North Carolina State University

RAIN (Raising Achievement through Inquiry and Networking) Across the River

RAIN Across the River is a community-based learning program that connects the process of science to student participation in locally relevant citizen science. The goals of this program focus on: 1) increasing student awareness of real science in their communities through their involvement with the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), 2) increasing student engagement in "doing" science through meaningful data collection at home installed weather instrumentation, and 3) raising Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) achievement through applied inquiry-based activities and data analysis. These goals are supported through action strategies, which are aligned with Student Science Enrichment Program (SSEP) goals and include: 1) leveraging resources of the NC State Climate Office (NCSCO) to provide content and concept-rich programming that is also creative and fun (improving student competence in science and mathematics), 2) empowering students as citizen scientists who contribute valuable meteorological information to global scientific understanding (nurturing student enthusiasm for STEM), and 3) building collaboration opportunities through program activities between students and research scientists, STEM technicians, community weather spotters, and STEM educators (interesting students in pursuing STEM careers). 

RAIN Across the River is a full year program with two components: a Summer Academy and Saturday sessions throughout the school year. A total of 30 rising 7th grade students representing two Northeastern North Carolina counties, Chowan and Bertie, will be recruited and selected to participate in this program. The parents/guardians of these students are directly involved in guiding and supporting student involvement in citizen science activities because weather instruments are installed at their homes. The activities and special events (weather balloon launch and field trips) at the Chowan and Bertie County Summer Academies form the foundation for continued work with students at six Saturday sessions from September through May (for each county). Participating students use a wide-range of technologies to collect, upload, analyze, and share their meteorological data and their personal understanding of data trends with national networks and local partners. Community CoCoRaHS volunteers, staff from NCSCO, and professional STEM educators mentor students in developing inquiry questions from their data to guide science fair investigations.


Rebecca Ward
North Carolina State University