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Asynchronous Snow Day Provides Practical Learning Opportunity for Climate and Weather Course


Chelsea Nakhleh' 21
6 January 2021

During Passaic Valley's first asynchronous snow day on December 17th, Mr. William Goodman's Climate and Weather course participated in a Snow Depth Analysis activity. Students, and a few teachers, measured the snow outside their houses, recorded the data into an Excel spreadsheet, and created a map of New Jersey labeling parts of the state in terms of how much snow accumulated.Climate and Weather Snow Map for December 2020 Nor'easter

Mr. Goodman's students were tasked with measuring the snow depth the night it started snowing and the morning it stopped. They also were responsible for recording the longitude and latitude of their location. This was essential in order to compare the results of each area. After compiling the data, the students were able to compare snow totals throughout New Jersey. “The snow day assignment was extremely interesting," said senior Jennifer Both. "It was very interactive and I enjoyed comparing my results with everyone else who participated.”

With the results, Mr. Goodman and his classes created a snowfall map of New Jersey with a range from Hopatcong to Jersey City.

Mr. Goodman wants to teach his students that you don’t have to have a degree in science in order to take part in observations of natural systems. “The chance to go out on a snow day and do something you otherwise might not have done, makes the whole experience more fun and gives a reason for why we're learning this stuff,” said Mr. Goodman. “You don't have to be a scientist to collect data and understand the world around you.”

This year is the first year PV is offering the Climate and Weather course. The half-year course offers insight into the world's climate, and discusses not only how it comes to be, but the importance of it.Stock image of ice;

Prior to the virtual model, Mr. Goodman had different plans for his Climate and Weather courses. “This is the first year of the course, so all of it is new. I had planned on doing a lot more outdoor activities,” said Mr. Goodman. “Obviously, that couldn't happen.” 

However, Mr. Goodman feels strongly that his students are still receiving proper instruction and believes that Climate and Weather is a valuable course.  “It’s really important for students to understand the science, there's so much disinformation out there,” stated Mr. Goodman. “It could be hard to know what's true and what's not true. Having a course where you look at data and learn to appreciate the science is a good thing.”