BENTON (WSIL) -- By fourth grade, students at Benton Grade School have already starting learning about the weather.
"We talked about just weather in general and different tools that you guys use to tell the weather with humidity and air pressure and temperature and the maps that are behind you guys," says fourth grade teacher Heather Fletcher.
The students are covering material that helps them better understand what meteorologists often talk about on TV.
"We also talked about some different types of weather to go along with it. High pressure versus low pressure, kind of things that go along with the maps, so they are able to read the maps when they see them on t.v., and some of my kids especially were able to be like, 'Oh, we've seen that before," explains fourth grade teacher Kristin Odom.
Some of the Weather Academy's demonstrations paralleled what the students are learning in class.
"The clouds, we hadn't covered the clouds. They actually learned about clouds in third grade, but the pressure with the bottle experiment went perfectly with what we had talked about in class," adds Fletcher.
As with every school we visit, we asked the students what else they're learning about.
"We actually have a new reading curriculum this year so it was a new project that none of us have done before, and it started off about, we learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and his speech and how he inspired society and did it in a peaceful way in order to get people to follow him in the difference that he made," says Fletcher.
"They were able to pick somebody that they've known or maybe they didn't know, and that's made a difference for them, and they were able to write about it, and what was special about that for my kids this time was that it was more personal," Odom elaborates.
Fourth grader Cole Clark says he's inspired by Steve Irwin. "His parents, Bob and Lyn Irwin, in 1970 built the Australia Zoo."
The goal is for the students to learn more than just fun facts about their historical figure. They are encouraged to reflect on how their actions affect those around them.
"Fourth grade is such a transition year for our kids because they're going to middle school next year, and so it's really helpful for them to kind of become aware of what their actions do. It was really great for me as a teacher to see them kind of start to recognize those differences a little bit, you know, and how to stand up to that adversity and going back to that Martin Luther King book that we read and tying it all back in together, it's all kind of a character building thing for them," explains Odom.
Next week, the Weather Academy travels to West Frankfort.