Skyline Middle School students create Storm Glass while at PCC

11 March 2019

On Feb. 22, seventh grade students from Skyline Middle School visited Pratt Community College to participate in a scientific activity co-directed by PCC science instructor, Jason Ghumm. The students took part in an activity where they made Storm Glass, which is a closed chemical system that is said to be able to forecast the weather. In research conducted at Skyline before the trip to PCC, the students learned a little history. Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy, who was the captain of the HMS Beagle on Charles Darwin’s famous expedition, used the device to predict the weather while on the voyage.

In order to make the device, students had to figure ratios and measure out all materials they needed. They had to dissolve solids into two separate solutions, then pour the two solutions together before sealing them into glass tubes. The result is a tool that will form crystals that will fall down and rise up while it’s snowing or raining, collect at the bottom when it’s cold out, or just remain nice and clear when it is sunny.

After making the tubes at PCC, students returned to Skyline where they made decorative stands and sat them in the windows for other students to see. The observation continues at Skyline with a display that invites students to record their observations of the Storm Glasses.

“I don’t know if it’s an actual predictor, but it’s a fun little project that mimics what is going on with the weather,” said Ghumm. “The activity was a great way to get students on our campus to learn more about science and hopefully get them interested in STEM related careers.”