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Students learn ‘wacky weather’

Staff photos / R. Michael Semple Charlie Jane Oaks, 6, of Vienna, studies the movement of a tornado inside two plastic bottles during 4-H STEM Day for children at the OSU Extension Office in Cortland on Wednesday. The camp was for students in grades K through two. Another camp for grades three through five is set today.

BAZETTA — With the sounds of thunder and sights of lightning outside Wednesday morning, children attending the 4-H STEM Day at the Trumbull County Agricultural Center were learning about “wacky weather” happenings.

The hands-on weather lesson included creating a tornado in a water-filled bottle and creating clouds with cotton balls.

Ashlee Meardith, 4-H educator, said the program had to be held via Zoom last year because of the pandemic, but the staff, children and their families were happy to be back in person.

“We chose wacky weather as our theme. We covered all aspects of weather. We made suncatchers for the sun, made snowpoppers and built snow forts for the snow, made tornadoes in a bottle, did cloud identification, built an umbrella and learned about the water cycle. We also did weather observations where we took a walk outside, and the children were able to observe the sun, wind, clouds and act as meteorologists,” Meardith said.

Children in kindergarten to second grade met for four hours Wednesday and grades third to fifth were planning to meet for four hours today.

Helping Meardith were 4-H camp counselors, parents and volunteers who assisted the children in creating their weather-related items.

She said including the virtual program in 2020, the summer event has been held for five years under her planning and guidance.

“The children love coming here and ask to have this more than once a year. We have many return learners,” Meardith said, noting 32 children attended this year.

Hallie Carkhuff, 9, of Warren, who is marking her first time in the program, said she learned about it from a friend.

“I’ve learned about why there are clouds and what they do,” she said as she was gluing different sized cotton balls on a paper.

She and the other children had a brief tour outside before the rain hit, and observed weather items in nature and then came back inside to draw what they saw, such as the sun and clouds.

Liam Meardith, 7, of Hubbard, attending for the fourth time, said he gave his stepmother, Ashlee Meardith, the idea of having a program on the weather.

“I told her it would be fun to make clouds and learn about the weather and water cycle,” he said.

Lorrie Dietz, a retired Southington school teacher, said she helps at the event and accompanied the children outside as they predicted the temperature.

“We took a thermometer out there to see what the temperature was after they made their guesses. They observed the sky to see if there were clouds and if they could see the sun and if it was rainy,” she said.

One of the main learning activities was creating a tornado in a bottle in which they put blue-colored water into two containers connected to each other and, when shaken, the water drains from one into the other creating a funnel cloud appearance.

Charlie Oaks, 6, of Vienna, said she liked the tornado activity the best and is excited to be able to take it home.

“That was a lot of fun to do,” she said.

Meardith said past topics of the camps have included the ocean and space.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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