high school, Weather camp

The Fifth Day of Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp 2017

By Tyreek F. (7/21/17)

As my mother and I were leaving the lobby of our hotel, early this Friday morning, I heard thunder rumbling near us. I looked straight ahead at a large cumulonimbus cloud and assumed that it must have been the source of this thunder. Then I heard, just over my left shoulder, more loud thunder. I turned to my left and saw an even larger cloud with a very long shelf cloud stretching across the sky. At that point, I knew that this day was going to be another day filled with interesting weather, as everyday this week has been in Naples, Florida.

When I arrived in the hallway that leads to our classroom, I noticed five chairs sitting next to the window. The first thought that popped in my head was “cloud watching”, and I smiled. Shortly after arriving, we were brought to the window to watch the storm that I had witnessed earlier. This time we were able to also see some of what we had learned in action, and also learn about a new type of cloud (fracto-stratus) that sometimes forms under a rain curtain. This paved the way for our next activity of the day: looking at the properties of raindrops.

In this activity, we all were given a sheet of wax paper that was then sprayed with water from a spray bottle. All of the raindrops stayed in the shape of a hemisphere on the paper. We were then given pipettes and told to play with the water and see what things we noticed. After playing with the water for a few minutes, I started having more fun than most would have expected you could have with a few drops of water and wax paper. We later learned that water droplets like to stick together, they like to reflect and refract light, and when charged, they like to attract to each other depending on the charges of the droplets. This charged nature helps to cause lightning. This discussion perfectly transitioned into our next topic: how hail and rain form in the clouds.

Rain and hail formation was demonstrated to us by using a hair dryer (the “wind machine”) and a few ping-pong balls that represented raindrops. The “wind machine” was pointed upwards with air blowing out of it while a “raindrop” (ping pong ball) was placed on top; the ball floated in the air. This represents how updrafts keep raindrops suspended in the clouds. Hail forms when the raindrops go higher into the clouds where it is much colder and the raindrops freeze. These frozen drops then combine with super-cooled water to form larger hailstones until they are too heavy to be held by the updraft and fall down as hail. I found this to be very informative. I always knew about how the updraft keeps the hail in the air, but I was never quite sure how raindrops turned into hail and exactly what was being added to the hailstones to make them bigger.

After our lunch break, we were shown a presentation on climate change. This presentation showed us how carbon increases in the atmosphere almost directly correlates with increases in temperature and population. We were also taught what caused the hole in the ozone layer to form, and how people are trying to stop it from getting bigger. Of all the things we learned from the presentation, I think the most important thing I took away from it is not to believe what everyone says about climate change. People have made big claims about what will happen in the future due to climate change, but a lot of them have not happened. Although climate change is real, we cannot say that humans are the only reason for it. Humans only have data recorded from a couple hundred years of history. In comparison to all of geological time, that is a very, very small amount of time. So our averages are not representative of what Earth’s overall average temperatures are. I found this perspective on climate change very intriguing and convincing, and it made me change my own views on it.

Toward the end of the day, we did a few more things before wrapping up the five-day weather camp: tracking hurricanes, educating our families, instructors, and peers about our local weather and climate, and receiving gifts in celebration of completing the weather camp. Tracking the hurricanes gave me an insight into what it may have been like for the people who actually had to forecast Hurricane Elena. It was frustrating for me (but fun) to see how it kept zig-zagging around. I can only imagine what it would have been like in real life. After the hurricane tracking, all of our parents had arrived, and were sitting behind us eagerly waiting to hear our presentations about weather details in our localities. The presentations really showed how the climate and weather differ from cities that are in close proximity, like Tampa and Naples, or from a city in the Chicago Metro Area compared to Chicago itself. This was the last activity of our weather camp experience, and we received a certificate of completion, a weather radio, solar eclipse glasses, a hurricane tracking table mat, a bookmark, a weather magazine, and a business card for the Extreme Weather Experience: an immersive weather experience at a weather-themed amusement park. Universal Studios previously had the “Twister” attraction which was based off the movie. It had you standing in a scene from the movie. Then it would begin to rain, a fire would start, the wind would speed up and a tornado would begin to appear in the dark area. I thoroughly enjoyed this attraction, but sadly, it was shut down and replaced with the Jimmy Fallon Ride. This idea for an amusement park with a fully immersive weather experience would be even better than the “Twister” ride at Universal Studios, and I will be very excited to hear how it fares.

