Parent Dashboard

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Your child wants to be part of the WeatherBlur online community.  To do so, we request that you provide us permission for them to participate in the online WeatherBlur community and to allow us to use photographs, video, and audio that we obtain with their permission. If you decline to provide permission, your child will still be able to participate in classroom activities, but will not be able to have any interaction online. We also request permission for your child to participate in associated educational research activities (described in the first form below).
Please find the details of all these activities below.  If you agree to allowing your child to participate in both the WeatherBlur online program activities AND the educational research activities, please complete the form and sign TWICE – once in the middle and again at the bottom then hit “Submit”.
If you have any questions, please email us on

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Study Title: WeatherBlur: Computational Thinking Through Citizen Science in the Classroom | IRB #              Principal Investigator: Ruth Kermish-Allen, Ph.D.  | 

Dear Parent,
Your child is being asked to participate in research conducted by Dr. Ruth Kermish-Allen about the WeatherBlur program. WeatherBlur is an online community of citizen scientists that develop their own investigations to help solve a local problem. The purpose of the project is to design methods and supports for teachers to use when teaching computational thinking and data analysis. The program is administered by the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA). The purpose of the research is to evaluate the program. This research program is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Computational thinking is a problem-solving skill in which activities are broken down into computational steps (small steps) in a way that allows people to solve problems.

The purpose of this study is to explore if there is an improvement in math learning and computational thinking skills, by studying design elements and teacher supports used by rural educators and youth.  Your child’s classroom is participating in the WeatherBlur program this year and we would like to get your permission for your child to participate in research activities about the program’s impacts.

This is what we are asking them to do:  This study will include approximately 1500 student participants across Maine, Mississippi, and Alabama. As a participant in the research study, your child will participate in a short survey (approximately 10 minutes) during class at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year regarding their knowledge of computational thinking and graphing and their experience in the program over the course of the year. We will also be conducting an observation of your child’s classroom and monitoring their activity on the WeatherBlur website.

What are the risks/harms of this study? There are no anticipated harms associated with this study beyond those encountered in normal daily life.  There is a risk of loss of confidentiality.  We have taken certain steps to protect your child’s confidentiality.  The researchers will keep the data files in a locked file cabinet or a password-protected computer filing system. Any notes from the observations will be made anonymous and confidential. Only the research team listed above, their fellow research staff at MMSA, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and other regulatory, auditing, and monitoring agencies will have access to the study files. All identifying information about your child will be removed and replaced with a study ID after it is collected so it is deidentified. All data will be kept as confidential as possible and no one will know which answers are your child’s except for our research team. The data will be kept for a period of up to ten years. However, within a year of completion of the study, all identifiers will be removed from the data. After 10 years all data will be destroyed.

What are the benefits to your child’s participation? There will be no direct benefit to your child for participating in this study.  This study may help individuals who are concerned with creating, facilitating, and promoting citizen science programs that integrate computational thinking and data analysis.

Financial Considerations:
Participation in this study will involve no cost to you or your child. Your child will not be paid for participating in this study.

Who can I contact if I have questions or want to report a problem?
If you have any comments, concerns, questions, feel your child may have been harmed by participating in this study or would like to offer input regarding the conduct of this research, please contact the researcher listed at the top of this form.  If you are unable to reach the researcher listed at the top of the form and have general questions, or you have concerns or complaints about the research, or questions about your rights as a research participant, please contact MMSA by phone at 207.626.3230, by e-mail at, or by mail to MMSA, 219 Capitol Street, Suite 3, Augusta, ME 04330.

If you have any questions or concerns about your rights as a research subject, you may also call Ethical and Independent Review Services, the IRB that reviewed this study, at 800-472-3241 or by email at Reference study # 20104.

Your child will also be asked if they want to participate.  Participation is voluntary and you and/or your child are free to withdraw participation at any time.  Your child is free not to answer any single question, or series of questions if they choose. If you choose not to allow your child to participate or decide to withdraw, there will be no penalty or loss of benefits to which your child would otherwise be entitled.  Participation in this study will not affect their school grades.

By signing below, you are indicating that you have read this permission form, and you agree to allow your child to participate in this study.  Please contact us if you would like to receive a signed copy of this consent form.

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    By signing this form, I agree to allow my child to be part of the educational research described above.
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