Cedar Wood Elementary, the latest addition to KING-TV’s SchoolNet Weather system, welcomed senior meteorologist Jeff Renner Monday, Feb. 28 with a song and skit before the students settled in to learn about weather from Renner’s experiments during an assembly.
Fourth-grader Colton Ferrari, dressed in a suit, entered the stage and introduced himself as Jeff Renner before giving the forecast of the day, much to the enjoyment of Renner, who visits 20 to 30 schools per year.
“I like coming out and talking to the kids,” Renner said.
During the assembly, students joined Renner on stage to assist during demonstrations that educated students on different types of clouds, how air pressure moves clouds and how radar works.
During one experiment, two girls joined Renner in demonstrating that a balloon can simulate a cloud and its movement from high to low pressure areas. Renner held a microphone up to the balloon as it released its high-pressure air, and the impending noise stirred giggles from students.
Renner explained to students how much he enjoyed science and how important it can be to learn about.
“I like science because it makes me think and I learn a lot of interesting things,” Renner said.
“So many different elements of life are science-based,” Renner said.
Cedar Wood’s student council members presented Renner and Ken DeMatteis, a parent who helped make the SchoolNet at Cedar Wood possible, each with a Galileo Liquid Thermometer to show the school’s appreciation.
Renner said SchoolNet started in 1993 with only 10 schools and it has since grown to around 100 schools statewide.
DeMatteis works for Subway, a sponsor of the program, and he is glad he was able to bring the equipment and learning tools to the school.
While Cedar Wood’s computerized weather station is helpful to KING-TV viewers, its information also benefits the students.
In addition to the weather equipment installed on the roof of the library, the school also received a computer software program called WeatherBug Achieve, which provides each teacher with age-appropriate lessons and ideas of ways to incorporate weather-related information into their curriculum.
Science units including weather-related material were already part of the science curriculum used by teachers, said Bob Sotak, district science specialist.
As early as first grade, students are being introduced to material that creates the foundation of future science units relating to weather, he said.
The software provides the students with applications for real-life examples, fifth-grade teacher Fran Hartman said.
“It’s a wonderful supplement,” Hartman said. “Weather is so important for many professions and interests.”
Weather can dictate travel plans and even affect the economy, so it’s important for students to have a good grasp of the science behind it, she said.