[IAEP] [support-gang] Quake Catcher Network

Caryl Bigenho cbigenho at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 19 23:55:30 EDT 2010

Hi Nick and All,

Yes, Cornell's Ornithology Lab has some wonderful "citizen science" programs. I have enjoyed participating in their annual Great Backyard Bird Count a couple of times. 

The CoCoRaHS project, based at Colorado State University is also a nice activity for children (and adults like me) in the United States.  I bought and installed their rain gauge and report regularly during the months I live in Montana (usually June through September).  


I see no reason why this sort of project couldn't be adapted for children in developing countries by having them make rain gauges from materials on hand such as empty food containers.  An Activity could be written that would include instructions for making a gauge and calibrating it (area of a circle and other calculations needed), a chart for recording data, mapping, making graphs. and other things.  Simple, inexpensive thermometers could be purchased and they could also make a simple anemometer.  There are lots of web sites with instructions for making both a rain gauge and an anemometer. There are even directions for a barometer (but I wonder how effective it would be?).

Each child could have his/her own weather station or groups living in the same neighborhood could make and share one. Data could be collected just on a community  basis (it is amazing how much difference there can be between places just a few hundred yards or meters apart).  If a central data gathering station could be set up on a county or provence wide basis, children in many schools could share data and research it.  Maps could be online similar to the ones on CoCoRaHS. Children could try their hand at weather forecasting, ..... oh,my! I could go on and on!  This could be a very fun, educational, and useful activity!

Any developers want to collaborate on an Weather Activity?  I'd love to be the "educational consultant" on it!

Caryl  (who in a former life taught both middle school and high school science and math)

> Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 17:49:47 -0400
> Subject: Re: [IAEP] [support-gang]  Quake Catcher Network
> From: ndoiron at andrew.cmu.edu
> To: yamaplos at gmail.com
> CC: cbigenho at hotmail.com; soas at lists.sugarlabs.org; iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org; support-gang at lists.laptop.org
> I do appreciate your response and thoughts on how it would be difficult to
> collect data regularly.  I am hoping to install an XO-accessible weather
> station in Uganda this summer. A device will monitor the sensor and
> students can collect and post the data on their own schedule.
> A large-scale project could start by choosing a simpler project where
> students send reports about what they see.  Last December I was on a call
> with DigiLiteracy.org and Cornell's volunteer science program.  Cornell is
> interested in bird counts from OLPC schools in the US, India, and Latin
> America. They also have a bilingual Celebrate Urban Birds program for city
> schools. Here is a report about their work with a school in Costa Rica:
> http://www.birds.cornell.edu/netcommunity/Page.aspx?pid=1693
> I would be happy to help in bringing this program back to life.  We have
> put digital graphs, cameras, maps, and networks in schools around the
> world; it would be amazing if we can connect them with practical science
> projects.
> Regards,
> Nick Doiron
> On Sun, April 18, 2010 11:44 pm, Yamandu Ploskonka wrote:
> > Provincia San Luis in Argentina is doing an amazing project of
> > calculating the carbon footprint of every community in the Provincia, the
> > kids go house byhouse interviewing the families on what kind of appliances
> > they have, number of lightbulbs, etc.  Classmates running winnows, alas.
> >
> >
> > Please disregard the rest of my response below - I'm into nonsense, no
> > need to take any of that seriously, I just find it somewhat quaint I fell
> > into that, so I'm leaving it there
> >
> > as to massive data gathering, something on the lines of weather projects
> > could be fascinating, with adequate sensors.  Anyway, so far we haven't
> > even been able to figure out even what it is that kids use their computers
> > for, which simply would require to see / spider / datamine the Journals.
> > To assume that we will be able to have kids regularly upload
> > information, and also somehow will we manage to get them previously the
> > proper sensors...
> >
> > Now, with *adequate* data processing, having weather data moving across
> > a locality with a couple hundred sensors *accurately* located would be
> > terrific, especially cross referencing that with satellite data and doing
> > it over a significant span of time.
> >
> > Same difficulty with anything of this kind.  It's cute this was
> > originally sold as something that would use accelerometers in computers,
> > but, oh, it turns out you need separate sensors.
> >
> > I've seen a few very clever Science Fair seismic sensors, but even the
> > cheapest ones can run beyond what is practical to consider as individual
> > expenses.  And don't forget calibrating them, etc. I would be surprised a
> > sensor that actually can give useful information would cost less than an
> > XO!
> >
> >
> > On 04/18/2010 09:39 PM, Caryl Bigenho wrote:
> >
> >> Hi Nick,
> >>
> >>
> >> Thanks for the link to the Science For Citizens site.  Sounds like
> >> most of these projects are for the US only.  I wonder if there are
> >> similar projects in other countries? Some really nice lessons could be
> >> developed for students to do with their XOs with web access.  Does
> >> anyone know of others?
> >>
> >> Caryl
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