Overall, I found the weather camp to be a great experience. In the short amount of time we had (5 days), we learned a lot of new and helpful information. Last year I took an Earth Science class that covered different things that happen in our climate and then we discussed various occurrences with weather, but we never were told why these things happen. With this camp I got to better understand some of the things covered in that class, and I learned new things that I had never heard of before. I am glad I attended this camp. The more I learn about weather, the more I know this is the field I want to pursue, and the more I know that this will be my future.

© H. Michael Mogil and Matt Bolton, 2017

NOTE: As part of the camp experience, student summaries were critiqued by camp leaders and fellow campers. Then, edits and comments were shared in a group setting. This is part of the communication skill-building goals of the camp.

high school, Weather camp

The Fourth Day of Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp 2017

By Rachel E. (7/20/17)

We started camp today with an impromptu cloud watching time, to look at a potential developing wall cloud. Then, Mr. Spock (Mr. Mogil in disguise) visited us and gave us a survival test from NASA. The stated goal was to see if we could survive on Earth’s moon after our spacecraft crash-landed about 200 miles from the moon base; the hidden goal was to foster our critical-thinking skills. We had to rank-order a list of fifteen items by their perceived value of importance to our survival. We did this individually, in two teams, and as an overall camp group. This was ultimately a team-building exercise designed to test our cooperation skills, in compromising to choose those items which best contributed to our teams’ survival. One team had a group score that was comparable to the individual member scores; the other showed a dramatic team improvement.

When we were finished with the activity, we had a Skype call with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tampa, and were given a tour of the facility. Brian LaMarre (the meteorologist-in-charge) showed us where the weather balloons are prepared for launch; we learned about radiosondes (the meteorological recording equipment launched with the balloons, and learned that each of the 122 NWS offices across the country typically launches two balloons per day). We were also shown the Doppler radar, and were able to see a thunderstorm behind it, which was cool.

Then we had a guest speaker, Susan Castle, who takes picture of the clouds in Old Naples. She even published a book about clouds, and all of the pictures were taken with her iPhone camera. The book is called Clouds of Old Naples. We learned all week about the science behind weather, and she gave us a nice change of pace. We just had to appreciate the beauty of looking up.

Then we had another Skype call, with Erik Salna from Wall of Wind (WoW) in Miami, which is a facility that can replicate the wind speeds of a category five hurricane (over 157 mph). WoW tests the construction quality of buildings, shingles, and other construction attributes to determine how well they withstand not only hurricanes, but also other weather conditions. They have assisted in the testing of structures for Disney World’s Avatar-themed land Pandora. See the list at end of this summary for key WoW web links.

Then, an iguana paid an unexpected visit. Although it remained on the outside of the window, it certainly captured everyone’s interest, at least for a few moments. Then we had a nice presentation by Matt, about poor color choices in weather displays. It gave me a new perspective on how people with red-green color blindness may find it difficult to interpret different kinds of weather maps. Through their eyes, the different colors may look too similar to distinguish individually.

We finished the day by discussing waves and their sinusoidal representation. We saw how waves could add and subtract (reinforce and interfere, respectively) using graphical examples. Then, Mr. Mogil showed us how to understand basic trigonometric functions and the “Circle of Doom,” using an isosceles right triangle (half of a square) and a 30-60-90 degree triangle (half of an equilateral triangle) to complete all the key angular values.

The day involved a lot of presentations and talking, not my favorite way to learn.

