Plainville Community Schools, 47 Robert Holcomb Way, Plainville CT 06062, (860)793-3200

Middle School Students Expand Science Exploration Through Petit Family Foundation Grant

Students at the Middle School of Plainville are expanding their study and exploration of science thanks to a grant received earlier in the year from the Petit Family Foundation. According to Middle School Science Instructor David Moore, the goal of the Middle School Science Department is to get students to "think and act like scientists." As a result of the grant, students are able to participate in variety of "real world" science experiences as part of their learning.

This year, the middle school students have studied hurricanes, drought and tornados. As part of a multifaceted approach to weather exploration, students researched the role of a meteorologist, built a variety of “weather tools” including anemometers, weather vanes, barometers, and thermometers, and discussed various aspects of weather with special guest meteorologist, Art Horn. Horn's, "How the Weather Works," presentation to sixth graders highlighted topics including the earth's relationship to the sun and the making of the seasons, air density, air pressure, water vapor, convection and the formation of clouds, among many others meteorological topics.

Sixth graders also developed the MSP Weather Station, fully operated by the students. The weather station is a place where students are able to learn about weather as a class, on their own, or from a real scientist. The weather station is equipped with instruments on the school's roof that measure humidity, air pressure, light, wind chill, heat index, dew point, precipitation, wind speed, and wind direction. Students have also developed a weather website, which can be accessed through the middle school's main web page: The website allows students to communicate information that they learn about weather as well as their predictions for weather in Plainville.

"The Petit Family Foundation grant has helped us increase student interest in science and the desire to pursue a career in science by exposing students to real world scientists and performing "hands on" tasks using equipment that real scientists use," said Moore.

"We truly appreciate the support of the Petit Family Foundation, which has allowed us to bring science learning and exploration to the next level at the middle school by making more connections to the real world," commented Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kathleen Binkowski.

-Posted on May 19, 2010 at 12:01 PM

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