Hurricane Preparedness and the Hurricane Awareness Tour. The tour sounds really good for students and its suppose to be coming to Raleigh next may. Something I would love to take my students to. Part of this effort is the new hashtag they are using to promote preparedness for hurricanes


The whole effort is part of the National Weather Services Weather- Ready Nation. A great question asked by one of the participants was about “How do we change Hurricanes?” Dr. Knabb’s answer was “the reality is we can’t do it” or rather it would cost billions of dollars. Plus he believes most have too many environmental consequences or could make it worse. He believes we should improve practical reasons such as making better evacuation plans and better forecasts. Totally agree with him from what I have read about this topic. Great morning with him and tons of information. You can follow him on twitter @NHCDirector.

After lunch we had our usual weather briefing and then listened to Robert Rutledge, Head, Services Branch of the Space Weather Prediction Center. Why is space weather important? I think most who read this know why, infrastructure, grid, and satellites. Mr. Rutledge talked about how the Sun at any time could send out a Solar Flare or CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) that would affect the electric infrastructure and other items. The Space Weather Prediction Center hosts a ton of information about the various Sun events. Another website I have used in class for our Sun unit is the SOHO website.

After finishing the day we worked on our group projects that we would present the next day. The day ended on a quiet note. The next day we would start the last leg of the workshop.



Project Atmosphere Continues

One really important note I forgot to add to my last post was on the 3rd day Wednesday we meet the director of the National Weather Service Dr. Louis W. Uccellini. Definitely an opportunity I really enjoyed. He gave a great talk on the future of the Weather Service. He emphasized how important it was to get the weather information out to the community and how water forecasts were becoming an important part of the weather service job. After his talk we got to take our picture with him. I did get a picture with him. Highlight of my day.

By the 4th day we had done a number of module lessons and were heading into some heavy-duty weather concepts. Chad Kauffman was leading the way on this day. He went over how to read a 500 mb pressure map and he gave out some awesome resources. One of them was the National Weather Service Enhanced Display, a great tool to see weather plotted on a map in real-time. His other resource included MetED COMET program. Here you can find some really great online courses that can help you understand weather. Chad went over the CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) that can be seen on a stuve graph. We also went over radiosondes data. After Chad finished his talk we had another briefing with Jerry Griffin about the current weather. We did another module that went over radiosondes data and stuve graphs.  Bob then talked about our upcoming trip to the Topeka Weather Center. There we watched them launch a weather balloon to get some radiosondes data. When we arrived various people helped us understand the warning system and how it worked. This center pushed forecast warnings out for the Topeka, Kansas area. It was quite interesting to see how the warnings were created. We then were introduced to the people working in the office. Our visit ended with the balloon launch.

signweb    topekaweb

balloonweb      balloonweb2

Day 5 of the workshop we reviewed the radiosondes data that we obtained from the weather balloon launch. After going over that Chad introduced us to Severe Weather. The best site for information about Severe Weather is the Storm Prediction Center through NOAA. From there you can access the Violent Tornado Webpage, this I think would be a great page to have students use for a project on tornadoes. I’m beginning to have some ideas for this project at the end of the weather unit.

After lunch we had our weather briefing and then had another guest speaker.  Andy Bailey- Warning Coordination Meteorologist spoke on the Doppler Radar. His presentation was great. His topics included – Basic Radar Imagery, Interpretation Basics, Radar Limitations, Radar Display Systems, Storm “Signatures” and New Technologies. One of the most interesting things I thought was that radar’s lowest scan is ½ degree above horizon, reason is they don’t want the microwaves scanning through people etc. Never knew that. You can really read about radar at the NOAA site and accuweather. After explaining radar Mr. Bailey then showed us different storm systems and explained their radar map. It was a great discussion on radar, I learned more radar in this one session then ever before. He also recommended some apps to try radarscope , there are other apps out there too. One thing he did talk about was jobs. His recommendation to anyone who wants a job in the Weather Service, is to go through the military. They give preference to veterans who are qualified. Pretty cool!

The last thing to happen that day was we listened to presentations from two of the participants. One was on the weather at Mogollon Rim in Arizona and the other was on the education system in Canada. Both really interesting. Amazing the knowledge and experience different teachers will bring to workshop.

The weekend was ours, meaning we were off. So a lot of exploring is going to take place. We still have a ton of things to do the next week.



Project Atmosphere Begins A Summer PD

So my summer began on quiet note this year. I didn’t have any PD’s (Professional Development) at the beginning. Something of an oddity for me. But then I applied to the Project Atmosphere experience.  Supported by NOAA and NSF, the American Meteorological Society hosted a 12 day workshop that was all about weather. Something I teach in class and felt I needed a better background in. I took the DataExtreme Weather course through AMS. The course was very informative and gave me a good background in meteorology. So I took a chance and applied to the summer experience. Well that’s where I am now. I did get accepted.

The next few entries will be about the experience and some of the resources I’m obtaining from the course. One thing to remember about this experience it is for 12 days and that means almost two weeks away from home. It also is at the end of July, for me that is near the end of my summer vacation something I had to get use to and plan around. But well worth it!

The experience started on July 17th, Sunday. We all had to arrive in Kansas City Missouri before 4pm. The hotel was pretty decent and the first night was a get to know you night. There are 24 participants in the workshop. Everyone comes from various grade levels and across the country. The next day really started the experience. We would be meeting every day at the Kansas City National Weather Service Training Center. The day would start at 8 am and end at 4:30 pm. Our first day was filled with guest speakers and welcomes.  Our four leaders during the workshop were Jim Brey, Bob Weinbeck, Chad Kauffman and Abby Stimach all a part of AMS. We were welcomed by John Ogren who is the director of the center. Then Mr. Brey would introduced us to the AMS education and what the future would look like with the program. Part of our day throughout the workshop would be our daily briefing on weather by Jerry Griffin. Using various maps from the NWS, Mr. Griffin discussed how to read a water vapor map, surface weather stations and convective maps. Most of these can be found at the National Weather Service Website.