© H. Michael Mogil and Matt Bolton, 2017

WOW Information Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK_WfgrbKGs&feature=youtu.be

WOW Video and Story:

http://news.fiu.edu/2016/12/fiu-featured-by-un-office-for-disaster-risk-reduction/107092

WOW Media Video Stories Archive (to pick any other video stories)

http://www.ihrc.fiu.edu/media/latest-media-coverage/

WOW Website:

https://fiu.designsafe-ci.org/

NOTE: As part of the camp experience, student summaries were critiqued by camp leaders and fellow campers. Then, edits and comments were shared in a group setting. This is part of the communication skill-building goals of the camp.

high school, Weather camp

The Third Day of Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp 2017

By Aaron S. (7/19/17)

It’s my time to write the daily summary about  the 2017 Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp. We did many exciting things, such as a video chat with Orlando’s News 13 meteorologist Maureen McCann. We discussed her weather career and career choices for students who may choose to major in meteorology (like myself). We also talked briefly with her co-workers. They emphasized that math and physics play a big part in meteorology. Mr. Mogil added that much of the math in meteorology involves figuring out the physics of weather work in the natural world.

Another fun thing we did was measure dew point, the “old-fashioned” way. We conducted an experiment to measure dew point temperatures using water, a metal can, ice cubes, and thermometer. We first filled the can with water and put it outside so that the water would settle at an ambient air temperature. We were then able to measure the dew point by adding in and observing the melting of one ice cube at a time, and, then, taking regular measurements of the water temperature as we also observed the outside of the can for condensation. We eventually reached the dew point – the temperature at which condensation formed on the outside of the metal can. The one thing I can say, having conducted that experiment, is that it’s very humid in Florida. I measured a dew point of 22.5 degrees Celsius, or 72.5 degrees Fahrenheit. I also learned that fog forms at high humidity readings. One important thing we learned, which made me re-think meteorology, is how writing and speech are life-long skills that even scientists like meteorologists need to use. Writing is used in meteorology when forecasters put out a text forecast for you to see how your day will play out.

However, meteorologists sometimes make mistakes in their written communication of weather forecasts. For example, words may be misspelled, or unnecessary information may be added to forecast outlooks. Verbal communication is another big part of meteorology.  It is used in the dissemination of weather information and also at professional conferences like AMS (American Meteorological Society). Mr. Mogil’s intern, Matt Bolton, spoke to us about some of his personal experiences attending conferences, and did a fantastic job explaining writing and speech while tying in his personal experiences. The next activity we did was an analysis of real-data weather maps. We were split up into groups and each assigned a different data variable to analyze.

I worked on surface pressure while others worked on dew point or surface temperature in the Midwest. Our overall result was a storm system bringing severe weather in parts of Minnesota. Personally, I found it difficult at first; but, as time went on, drawing my pressure contours became progressively easier and allowed me to experience something many meteorologists do on a daily basis. This lead to discussion of meso-cyclone thunderstorms and how complicated they are compared to typical thunderstorms. They usually form along frontal systems, which can bring significant differences in all sorts of different weather characteristics, which in turn cause severe weather. This is fascinating to me because locally in Florida, it’s not common for storms like meso-cyclones to form within typical Florida thunderstorms.

Overall, considering all the things I’ve learned at this camp so far, I think becoming a meteorologist is in my future. Both instructors show a great amount of passion for weather and for teaching weather to students. I enjoyed talking to my peers about our passion for weather. Listening to others, like Maureen McCann, about becoming a meteorologist and potential career options in the meteorology field.  I also enjoyed learning about the Collier County Emergency Operations Center and how they help people when a disaster strikes the area. I am excited to see what the rest of the week brings!

© H. Michael Mogil and Matt Bolton, 2017

NOTE: As part of the camp experience, student summaries were critiqued by camp leaders and fellow campers. Then, edits and comments were shared in a group setting. This is part of the communication skill-building goals of the camp.

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The Second Day of Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp

Garrett Harvey (7/18/17)

Waking up at 7:30 AM is not an enjoyable task for me, especially during the summer months when I like to sleep in until about 9:30AM. It brings to mind the unpleasant realization that school, and an even earlier wake-up time, is fast approaching. That I wake so early to attend weather camp, however, makes it bearable.

Day one of weather camp 2017 started very well for me, considering I was busy the day everyone was supposed to meet at Lowdermilk Beach. Day one was a nice refresher about some of the concepts I learned at last year’s middle school camp.

