St. Michael students, meteorologist Trent Magill study Hurricane Ian

SIMPLE TWP. − STEM teacher Tina Miller’s students probably know more about how the weather works than the average adult.

On Friday, fourth graders at St. Michael School had the opportunity to test their knowledge of hurricanes with a visit from Cleveland weather forecaster Trent Magill of WEWS News 5.

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Magill gave a presentation on the causes and effects of Hurricane Ian, which wreaked havoc and devastation on southwest Florida last month.

Magill explains why Hurricane Ian wasn’t the strongest

Miller said her students’ study of hurricanes so far has included research, looking at specific storms, creating models of cities and homes built to withstand storms, and how students can make a difference for people affected by hurricanes, including other Catholic schools affected by Hurricane Ian.

Tina Miller, STEM teacher at St. Michael School in Plain Township, and her students listen to News 5's Trent Magill's presentation on hurricanes.  The students investigate the cause and effect of such storms.

During Magill’s presentation, he explained how hurricanes form, how technology has improved weather forecasting, and how different countries use different forecasting models.

“We got satellites in the 1970s,” he said. “Before, we were dependent on buoys and ship reports.”

He also shared that his mother, sister and family were struck dead by Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm that killed more than 100 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

“They rode in winds in excess of 100 miles per hour for five hours,” he said. “They said they would never do it again.”

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Magill told students that with sustained winds, a storm must reach at least 74 miles per hour before it can be classified as a hurricane, noting that Hurricane Ian was just 2 miles per hour from being classified as a Category 5, what is the strongest rating for hurricanes.

He also informed them that hurricanes cannot form over Lake Erie because there is not enough water.

News 5 Cleveland meteorologist Trent Magill and fourth grade STEM students at St. Michael School in Plain Township on Friday.

What is STEM?

Magill’s presentation was part of St. Michael’s ongoing teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Catholic private school introduced a STEM curriculum for its 350 students in grades Kindergarten through 8 last year.

Miller said the curriculum arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the school was forced to rely more on technology to teach students.

St. Michael’s principal, Claire Gatti, said STEM has become an essential part of education.

“STEM is what kids should learn,” she said. “When I wanted to bring the program and present it to the teachers, Tina Miller contacted me immediately. I knew she was the perfect person.”

Gatti said a more accurate description of St. Michael’s curriculum is “STREAM,” meaning science, technology, religion, arts, education and math.

St. Michael’s program includes 3D printers, robots, a Vaccuform for entrepreneurial projects, and space for audio and video production.

Gatti said St. Michael’s STEM curriculum took months of planning, adding that she’s pleased that so much of the learning is hands-on.

“It’s just phenomenal what they’re doing,” she said. “It’s about children going to school with enthusiasm.”

Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or [email protected].

On twitter: @cgoshayREP

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