During the day they introduced us to Modules that the AMS developed for teachers. Some of these lessons and resources they presented you can get from the AMS website. The first module was about Highs/Lows. The lab used the hand model to help students understand the flow of air in pressure systems.  There are videos on YouTube that show you how to use the model. Once we finished our module we took a tour of ASOS (Automated Surface Observing Site). This ended our first day. Already racking up a ton of information and resources for the future.

“Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) units are automated sensor suites that are designed to serve meteorological and aviation observing needs. There are currently more than 900 ASOS sites in the United States. These systems generally report at hourly intervals, but also report special observations if weather conditions change rapidly and cross aviation operation thresholds.” (, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information)


ASOS equipment


ASOS training site


ASOS Map of all sites


Satellite Imagery

The second day included a talk by Chad Kauffman, a professor at California University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kauffman presented a ton of information on Skywarn and Pennsylvania State University e-Wall The Electronic Map Wall. Two great resources for teachers to use, but a warning, the second resource can be difficult to understand. It does have a great map resources. He did a great job explaining basic weather concepts. If you want to follow him on twitter here is his handle @TripleVortex. After his talk Adam Stout came in talked about Satellite imagery and took us on a tour through the Satellite office. The one exciting point he made in his presentation was about GOES-R Satellite. A game changer for climate and weather.

The third day included a full day of guest speakers on various topics. The day started with research on Climate, Weather, and Laura Ingalls Wilder: Connecting Science to Narrative by Barb Mayes Boustead, Ph.D. A very different view of Laura Ingalls novels and the weather she wrote about in her novels, Dr. Boustead focused on the “The Long Winter” Wilder Book- 1880-1881, you can follow on twitter by the way @windbarb. Dr. Boustead talked about various parts of Ingalls novels that mentioned different weather events and using various research to collaborate the events.  Her discussion included the El Nino, La Nino and their effects on various parts of the United States. During the discussion she mentioned an event that took place 1888, called the Children’s Blizzard. A tragic event that caused many deaths among immigrant children during an unexpected blizzard. I would never had thought of associating Laura Ingalls novels with weather, but it works and Dr. Boustead did a great job explaining this whole topic.

After Dr. Boustead, we had our weather briefing by Jerry Griffin again. Of course nothing changed because of the High that was sitting over the center of the country. The day ended with a lesson on the electromagnetic spectrum. By the end of the day I had more information then I knew what to do with. And as for the other participants, there are a great bunch of educators here and they have some really good ideas. So far the workshop has not disappointed me.


American Meteorological DataStreme Course

Its been a while since I last posted and I need to apologize for that. I’ve been trying to keep up the blog by posting various small articles. Hopefully some of these have been helpful to my readers.  Why I’ve been a bit behind is because school has been very busy and I took a course this semester. I decided last spring I would take the DataStreme course from AMS.

The course is offered by the AMS (American Meteorological Society),  and given in both the fall and spring. I decided to take the fall since I teach a meteorological unit in the spring. There are two other course offered, one on oceans and the other on climate. The DataStreme covers all meteorological topics. Something I believed I needed a better background in so I could teach it next spring.

The course, DataStreme Atmosphere – focuses on the study of the atmospheric environment; DataStreme Ocean – explores the ocean in the Earth system;  and  DataStreme Earth’s Climate System (ECS) –  incorporates inquiry-based instructional strategies and a holistic concept of Earth from oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial climate and problem-focused perspectives.


It was a pretty intense course but well worth the effort and time I put into it. I feel very confident now teaching some of the topics of our meteorological unit.  As I said before I decided to take the course because I teach a 4 – 5 week unit on meteorology in the spring. The resources alone were a great help. Many of the maps and data we used can be found on the National Weather Service and NOAA websites. We used the AMS textbook “Weather Studies”. The newer edition is digital but you can still get an older edition at Amazon.  This was a great resource! I would recommend it to anyone who needs a resource for this topic. It does go into some weather concepts in depth. And this might be a bit too in depth, but it gives you a good foundation for the topics. Definitely a great tool for teaching.

Part of the course was the ability to visit different organizations and their offices. We had to meet 3 times in person. It was worth the effort and travel. Our first meeting was at  WRAL and we meet with Mike Moss. We went through the studio and Mr. Moss talked to us about his daily requirements when working a shift at the Weather Desk. He was very informative and great to talk to. Our next meeting was at the beach, Moorehead City/Newport NWS Forecast office. Here we spoke with NWS meteorologists and helped launch a weather balloon. Another great time and very informative.

WRAL        NWS

Our last meeting was held at the NC State Climate Office. Our guest speaker talked about the weather network the office had set up throughout NC.  Part of the which can be accessed at this link . Our conversation included the importance of these stations and Farmers.  Working on minimum  funds they were doing a pretty good job. One thing about all our visits, the people who spoke offered to come to our schools to speak with our students. Something that can be very helpful when teaching the topic.

Overall the experience in this class was good. One thing I would remind people is that it does take a lot of independent work on your part when completing the course material. I’m actually thinking about joining the oceans courses next semester. We’ll see. Check out the course webpage for more information if you are interested.