I knew, coming in, that this camp experience would be more intense and thorough in its overview of meteorological concepts, but I recognize that this higher-level knowledge will prepare me well for potential college meteorology courses. I also am realizing that I need more than just weather-related knowledge to succeed in earning a meteorology degree.

Touring the Collier County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) today gave me a broad understanding of how things work for the county-level officials across the country who coordinate many different emergency scenarios (involving local sporting events to county- and state- wide weather disasters). With over 60 individual personnel stations in the operations room at Collier’s EOC, officials and various emergency support staff can work together to help the citizens of Collier County. Listening to Richard Zyvoloski’s presentation about the EOC’s operations, I looked over at the wall and noticed artwork representing the Lee Williams’ and 30th Ave. Fires; looking closer, I saw that Hurricanes Matthew and Wilma, and Tropical Storm Fay were also represented. In all, there were some 20 significant events, in recent years, for which the EOC had been activated.

Returning to camp after our tour, we learned about trade winds and other global wind patterns, and my knowledge of station model plots was refreshed. I remember we learned trade winds last year, but I understood Mike Mogil’s explanation much better this time. The demonstration of global winds using a Pyrex pie plate, milk, and food coloring helped me better visualize the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere.

I also feel much more confident in my knowledge of isobars and isotherms (lines of equal atmospheric pressure and temperature, compared to last year; I recall how much I asked for clarification of atmospheric pressure concepts, and also how frequently I asked for help in my isotherm analyses. This year, I did extraordinarily well, and, in contrast, asked for help only a few times. When finished, I watched on radar as a series of outflow boundaries collided near Miami; one collision between west- and east- moving boundaries caused a fascinating interaction in which the eastward-moving boundary was partially absorbed and, in effect, deflected back west toward the Everglades.

Before closing camp for the day, Mike taught us about stationary fronts, which, again, I learned last year at the middle school camp. However, I did learn some new things today, regarding the wave cyclone model and ways in which areas of either high or low atmospheric pressure work to encourage or inhibit thunderstorm development. In addition to these concepts, I also learned that discrete supercell thunderstorms, which form along cold fronts (e.g., those in the Plains states), are essentially miniature, relatively self-contained, dual high- and low- pressure systems.

Considering all that I’ve learned so far this week, and knowing that I will probably learn much more before the week is over, this high school weather camp has me wishing I could skip the rest of high school and go straight into a college meteorology program!

© H. Michael Mogil and Matt Bolton, 2017

NOTE: As part of the camp experience, student summaries were critiqued by camp leaders and fellow campers. Then, edits and comments were shared in a group setting. This is part of the communication skill-building goals of the camp.

high school, Weather camp

The First Day of Southwest Florida High School Weather Camp 2017

By Kevin V. (7/17/17)

It would seem my lucky number seven (as a group, campers picked numbers to see who would write the first day’s summary) has bestowed upon me the good fortune of being the first to write a summary of our daily weather camp activities.

Yet, to say it was our first day ‘in’ weather camp would be incorrect. I would be negligent if I were to fail to acknowledge the fabulous prelude we had to weather camp on Sunday evening at Lowdermilk Beach.

Turbulent skies, the beauty of the sunset, and a series of double rainbows made for fascinating photography and drone footage opportunities. Yes, I am the owner of drone and used it to advantage that evening. Not only the campers, but their parents, were mesmerized by the sky show that unfolded overhead.

I think it’s safe to say, we all got a feel for our outgoing and knowledgeable leader, Mr. H. Michael Mogil, and his second in command, Matt Bolton, that evening.

​Now, moving onto the first real day of camp. I must admit, I was quite unsure as to what to expect, aside from what I saw on the website.

I based my hopes and ideas of how camp might go on the previous camps I’ve attended. These included YMCA and “dude ranch” camps, which were composed of many, if not entirely, hands-on activities. Thus, that’s what I expected for the most part…going out in the field collecting data and so forth.

To reinforce the topics raised in discussion, we conducted various hands-on experiments, including one which allowed us to visualize the convective processes that occur in the formation and life cycle of thunderstorms: the experiment, which utilized a hot plate, Pyrex bread pan, water, and milk, gave us the ability to more readily conceptualize cloud formation and the rising and sinking of air currents in the atmosphere.

