This story brought to you for free by:

Deltona students watch the weather: Donation helps STEM classes

Error message

Notice: Use of undefined constant view_mode - assumed 'view_mode' in premium_node_view() (line 63 of /data/web/public/drupal/sites/all/modules/premium_content/premium.module).
Watching the weather — Peter Birtolo, director of customer service for WeatherSTEM in Tallahassee, shows the weather station his company recently donated to Heritage Middle School in Deltona. The station, along with weather data compiled from across the state by WeatherSTEM, will be used for everything from helping grow the middle school’s garden, to keeping people safe at school football games, as well as for study by students in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — classes.

Watching the weather — Peter Birtolo, director of customer service for WeatherSTEM in Tallahassee, shows the weather station his company recently donated to Heritage Middle School in Deltona. The station, along with weather data compiled from across the state by WeatherSTEM, will be used for everything from helping grow the middle school’s garden, to keeping people safe at school football games, as well as for study by students in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — classes.  

BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON

Students at Heritage Middle School in Deltona now have a new way to learn about the weather, the atmosphere, and other aspects of their environment.

WeatherSTEM, a Tallahassee company, donated a weather-station unit to the school. It was installed Aug. 22.

The weather station measures typical weather attributes like temperature, humidity and wind speed, but it also includes a cloud camera and soil-monitoring tools, which are expected to be useful for Heritage’s agricultural programs.

The donation is part of a WeatherSTEM statewide initiative. 

“We go to primarily academic locations, like schools and some colleges, and we install a number of weather instruments and agricultural instruments,” company founder Ed Mansouri said. “We take the data that those systems collect, and we use it to drive a mobile platform called WeatherSTEM, which is used by K-12 students throughout Florida in science and math, and also used by health and safety people.”

Mansouri said the weather station will be useful for students and teachers at Heritage Middle School, as it will allow them to work with real data from the world outside their school’s walls, rather than made-up data, when learning about weather, the environment, and how to work with data sets.

The unit normally costs $3,000, but Mansouri said his company plans to donate at least one to a public school in each Florida county. 

Heritage’s Weather-STEM unit is the second in Volusia County. The other one is on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus in Daytona Beach.

Amy Monahan is an educational specialist in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — for Volusia County Schools. She said the data from the unit could be very useful for students at Heritage. 

“This is some state-of-the-art stuff that I have not seen elsewhere that is going to give our students some real-time data to use,” Monahan said, adding, “This can be incorporated in math and science courses, and agricultural courses as well, and anyone else who is looking for data.”

For example, the unit’s soil sensors can give students information about the school’s gardens. The WeatherSTEM also has a temperature sensor inside the school’s barn.

The units have the ability to detect nearby lightning strikes, which could be used in the future to keep students and spectators safe during athletic events and other outdoor gatherings.

Monahan said her goal is to have more weather stations installed at other Volusia County schools, so students can use the data to make comparisons between the conditions in different parts of the county.

The data from the WeatherSTEM units is free and open for the public to see, as well. To look at live weather conditions from Heritage and Embry-Riddle online, visit volusia.weatherstem.com.

- Anthony DeFeo, anthony@beacononlinenews.com

Rate this article: 
Average: 3 (2 votes)