GOWANDA - The weather outside may be cold but inside Gowanda High School the weather, for a bit, was warm and sunny. Meteorologist Andy Parker from WGRZ, Channel 2 came to the auditorium of the high school for winning the weather machine through a contest.
"We're going to do all the weather you see out your window inside this room today," Parker told the children.
Parker brought the weather machine as well as giving a weather lesson to the children. Parker brought his weather machine to educate and give the students a lesson in meteorology including what the climate is like during all four seasons. Parker first explained what he did as a meteorologist.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Meteorologist Andy Parker demonstrates filling a weather balloon with help of Gowanda Elementary students.
"We predict... we prognosticate the weather," Parker said.
Inside the weather machine, a capsule shaped device, Parker made it sunny, cloudy, windy and even formed a tornado with the help of student volunteers.
"Ninety-nine percent of weather happens above our head," Parker said.
Parker explained the tools meteorologist used to use to predict the weather. He joked many tools end in "ometer" such as thermometer and barometer. Parker told the children to remember three things that meteorologist use which include pictures, numbers and tools.
"You know more about the weather from what you've seen with your eyes than what you've gotten out of the books," Parker said.
Parker demonstrated how a weather station worked with the help of a student volunteer. Parker showed the students how the station measured water levels as well as wind energy through a tool called anemometer.
Parker then asked the students a question regarding clouds.
"How do we measure what's in the clouds?" Parker asked. "What do we use to go way up in the clouds?"
One student answered a balloon, the correct answer. Parker demonstrated the filling up of a weather balloon and students were then able to toss it around the auditorium until it unfortunately popped. Along with the playing with the balloon, Parker told the students about clouds. He told students clouds that look like a pillow are cumulus clouds and ones that look like a blanket are stratus clouds.
Parker also showed the power of lightning by using a Van de Graaff generator, a special ball that conducts electricity.
"Everyone has been struck by lightning," Parker said.
Parker explained that every time someone rubs their feet on carpet then touching someone is a small shock from lightning. Two brave male students felt the shock of electricity. Two female students were able to not feel the power but demonstrate the power. Both girls' hair stood up on ends upon touching the ball.
Other lessons about weather included a giant sized rainbow and teaching the students how they can make a rainbow at home.
Gowanda Elementary won the weather machine and Parker's visit through a contest. Throughout the month of February, students, faculty, staff and community members logged on to WGRZ's website and voted with the word of the day. The school with the most votes received a visit from the weather machine. Gowanda Elementary tied with Portville Central School so both schools were awarded a visit from Parker.
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