We also addressed the daily solar cycle and thunderstorm training. For the former, we traced our shadows on the parking lot asphalt (using sidewalk chalk) around 9:20 a.m. Unfortunately, a rain shower washed our tracings away. But, Aaron (one my fellow campers) recognized that we had started to trace a human sundial. For the latter, we took turns being rain showers and dropping precipitation onto an array of collector cups (i.e., rain gauges). We tried to have each camper’s precipitation pass over the same area. As a result, we had more than one inch of rain next to almost nothing.

Experiments like these helped me to better understand the topic of discussion (always a satisfying feeling). With that being said, day one flowed very nicely, and I look forward to seeing what else I can learn and complete in the coming days.

Given the varied mix of hands-on activities and lecture material, day one of weather camp was unlike my previous camp experiences. It was, more-or-less, a happy medium of experiences: interesting, hands-on activities, and information-filled discussion about many things. Any and all questions were answered and then turned into key points in a topic of discussion by the well-spoken Mr. Mogil.

For instance, suppose a question was asked about what type of cloud was outside the window. We would find out what type it was. Then, we would discuss why it was to our east, what made it a cumulonimbus, what the presence of a cumulonimbus meant, etc. This, in turn, would spark more questions.

​Discussions were my favorite part of day one and, arguably, the most productive. All of my, and others’, questions were answered. I learned a surprising amount of information in just a few hours – for me, most notable new information was how to read radar-based radial velocity products and the processes that surround thunderstorm development across the Florida peninsula.

Prior to today, I considered myself as one of the more non-verbal, non-participatory students in my high school. I sometimes raise my hand to answer questions, but I rarely ask questions, and, even more infrequently, contribute to the conversation. A move toward combatting that tendency was a milestone I achieved on the first day of this weather camp! The potential to realize my ability for public speaking and interaction is just now being tapped into and I look forward to more! It is out of my comfort zone, and I am nervous. However, I feel confident and safe in this environment, and am eager to explore it further.

NOTE: As part of the camp experience, student summaries were critiqued by camp leaders and fellow campers. Then, edits and comments were shared in a group setting. This is part of the communication skill-building goals of the camp.

© H. Michael Mogil and Matt Bolton

 

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Southwest Florida Weather Camp – 2016 – Day 5 Reflective Journal Entries

Garrett H. – “This is [being written] before 12pm, after we flew the balloons. My balloon was better than what I thought [it would be]. But other people’s balloons flew more than a football field. Unfortunately, the bad thing was the wind [started] blowing more then 10 mph which made it so we couldn’t fly the balloons. And the last good thing was that I got to experience making and flying a hot air balloon.”

Jake N. – “The hot air balloons were awesome, because mine was a record, [with a flight that seemed to last] for 5 minutes! Our camp had some of the best launches [that Mr. Mogil has seen while doing the camps]. The building process wasn’t too bad actually. Gluing was the hardest part. Launching was great. The balloon heats, expands, and we push it in the air. They can really go far! The balloons were epic!”

Jolette G. – “I thought this morning when I woke up that it was going to rain [today, during the balloon launch], so I started to get scared. But when I got to camp I said “oh its not raining; I’m fine,” When we got to the fair grounds, Garrett went first, Tom went second, I went third, Jake went last. When I went, my balloon went a little far, [then] after one more time my balloon went so far I couldn’t catch up to it, then I caught it [and] I was HAPPY! My dad was proud of me. I was a little upset because none of Tom, Jake, or Garrett’s launches went as far as mine.”

Tom M. – “We started with our balloon launch, which was so cool. I got to be in a giant van [on the way to the fairgrounds]. I did not get good lift for my first [balloon launch] try and then there were holes in my balloon. [When I patched it,] it took a long time to dry. Finally I say [to myself,] “failure is not a option,” and it goes very far, as far as the road. It got hot and my legs hurt but it was so fun! The wind came out of the east. When it got too windy, we stopped; but all the balloons went very far. Everyone’s parents were there. My balloon launch was very fun and enjoyable. Thank you Mr. Mogil and Matt!”

