Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Incorporating climate science into a classroom or garden is a fun and enriching way to heighten students’ awareness of the natural world around them. Weather stations are compact and versatile and are an excellent tool for teaching children about weather patterns and data collection. Because of their design, they are easy to install anywhere on a school’s campus, and are an especially great addition to a school garden. To assemble your own weather station, and incorporate climate science into your curriculum, check out the resources below

The weather station described below is the opposite of the fully digital stations widely available. Our station relies on reading gauges and interpreting the surrounding environment to log the weather. The data sheet we designed is meant to be easy to use for elementary grades and up.

 

Assembling the Weather Station

For this project, we used recycled fence board for our cardinal direction signs and a repurposed 4×4 post to mount the materials, but any quality of wood will do. Consider mounting the post in post hole cement so the buried end of the post will last longer.

Materials

  • 4 boards measuring approximately 3″ x 15″ x 0.5″ to mark the cardinal directions
  • Weather-resistant outdoor paint (we recommend a glossy white)
  • 1 pint of dark-colored, weather-resistant paint (we used black)
  • 1 4×4 post measuring approximately 8-10 feet in height
  • 1 bag of quick concrete to set the post in ground see video on how to easily set a post
  • 1 6-foot piece of ½” PVC pipe to hold the wind sock
  • 1 10 x 13 in. outdoor brochure display case to hold weather recording clipboard
  • 1 minimum/maximum thermometer (if working with children 2nd grade and younger you may consider just using a normal outdoor thermometer since they are easier to read and understand than the min/max thermometers)
  • 1 weather-resistant windsock
  • 1 rain gauge or one like this (make sure you get one you can easily dump the rain out out once filled)
  • 2 or 2.5 inch Deck Screws to Assemble
  • Clipboard to hold Weather Data Recording Log and Cloud Key
  • Pencil attached to clipboard (use pencil rather than pen since inks smears when wet and pencil does not)

Recommended Tools

  • Power drill
  • Drill bit to pre-drill screw holes
  • Posthole digger
  • Digging Bar or Rock Bar (is your ground is hard)
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Sandpaper
  • Compass
  • Small step ladder

Directions

If necessary, sand the 4 boards in preparation for painting. Completely cover both sides of the boards with the white outdoor paint–it is recommended that you apply multiple coats of paint and that you allow the boards to dry in between coats. When the boards have completely dried after the last coat of paint’s application, use the dark-colored, weather-resistant paint to write in large, bold letters the cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west) on both sides of the boards leaving at least 5 inches of blank space that will be drilled through to attach to post.

Using a posthole digger or shovel, dig a hole approximately 2 feet deep and 8 inches wide to set the post in. Center the post in the hole and pour dry concrete mix around the post, filling the hole about halfway. If using a post with 4 sides like a 4×4, position the post so that cardinal direction signs will point in the right direction. Tamp down the concrete mix with back shovel handle. Add water on top of the concrete that is in the hole. Once the first layer of concrete has been moistened, add the remainder of the dry concrete until the hole is filled, ensuring the post is still centered. Tamp down the dry concrete mix but make sure the concrete is at or above the level of the surrounding soil. Avoiding soil contact with your post will decrease the rate of post rot. Moisten the dry concrete mix. Add water and mix the concrete directly in the hole again. Using a level, ensure the post is straight and centered in the concrete. You can allow the concrete to set overnight, or you can continue assembling the rest of the weather station as the concrete dries, being sure to check one more time that the pole is straight and centered with a level before leaving the post to finish setting. 

Drill a hole in the top of the PVC pipe and attach the windsock to the top of the ½” PVC pipe. Screw the PVC pipe to the top of the post. Pre drill holes in the PVC pipe and screw in screw half way to make it easier to attach PVC pipe to post. With a carpenter’s square, a level, and a compass, mount the cardinal direction signs a few inches from the top of the post. Below the cardinal direction signs, mount the minimum/maximum thermometer (place the thermometer on the north side of the post out of direct sunlight), the rain gauge, and the brochure display case at the proper height for the student demographic you will be working with. Finally, if the concrete is still wet, check that the post is straight and centered with a level before finishing.

Weather Station Resources

Weather Data Recording Log

Mount this Cloud Type Key on the back of recording log clipboard

You may consider creating a weather box to install your thermometer or additional weather recording instruments.
Much more information on school weather stations can be found at www.weatherforschools.me.uk

Older students and classes may be interested in the GLOBE worldwide science and education program.

 

Learn how to use the weather station described above in this video:

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¡Estamos emocionados de anunciar la versión en Español del curso GRATIS aclamado, Enseñando en el Aula de la Naturaleza! Conéctese con otros educadores y desarrolle nuevas estrategias y maneras de ver el aula al aire libre. Es una gran oportunidad tanto para educadores nuevos a la enseñanza al aire libre y educación basada en el jardín como para los más experimentados en esta práctica. Lea más y registrese aquí: wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network _________________________________We are excited to announce a Spanish language version of the acclaimed FREE course, Teaching in Nature’s Classroom! Connect with educators and develop new strategies and ways of seeing the outdoor classroom. A great opportunity for educators new to outdoor and garden-based learning, as well as educators who are experienced in the field. Learn more and register here wischoolgardens.org/EAN-curso/Wisconsin School Garden Network

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This summer marks the 9-year anniversary of Yoso Wellness Spa in Santa Cruz and they’re celebrating with a community event! 🎉 This family-friendly celebration is free, with food, drink and raffle purchases going to Life Lab , a local non-profit! 🎟Join them this Sunday 3pm – 6pm for a 9-Year Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser! 🤩..#santacruccountychamber #yosowellness #anniversary #lifelab #thrive

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❤️💛💚 Happy Juneteenth!!!❤️💛💚It’s official, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize #Juneteenth as a federal holiday! This is a step forward and reason to celebrate. We must also acknowledge, celebrate and honor the Black freedom fighters who brought chattel slavery to an end, pushed for the end of segregation, and who continue strive to create a more just and peaceful society. Learn more about Juneteenth by clicking the link below.ow.ly/ySdn50FdYyrTo support local Black owned businesses checkout www.blackownedsantacruz.org/nationalblackguide.com/

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On Sunday, June 27th, @YosoWellness @YosoAnnex is celebrating 9 Years of Thriving! They are having a fundraiser to celebrate and have generously selected Life Lab as a beneficiary of this momentous event.⁠ ⁠Sunday, June 27th from 3:00-6:00pm, join us for music, light eats & drinks, swag, fun for you and the kids and a raffle with items from local small businesses.✨There will also be special welcome gifts for the first 50 guests!If you’re not able to make the event, here are some other ways to support:⁠– Stay connected to the garden-based learning movement and our work – via our e-news, social media, and the networks we support.⁠– Volunteer⁠– Participate in the raffle virtually- more information to come on this! ⁠-Shop at Yoso Wellness where you will find an array of consciously curated and tested wellness products for skin health, non-toxic living, astrology planners, wellness rituals, feel good gift cards, herbs, body products and so much more.

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🥕 VOTE FOR LIFE LAB! 🥕Help us grow healthy children and reduce your carbon footprint. 🌿EVERY time you visit ANY New Leaf Community Market (@NewLeafCMarket) from now until June 20th, find the PAPER BALLOT in the store & VOTE FOR LIFE LAB to be a recipient of the Envirotoken program. 10 cents from every reusable bag can be donated to us. This support has provided a wonderful boost for us over the years–thanks for your votes!

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Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
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