CyberFair Project ID: 1381

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: A Journey into Florida's Past
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: St. Thomas Episcopal School
    Coral Gables, Florida, United States

54 students, ages from 9 to 10 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 1998-2001

Classes and Teachers: Ms. DeCario, Mrs. Wellens and Mrs. Riccio's fourth grade classes

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our community consists of the state of Florida, a large and diverse area. Many people are not aware of the fact that Florida has a rich history with many different cultural influences. Historical attractions in the state, when put together, give a big picture of this community and how it has changed through the years.

2. Summary of Our Project

The purpose of our project is to help fill the gap in available resources for children in the state of Florida. Since every fourth grader in the state of Florida studies the state, we thought it would be valuable for other students throughout the state to have a “kid-friendly” resource to use. We also decided to research some of the lesser-known attractions that there was little information about on the web. On the flip side, it was also valuable for the creators to learn history through studying the historical attractions.

We also decided to integrate math into our project by creating a math trail. As people read the site, they gather information that will help them solve the final math puzzle. This provides a valuable addition to the learning experience of the reader. It also helps add interest to the site.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Although Saint Thomas has had a CyberFair team for several years, this is the first time what we have attempted a project with an entire grade level. This added a whole new dimension to the process. Decision-making became a major hurdle. Representatives from each class had to be chosen to help facilitate the process. Keeping track of all the different pieces of work was also difficult, since each group was responsible for a report, a creative work and a math problem. The children had to learn to carefully name the email that they sent to the coach.

Time was also a problem. This year we had a winter break for the first time, shihc cut into our preparation time. In addition, one of the teachers was ill when we had projected a start and much of the planning had to be done over the phone with her as she recuperated from her operation. There always seemed to be distractions and unforeseen problems, but working together, we accomplished the task.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

History does not have to be boring!

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

History can sometimes be a very dull subject. As we studied the history of Florida from the perspective of the historical attractions, it became more alive. We learned why these places are still around and how we could really understand how Florida developed by studying the places and the people who lived there. We reinforced our note taking and writing skills in language arts. This was the first time that many of us had created a bibliography, so that was an important new skill. We also learned the importance of citing sources and how to use email to write for permission for using information. We also used some of our math skills. Because we all had to create a math problem for the site, we had to use skills to make a word problem that made sense and then make sure that our solution was correct. Collaboration was an important part of this project. With so many people involved, we had to be sure that all areas were covered. Each small team had to plan and decide how they were going to divide up the tasks. Then the teams had to work together to create a whole project.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

We used several information tools to do this project. Since several of the sites that we researched were local, we were able to conduct several oral interviews and call a few places to clarify information that we had found on the web sites. We found that brochures that people had collected from previous visits to attractions were also helpful, as well as pictures that had been taken in some of the areas that were too far away to visit. The scanner was an important part of this project. We had to learn how to use the scanner and then how to manipulate the pictures so that they were in a format that was best for the web. We also used a digital camera to take pictures when we visited the sites that we were researching. We all agreed that the single most valuable technology tool was having our own laptop computer. Having the laptops enhanced our communication with each other and with the world. We were able to email the work back to our teachers and our coach in an efficient manner. We were also able to help each other by sending email sites to one another. Taking notes became so much easier. Organization was also enhanced, as we created folders on the school network so that all the members of our small group could access the information that was being gathered.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

We became ambassadors for our project as we visited many of the local historical attractions to take pictures and learn more about them. The people that we talked to and interviewed were very interested in the project. We have contacted several places by email to either ask questions or ask permission to use pictures and thus have made remote places aware of our project. People are always interested in work that young people are doing, especially to promote their attraction so our response was generally most enthusiastic.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our site has not yet been posted, but we are hoping that our site will impact the fourth graders in our community of the state of Florida. By making our site interesting, with lots of drawings and creative work, we hope we will provide a valuable resource for all the children studying Florida. We also hope that doing the math problems on the site will enhance the math skills of the readers and also make the site even more fun to use. Within our school community, our parents are also learning about historical attractions as they take us to local places to visit and take pictures. It was an interesting side effect of our project that many of the students and their parents visited attractions in the local area that they had never visited before.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Our environmental science teacher, Mrs. Pat Knox, was instrumental in providing materials for us for many of the areas that we had to research. Her familiarity with the Everglades area was most helpful. She also donated some of her science time to help us complete this project on time. Our teachers spent a lot of time helping us gather material and then proofreading our work for us. They taught us the skills necessary to complete the project. Our parents helped us by taking us places, providing additional resources, and keeping us organized.


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