Donated Wind-Measuring Equipment Allows Innovative Learning for Lowell Graded School’s Students and Teachers
By N. R. Mallery
In June, 2015, Green Mountain Power announced that it has donated a tower to measure wind speed to students at the Lowell Graded School. The wind-measuring equipment has enabled teachers to expand the science and math curriculum for students who are becoming “weather experts.”
“I’ve been amazed to watch the students engage and learn from the meteorological tower that Green Mountain Power gave the school,” said Anita Gagner, principal of Lowell Graded School. “GMP is a great neighbor, and it’s wonderful that we have a working wind farm in our community that can provide opportunities like this to help enhance our ability to teach science to our students.”
Green Mountain Power used the meteorological tower to measure wind speeds prior to building its Kingdom Community Wind plant in Lowell. In addition to helping lower rates for customers, the 21 turbine plant continues to meet strict state environmental and sound standards, while also exceeding power expectations, generating more than 5% above the forecast for the fiscal year, which began October 1, 2014.
“We are thrilled to be able to be a part of the Lowell community and appreciate their strong support for Kingdom Community Wind,” said Dorothy Schnure, GMP spokesperson. “Donating the wind-measuring equipment is a great way to bring the science and math to life for students.”
The sixth graders at Lowell Village School use the data from the met tower’s barometer to learn about how high and low air pressure are used to predict the weather. They also made their own versions of the weather instruments and compared the data they collected with the data from the met tower.
“The meteorological tower has greatly assisted in instructing the students on ways that weather changes affect activities and events in our everyday life. In this way, they can think about how weather has important consequences for all people in our communities. We are very appreciative of this opportunity,” said Steve Mason, chair of the Lowell Graded School Board.
The met tower stands 45 feet tall and is installed just outside the Lowell school. Renewable NRG of Hinesburg donated parts and assisted GMP with equipment installation. Data from the tower includes anemometers (wind speed sensors), wind direction sensors, as well as temperature, barometric pressure, and relative humidity sensors. The students can retrieve the information from a data card at the base of the tower, or they can receive it via email. Up to three people can receive the data daily and forward it to the entire classroom.
The mission of Lowell Graded School is to provide a safe, challenging and engaging learning environment that promotes achievement and is tailored to individual student needs. Their website is http://lgs.ncsuvt.org.
A close up on the Solar powered data logger for the wind-measuring equipment at Lowel Graded School, with a Temp sensor, Barometric pressure sensor and Relative humidity sensor.