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Question re science project on storm data

Postby Spacecoastdad » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:50 pm

Having a little disconnect with science fair teacher.

Have a weatherstation installation that collects wind speed, pressure, temperature, wind direction, timestamp.

Set it up prior to recent near miss with hurriance resulting in data collected from regular days (non storm) and then tropical storm data.

Data points: windspeed, temperature, pressure

Control: regular day

Variable:Tropical storm

Question: How does the energy from the storm affect weather conditions around the neighborhod?

Hypothesis: The addition of storm energy should increase windspeed, decrease pressure, and increase temperature due to the kinectics of the storm.


"not see what he is testing and changing to test, that independent variable we are looking for in each project. I saw that he was observing or measuring wind before and after the hurricane. You could test something like how do wind speeds affect temperature when cooling an object? "

I'm really dumbfounded at the request.

The purpose for his project is a launching point for a major project in local storm monitoring idea we had (for next year)

Thoughts/comments/criticisms? Baseline (control) date is historical data on non-storm days.

Not really sure why the disconnect.


Apparently, this is not

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Re: Question re science project on storm data

Postby cnoonan180 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:53 pm

Hello and welcome to the forums!

I believe that your science teacher wants you to test something that you are able to control. For example, you cannot control the affects of the storm on your data. When your teacher says he is “not seeing what he is changing to test,” he means that he wants you to experiment with a variable that you can change, or is under your control. The storm would not be something under your control that you can change or manipulate. Specifically, the independent variable is the variable that is to be changed by the scientist (you). The dependent variable is the measured outcome of what you changed.

For further explanation about variables and the types of variables, check out this link:

In addition, your question is very general and when tackling any problem that involves data collection, the more specific=the better. Your three data points could all have effects on each other such as a higher air temperature causing higher air pressure, which means that the storm may not have affected the pressure, but the temperature did, or wind could affect temperature, and this many variables will not give you accurate results of which variable affects what, since labeling the storm as the variable includes too many of the variables, or characteristics of the storm that affect weather conditions.

Also, different forces such as wind speed affect different types of energy. Wind speed would affect a gas’s potential energy while pressure affects kinetic energy. Your science fair teacher would most likely prefer that you choose one characteristic such as wind speed that you are able to control (or imitate to test it such as using different settings of a fan for different wind speeds), which will be the independent variable, that will affect one outcome or dependent variable.

Some ideas for a related experiment that would most likely work better for you are:
1. How does wind speed affect how fast an object cools? ... -windchill
2. Consider looking into Bernoulli’s principle which has to do with wind speed, pressure, and potential energy: ... emperature

If you have any other questions or clarifications you would like me to make, please let me know! I hope this helps and good luck with your project!

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Re: Question re science project on storm data

Postby LilGreenFrog » Wed Sep 18, 2019 11:00 am

Hi Spacecoastdad,

I get where you're coming from, that your independent variable would be storm condition and your dependent variables would be all of the data you get off of the weather station. However, the way your hypothesis is structured means that your independent variable is really storm energy on a given day. How are you defining energy, and how are you measuring it, other than with the data that would be your dependent variables?

Overall though, what you're proposing is a very complex observational study. Given the grade of your child, I'm guessing the teacher is asking specifically for an 'experiment', with a focus on experimental design. As Cnoonan180 noted, this would mean having an independent variable that your child could measure and control.

When I judge elementary school science fairs, one thing I look for is evidence that a student had thought carefully about an experimental setup where they were truly only changing one variable. I know that seems simplistic, but even college kids struggle with it. This is especially true when it means that the experimenter has to actively work to hold possibly confounding variables at a steady state.

Does that help? I definitely think you and your child should hone your meteorological proposal and break it out again for a high school science fair.

Molecular and cellular biologist

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