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Southwest Florida Weather Camp – 2016 – Day 4 Reflective Journal Entries

Garrett H. – “Today was a better day as I wasn’t as stressed as [I was] yesterday. Learning about how rainbows are made gave me a better understanding. Listening to Matt’s presentation on hurricanes made me like them very much, [especially] since we learned that storms have A.C.E. [Accumulated Cyclone Energy]. Lunch was 70 ACE, as Tish’s smores were delicious, but extremely messy. Making a balloon is stressful and I still don’t like it. Seeing dry ice become snow felt cool. Now I’m on my final adventure tomorrow.”

Tom M. – “Today was fun and not fun. We started out [with an activity] where we had rain-drops on a sheet of paper, where you can make the rain droplets combine and make them bigger. Small droplets make a rainbow and Hawaii is called the rainbow state. Then we finished our balloons but not fully. We went outside to see how much water you would get for putting a plastic bag on a plant/tree [learning about evapotranspiration]. We came in and had s’mores. They were gooey and delicious. We came back to the classroom, where we saw a tornado of [pith] balls and [convection in] a lava lamp. We finished our balloons and [they] are ready for launch tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll have good/great weather.”

Jake N. – “Today was epic because we finished the balloons! We also made rain droplets attract [each other more, to form] big droplets. We had s’mores!!! Also, we learned what a greenhouse gas is. Water vapor is the most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Most important, there was record snowfall [after we used dry ice to demonstrate the phase change processes of sublimation and deposition]! This was my epic fourth day at weather camp.”

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Southwest Florida Middle School Weather Camp – 2016 – Day 3 Reflective Journal Entries

Jake N. – “Today at weather camp was cool because we made progress on the weather hot air balloons. We got our panels glued together. It’s starting to look like a balloon. We also learned about rain shadows [which occur around mountains when they block the formation or passage of rain showers]. We also made hurricanes and tornadoes with water, a spoon, food coloring, and a clear tub of water. This was my very cool third day at weather camp.”

Garrett H. – “Today was a little bit more stressful as we were finishing up our balloons. I was stressed with the severe weather going on, [not knowing] if I my [weather] radio [at home] went off while I was at camp. Back to the balloon, we finished almost all of it and relieved [the related] stress. Learning about rain changing to snow in higher elevations made me much more aware and well learned. Finding out Mr. Mogil worked for the “SPC” [Storm Prediction Center, back when it was in Missouri] made me extremely excited for my future in meteorology.”

Jolette G. – “There was a thunderstorm [today] and the lightning made a fire. So today we learned about fire and lightning in the morning. After that we all went outside and measured the wind speed and how hot it was outside. When we came inside it was lunch time, For lunch we ate chicken nuggets. After lunch we went back to the classroom, and we made tornadoes inside of hurricanes. After that we went to make our balloons. Then we went back to the room and we made up a story. Then we ended the day and went home.”

Tom M. – “We started out with our balloons, then went outside to look at the fire [in thre distance to our north]. Then we went to measure heat [the outside temperature]. It was 89 degrees outside but it felt like 108. We measured [different] surfaces and Mr. Mogil’s blue car was a crazy 172!! We came inside to do an experiment with hurricanes and two tornadoes. Then we had lunch which was chicken nuggets and hash browns. Then, we attached our second to last part of our balloons. We made up a story not knowing we did. Then Mr. Mogil told us about [the time] he was on his second day [working the forecast desk at the Storm Prediction Center]. A tornado watch was in the wrong place [over Texas] so [after he analyzed data], he issued a watch over the whole state of Kansas. A police officer got hit twice, by two different tornadoes.”

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Southwest Florida Middle School Weather Camp – 2016 – Day 2 Reflective Journal Entries

Jake N. – “Today, weather camp was great because we learned about thunderstorms and how they are made. [In an experiment where we created thunderstorms and demonstrated convective heat transfer processes] we used buttermilk, water, food coloring, a loaf pan to hold the water and buttermilk, and [sterno as] fuel. We also made weather systems with milk, food coloring, and some [dishwashing] soap! It was so cool when the food coloring got a drop of soap because it spread out as soon as the soap hit it. I also won a game of “left, right, and center!” I must’ve won 15 lifesavers! This was my awesome second day at weather camp.”

