It was a crystal-clear mid-March day outside Grade 3 classroom windows at Jackson Walnut Park. However, the weather inside the Newton classroom was hair-raising. Lightening crackled, thunder roared, warm and cold fronts battled, tornadoes tore across the map of the States, and the air was electric.
WCVB-TV meteorologist Kelly Ann Cicalese visited Mrs. McHugh and Mrs. Melisi’s students who currently are immersed in the science of weather. The third grade students related easily to Cicalese’s terminology of fronts, surface maps, the difference between weather and climate, the names of clouds, and the power of the sun. In her hour-long presentation, Cicalese challenged student thinking, posing questions that brought immediate responses. Her energy, her excitement about weather, and her ability to connect with young students electrified her audience.
Cicalese engaged the boys and girls in student-involved experiments that visibly demonstrated the force behind cold and warm fronts, that air takes up space, and how electrical charges meet from the ground to the clouds.
With the use of a WCVB-TV Storm Team video she took her students behind the scenes of forecasting the weather in the challenging area of New England. She described the tools used to leverage an accurate forecast, from the amount of snow that falls in different parts of the state to how long a heat wave will last, and how detailed meteorological maps of atmospheric levels allow for analysis and interpretation, “much in the way you might analyze the textures and flavors of a layer cake,” she explained.
An Irish step dancer whose favorite color is green, she drew laughter when she demonstrated what happens when a forecaster, wearing green, stands before the broadcast meteorologist’s green wall.
When a student asked how she became a meteorologist she told the class that she loves mathematics and when she was in third grade, she built her first barometer. As multiple students barraged her with names of equipment used to build a barometer, she laughed. “You are way more advanced than I was in third grade.”
Members of the third grade at Jackson School soon will be featured on WCVB-TV Eyeopener’s Wake Up Call.
Stay tuned. There just might be a future meteorologist coming out of Mrs. McHugh and Mrs. Melisi’s Grade 3 classrooms. Many thanks to JWP alumna Meghan Foley Russell P’22’WPM for her initiative to bring Kelly Ann Cicalese to Jackson School.