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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Building on Life Lab’s 40 years of experience in the school garden movement, we’ve updated and put together a series of 4 virtual courses that will guide and support educators in becoming a Life Lab-Certified School Garden Educator. 🌳At Life Lab, we believe the world needs informed, inspired, creative, and collaborative leaders, ready with the skills and the motivation they need to work for justice, sustainability, and healthy communities. And we believe that the garden is an ideal space for growing just such leaders! Now, more than ever, we need dedicated educators to lead children in cultivating a love of learning, healthy food and connection to our natural world through garden-based education. 🐝Your support makes this work possible 💚 – thank you for being a part of the Life Lab community and broader school garden movement! If you have already donated to Life Lab recently, thank you! If you haven’t yet given this year, please help us keep all of this vital work going and growing by donating now. Gifts of any size are deeply appreciated and have real impacts.www.lifelab.org/donate

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🌻 🔬 Next Generation Science in the Garden 🔬🌻 “I’m a Scientist!” exclaim students in the garden, empowered by Life Lab’s inquiry-led approach to science education. A garden is rich with teachable moments inviting observant students to experience foundational life and natural science concepts. As birds fly overhead, plants fruit or bloom or hibernate, decomposers make dirt; students learn science by observation and experience, having fun and gaining deeper academic knowledge. Life Lab’s Next Generation Science in the Garden (NGSG) curriculum is developed by teachers, piloted by garden educators and a wonderful tool for connecting academic curriculum to robust garden environments.Your support makes this work possible – thank you for being a part of the Life Lab community and broader school garden movement! NGSG Curriculum is available now! ow.ly/ATOW50HhQb4

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Thank you for supporting hands-on learning and well-being for all children and being part of the growing school garden movement! We appreciate your partnership and wish you and your loved ones a joyous holiday season.

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I’ve been a teacher educator for 15 years. I started with literacy methods, then migrated to science, but what I most love to teach is garden pedagogy. Thanks to @ucmastergardenersnapaco I was able to bring lessons I learned from @ucdstudentfarm Life Lab and @beetlesproject to Napa. From 2013-2017 the #SchoolGardenTaskForce hosted several workshops aimed at increasing the horticultural knowledge of garden educators. I found a community of like-minded folks to connect with in California. #communityconnection #gardenbasedlearning #learningfromthebest

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#GoodReads in Spanish, incldng LAS CALABACITAS DE ZORA, translatd from Zora’s Zucchini.Also see ESPINACAS DE SYLVIA, translated from Sylvia’s Spinach, a 2020 selection.See full lists from 2019-2021: bit.ly/3rkZa5nBoth SYLVIA and ZORA, in English & Spanish, are available in #audiobooks from Live Oak Media. ..#SpanishChildrensBooks #DiverseBooks #FoodLiteracy REFORMA Reforma Los Angeles ChapterNational Association for Bilingual EducationCABE California Association for Bilingual EducationThe National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) California Association for the Education of Young ChildrenViva Farms Big Green Life Lab Common Threads Farm The Children’s Book Council ALSC – The Association for Library Service to ChildrenThe Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DCOur ’22 Best Spanish Language Picture book list comes out in January. For now, enjoy ’21 @CuentoDeLuz @charlesbridge @reforma @ALALibrary @Candlewick @kokila @BarefootBooks @ReadersToEatersbankstedu.info/3D3NBl3

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Our partners, Life Lab, are hiring to work with #PVUSD students. Check it out!Nuestros socios, Life Lab, están contratando para trabajar con estudiantes de #PVUSD. ¡Échale un vistazo!lifelab.org/about/internships/jobs/Life Lab PVUSD Parents

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Happy National Homemade Bread Day! November is also National Bread Month. Share Bread Lab on the science and joy of whole wheat sourdough breadmaking. bit.ly/2VQjVo7"This engaging picture book about the science and joy of making bread is named for Washington State University’s influential BreadLab and co-written by its managing director, Kim Binczewski, and agricultural scientist Bethany Econopouly. Illustrated lovingly by Hayelin Choi, this book should inspire folks of all ages to explore the world of sourdough baking."Eater SeattleSee video with Kim introducing the book and her work at the WSU Breadlab. bit.ly/3r9RIqz..#NationalHomemadeBreadDay #HomemadeBread #Bread #WholeGrain #WholeWheat #Sourdough #SourdoughStarter #Fermenation #FoodLiteracy #FoodEducation #ScienceEducation #FoodScience #PlantScience #SoilScience #Farming #CulinaryEducation #KidsCooking #FarmToSchool #AgClassroom #AgLiteracy #AITC The Bread Bakers Guild of AmericaNational Agriculture in the Classroom American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Whole Kids Foundation Pilot Light FoodCorps Life Lab Big Green Washington Ag in the Classroom California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (CFAITC) California Farm to School Edible Schoolyard NYC The Edible Schoolyard Project Center for Ecoliteracy

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Another wonderful Community Involvement day is in the books!Some of the activities students participated in to serve our community today:* Learned and practiced land stewardship (improve biodiversity, revegetation, weed removal)* Food preparation and distribution* Resource conservation* Home construction for low income families* Care and clean up of our community’s shared spacesThank you to these amazing local organizations and groups for their continued work to better our world through the lens of environmental advocacy and social justice: Coastal Watershed CouncilSave Our ShoresHomeless Garden ProjectEvergreen CemeterySan Lorenzo Valley Native Habitat Restoration ProgramGrey BearsLife LabSecond Harvest Food Bank Santa CruzHabitat for Humanity Monterey BayReStore Santa Cruz Home Improvement Store & Donation Centerwww.facebook.com/groups/SantaCruzFoodNotBombsSanta Cruz Museum of Natural HistoryCity of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation

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