Thursday, September 11, 2003

Wisconsin Weather Stories

So UW Madison wants to combine atmospheric science and folklore.
The weather narrative - atop the rhymes, charms and proverbs - is a way, for example, to integrate weather into our sense of place and, for the meteorologist, lends an oral history to be explored through the lens of science. Famous Wisconsin stories with a weather pitch include the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and the Armistice Day storm of 1940, when dozens of duck hunters - trapped on Mississippi River sloughs by a sudden 40-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature - froze to death in their boats.
Can't say it's a bad idea. I'm all for place-based education. Nothing wrong with introducing kids to oral history in their social studies or science classes. But aiming for a K-12 audience seems a little broad to me. While "Colder than a brass toilet in the Yukon" and "Windier than a peach orchard pig" are no doubt gems for undergraduate folklorists, not sure how well you could maintain order in a third grade classroom explaining those ones.

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