School Talks Organized by Research Meteorologists (STORM) FAQ

The visits are coordinated by Jack Creilson on the AMS staff.  You can e-mail him at [email protected] or call him at 617-227-2426 ext 3945.  There are several members of the AMS staff who are part of the STORM team, and Jack will make sure that you are contacted by one of them to set up a date and time for the visit and to discuss the content and approach that will be most useful for your class.

We can work around you and your school’s schedule.  We have found that most visits are about an hour, but we understand that class lengths can vary and that in some cases they may be 45 minutes while in others they may be as long as 90 minutes.

We have done visits for classes at almost every grade level.  Many curriculums seem to cover weather in fourth or fifth grade through middle school, so most of our experience has been in either the upper grade school or middle school levels.

We are happy to work with you on the topics most appropriate for your class.  At the lower grade levels it is often effective to talk about more extreme weather events (winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) with safety recommendations being a key component, and lots of time for questions.  At the middle school level, we might talk more about how science actually works and how scientific principles are applied to understanding and forecasting the weather and climate, including discussions on climate change issues if there’s interest.

We can discuss this when setting up the visit.  It is always good to leave some time for questions , but if a class has a lot of questions that have come up while working through a weather unit, the visit could be structured mostly around responding to them .  (In that case, getting at least some hints about the sorts of questions that will be coming up can be really helpful to us.)

It is really nice to be able to show pictures as part of the talk (and in some cases video, as well).  Ideally, you would have an LCD projector and screen in your classroom and we can bring a laptop with our presentation on it.  If you do not have access to a projector, we can bring one in addition to a laptop, but please let us know so that we can be sure to do so.  We cannot bring a screen with us.  If you would rather not have us use any high-tech equipment in your classroom for some reason, please let us know.

Nothing other than any A/V equipment that has been agreed upon and a receptive classroom of students.

Yes, this can be very effective if you have the space to bring a couple of classes together for a joint presentation.  We are happy to talk to larger groups and find that the question and discussion time can be even more energetic with a larger number of students.  For larger groups and depending on the length, we may have more than one scientist visit.

Absolutely.  We want to have our visit meet your needs to the greatest extent possible.  You can discuss the topics you would most like us to cover with the AMS staff member who will do the visit to your class.

Our visit and a visit from one of the local broadcast meteorologists are very complementary and we encourage you to schedule visits from both.  The broadcasters give terrific presentations about how forecasts are made and can answer all sorts of questions about the weather, weather safety, and how weather broadcasts are produced on TV.  We can tailor our presentation to cover other aspects of the science of meteorology and spend time on some of the fascinating areas of atmospheric science that are not as closely related to weather forecasting, such as physical meteorology (e.g., clouds, energy from the sun) and climatology (including climate change).  If you know you are going to have a broadcaster visit your class (or have already had one in), let us know and we can make sure our presentation complements theirs.

We can discuss the possibility of including some simple experiments or demonstrations, but we generally do not since that can require more time for set up and it may be difficult to ensure success without knowing the physical layout of your classroom. We may bring a few simple “props” with us to help illustrate a point, but we will not do actual demonstrations without discussing it with you first.

We can accommodate either approach, but we feel that having us visit closer to the end of any weather unit would be most effective.  As the students work through classroom activities on weather and climate, questions are sure to come up that you may want to save for our visit.  Giving us some hints about what those questions might be before we come to your class will help us be especially prepared to address them.

Absolutely.  Our goal is to expose students to science and help them see that science is all around them, especially since the science of meteorology is grounded in math, physics, and chemistry.  It may be that we can tailor our talk to show how other science you are covering in your class relates to the weather they see around them.

We are very sensitive to this issue and will work with you to ensure that our visit is one that can be enjoyed by all of your students.

No.  We do this as volunteers to share our excitement about science with young people and as a service to the Boston community that we have made our home.