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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources

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Resource Description
Staff, Planning,
and Costs
Standards, Research, and Evaluation


Windward: Outsmart the Weather is a fun, free online game in which players learn how to read weather maps and identify and predict weather patterns. They must negotiate the wind and weather and determine what tools and resources to use as they sail a boat in a virtual round-the-world race. Created by Cable in the Classroom with project partners Discovery Education and The Weather Channel, and in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Windward brings broadband technology and interactive digital content together in a way that enriches the teaching and learning of science concepts related to weather. Extensive teacher and parent sections offer ideas and link to numerous resources for using Windward in or out of school.

Content Focus:
Science, Multimedia/Digital Literacy, Life & Social Skills,

Linkages to:
Social Studies, Language Arts,

Grades/Ages: Grades 5–12 specifically targeting middle school

Costs: Free
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.

Publication Date: 2005

Developer Contact Information
Cable in the Classroom
25 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 222-2335 ard

Design Overview

Players are faced with challenges such as currents, hurricanes, and thunderstorms that they must calculate how to avoid or overcome. Players can invite others to race at the same time. The race takes them around the globe and consists of four legs. Players confront two weather challenges on each leg. The object is to complete the journey as quickly and safely as possible to beat the world record of 71 days. Players are provided with a virtual laptop loaded with information in the sailboat's cockpit and access to a multimedia resource library full of materials about sailing, weather, and navigation, including video clips, graphs, historical essays on past circumnavigation attempts, and nautical music and literature. The game requires players to use and interpret data to solve problems while learning key earth science concepts about the weather along the way.
  • Activity Types: Self-directed online game
  • Materials/technology required: Computer with high-speed Internet connection, Flash plugin for Web browser
  • Program Length/Duration: Variable depending on player's mastery of concepts. It was developed with the notion that the learner would interact with the content in meaningful ways, in different directions or sequences, at any pace.

Instructional Approach

Windward was designed to provide an engaging learning experience both in and out of school. Players must learn to problem solve and interpret data. Key to the instructional design of Windward is the use of multimedia and multisensory content, primary source material, and the opportunity for players to learn at their own pace.

Consideration of Special Student Populations

Accessible for players with disabilities, Windward includes functionality to support screen readers, alternative text formats, and captioning of embedded video.

Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.