Idea blows in storm of success

When developing the concept of actively engaging rural school students in the study of science, the Kansas Wesleyan professors first looked above ground. Kraemer explained that not only do they use seismometers to spark an interest in science, but they also use information provided by a series of weather stations.

The first station was established on the Kansas Wesleyan campus approximately three years ago. Additional stations are located at Minneapolis Elementary School, Southeast of Saline Elementary School, and at the Rolling Hills Zoo, located just northwest of Salina.

“It was important for us to place the stations where students would have access to them and the information they provide,” Kraemer explained. “The students are more interested in the data because it comes from a weather station to which they have access. The same is true with the seismic equipment. They take ownership in the data and that, in turn, creates more of an interest in studying science.”

In the spring of 2004, a group of firstgrade students from Southeast of Salina Elementary School demonstrated a variety of science concepts in Topeka at the 15th annual Technology Fair sponsored by the Mid-America Association for Computers in Education and the state Department of Education. The Southeast of Saline group was one of 12 selected from a field of approximately 70 groups vying for the honor. Additionally, the Southeast of Saline group was one of the younger groups selected, as a majority of student groups were of middle school or high school age.