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Major Edwards Elementary School, West Boylston, MA, United States

Having trouble identifying cloud types? Check with the second-graders at Major Edwards Elementary School in West Boylston, MA. Under the guidance of their teacher, Ms. Sandra Ivins, these young scientists have become real experts in identifying cloud cover and type.

Ms. Ivins was originally concerned that young students would have difficulty providing GLOBE scientists with quality data. Over time, she has learned that practice makes perfect. "We may not be sophisticated," Ms. Ivins said, "but we can be consistent. I've found little steps we need to take to attain the scientific level the GLOBE Program requires."

Ms. Ivins uses cotton balls to demonstrate cloud types. By stretching and pulling the cotton, students turns cumulous clouds to blanket-like stratus clouds, then pull out wisps to illustrate the shape of cirrus clouds. "Once the students grasp it, once they start to visualize and make the connection to the real sky, they never forget it," Ms. Ivins says. Her young scientists have become quite sophisticated in their assessments of clouds, having reported over 800 observations. "The students will really argue about what percentage of what type cloud is in the sky and they make an effort to back up their opinions."

In the 1998-99 school year, Major Edwards plans to include fourth grade students in the GLOBE activities under the leadership of Mr. John F. McCormick. Congratulations to all these students and teachers for their excellent work.

30 November 1998