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WSIL Weather Academy visits Bethel Elementary School

(WSIL) —  The WSIL Weather Academy traveled to Mount Vernon to help educate students with interactive demonstrations in hopes to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The Academy teaches students about the weather with interactive experiments.

Fifth grader Oscar Craddock says his favorite part was a cloud in the bottle, "The bottle with the high pressure and the low pressure."

First grade teacher Beth Matthews says, "I thought it was really fun, and I could tell my students really enjoyed it, all the clapping and cheering, I think they really liked it."

The Academy holds experiments for students of all ages. 

Junior high science teacher Tiffany Delaney says, "I think it was awesome. It’s a great way to get the kids introduced to different experiments to see how science can work in action, and they could actually do some of this at home or here at school."

The demonstrations vary from forming clouds and frost to wind and how to stay safe during severe weather. Delaney says hands-on activities are a great way for students to grasp concepts they learn about in their text books.

"I love that the kids get the a-ha moment really quick, and they’re like,’This is so cool!’ and they want to go show somebody else, and they’re like, ‘Hey, can we go show Mr. K how to do this?’ They just get excited, and they want to share the information, and when they share information other kids are learning from them as well."

Teachers at Bethel Grade School not only use these techniques in the classroom but in school clubs as well.

"We do have a Robotics Club which focuses a lot on the coding and things like that, and then they get to battle their robots," explains Matthews.

"The Bionic Bulldogs have won the county tournament three years in a row, they were pretty awesome. They build their own robots and they learn how to program them," adds Delaney.

The clubs seem to be peeking students’ interest in science.

"I like learning about like the earth, what’s inside of it, what it’s all about," said 7th grader Tanner Walker. 

"I wanna be a park ranger, and I’m probably not going to say this right, but an interpreter park ranger," shared Craddock.

Delaney says, at the end of the day, her job is to educate students and make them the best people they can be.

Delaney explains, "They’re the ones that are going to take care of us, so we have to encourage them and empower them with knowledge so that can have a bright future. That is the ultimate goal, to get them to be great productive members of society."

The Weather Academy will continue their journey through local schools the entire school year. Next week, the Academy will be traveling to Herrin to meet with students. 

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