EDC and Mount Washington Observatory Awarded Federal Grant to Promote Data Science Education
project will investigate extreme conditions on Mount Washington
Waltham, MA (August 13, 2019) – Education Development
Center (EDC) in Waltham, MA, Mount Washington Observatory (MWO) in North Conway,
NH, and additional partners have been awarded $1,196,000 in a three-year
federal grant to promote data science education in rural middle schools in New
Hampshire and Maine. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the new
WeatherX project will help eighth-grade students learn scientific data analysis
and modeling skills.
“Students today need to develop strong data literacy
skills to be prepared for a big-data world,” said Gary MacDonald, current
chairman of the trustees of the nonprofit MWO and a former school
superintendent in the region. “Rural students often lag in opportunities to
participate in rich science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
learning. The WeatherX project will help rural students in New Hampshire and
Maine gain important data science skills by analyzing extreme weather events
that have had a personal impact on themselves and their communities.”
In collaboration with a small group of eighth-grade
science teachers in the Mount Washington region, the WeatherX project will design
and test eight weeks of classroom materials. The materials will teach students how
to analyze and develop scientific prediction models using meteorological data
related to an extreme weather event on the summit of Mt. Washington, often
called the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.” Students will also study and
model an extreme weather event that has occurred in their rural vicinity.
“We are excited
to be collaborating with learning scientists, science educators, and expert
technology developers from around the country,” said Josephine Louie, a senior
research scientist at EDC and the project’s principal investigator. “We look
forward to working with rural teachers, students, and community members in the
Mount Washington region to generate curriculum materials that build on local
To conduct their analyses, students will use online
data analysis and scientific modeling tools that have been developed for middle
and high school students by project partners. They will also draw on decades of
publicly available local and regional weather data collected by MWO and the
National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI).
The WeatherX project will create opportunities for
students to interact with and learn from MWO scientists, as well as explore
ways in which scientists at MWO can engage with students through live video and
other virtual channels to support data investigations and to provide deeper
views into the lives of professional scientists.
Project partners include researchers and developers at
the University of Maine, the University of Washington, and The Concord
Consortium in California.
Education Development Center (EDC) is a global
nonprofit that advances lasting solutions to improve education, promote health,
and expand economic opportunity. Since 1958, EDC has been a leader in
designing, implementing, and evaluating powerful and innovative programs in
more than 80 countries around the world.
About Mt. Washington Observatory
Mt. Washington Observatory (MWO) is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution
with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create
Earth’s weather and climate. It serves this mission by maintaining a weather
station on the summit of Mount Washington, performing weather and climate research,
conducting innovative science education programs, and interpreting the heritage
of the Mount Washington region.