Garrett H. – “Today many things were learned with mixed emotions, like crafting a hot air balloon. I really don’t enjoy that at all and I really don’t like crafting at all. What I did like was [learning] how severe thunderstorms develop and how long a thunderstorm lasts. What I most enjoyed was talking to Greg [Blumberg] at the University of Oklahoma. He influenced me even more in meteorology, and [having such experiences] helps me socialize even more. Hopefully by the time this is over I will be able to understand more meteorology.”

Tom M. – “We started out today studying thunderstorms. We learned about down bursts which was boring because I knew that already. Then we did a really cool and fun experiment where we used buttermilk in water to represent how clouds rise. We added blue food coloring, which made it cool, and we heated it up so the clouds would rise. We learned that if you leave steak in the freezer for six months ice crystals fall on it and it becomes bad [because of the phase change processes related to sublimation and deposition – which are when gas goes directly to a solid, and from solid to gas, respectively]. Then we used whole milk and food coloring to show the Coriolis Effect and he showed us that with one drop of soap the whole bowl clears everything. We had lunch, which was ok. We played [a game called] “Left, Right, Center,” and continued our balloons. We met one of Mike’s [former] interns [who is a current PhD student] at the University of Oklahoma. Then we wrote this [in our journals]. I don’t like writing but it will make my writing better.”

Jolette G. – “Today is day two of weather camp. I learned about thunderstorms, [we went over] more vocabulary words, and we also did a weather map on high temperatures [hand-drawn isotherm analyses] . We also continued the balloon project, we cut the tissue paper, and made a [repair] kit for just in case [our balloons are damaged]. Then we made a small project on the north pole. We had milk, food coloring, soap, and straws [in an experiment where the campers simulated their own atmosphere and created wave patterns to learn about atmospheric wind flow patterns]. Then we heard lightning and thunder, so we knew that there was a storm [approaching our location]. We took a break and Mrs. Tish came to the classroom. She brought us candy and we played a game. We also started writing this.”

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Southwest Florida Middle School Weather Camp – 2016 – Day 1 Reflective Journal Entries

Garrett H. – “I liked taking [observations of] my shadow for four hours [and predicting its movement]. I also liked looking at satellites, hurricanes, and NOAA’s warnings, watches, and advisories. I really enjoyed making a cloud. I didn’t enjoy making a weather balloon because I do not like to do arts and crafts, but I enjoyed most of my time. Waking up at 6:40 AM is not fun, but weather camp is worth it. I enjoyed finding out about gas, liquid, and solid [phase change] features like evaporation, condensation, melting, freezing, and so on.”

Tom M. – “I was scared [at first, going into camp,] because I was the last [of the campers to arrive,] but then it got very interesting and fun. We went to look at our shadows and each time we came back out they got shorter and shorter, then we saw an elephant cloud [and experienced] nephelococcygia. That’s [a] long [word]! Then we went and got sandwiches and chips. There was turkey, cheese, bread, and Cheetos and Doritos. We saw hurricanes in the Pacific and the hotspot [where they form]. We now are on a quest to build balloons, [and we] glued [tissue] paper together as our sheets for the balloon. Today was fun! Yay!”

Jolette G. – “I liked the part when we were doing the balloon project, [and] I liked the part when we ate sandwiches for lunch. One of my friends, Jake, and I glued tissue paper for our balloon project. The thing we all mainly did was trace our shadows outside. Today I learned so much, I love this camp.”

Jake N. – “Today was awesome because we made our own sandwiches at lunch and we shared stuff about movies and hot air balloons. I met some new friends such as Garrett, Jolette, and Tom. We learned about nephelococcygia. It means a picture seen in the clouds. We were seeing how our shadows were affected by the sun every hour. It was getting smaller and going to the left. Last but not least we started working on the weather balloons. We did the sheets. This was my awesome first day at weather camp!”