CyberFair Project ID: 1575

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: History Of Unionville
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: Charles F. Patton Middle School
    Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, United States

100 students, ages from 13 to 14 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on February 1, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 0

Classes and Teachers: Shannon Tate, Meg Basilio, Robin Martin, Betsy Saitto

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is the oldest consolidated school district in Pennsylvania. It is filled with a rich history dating back to pre-revolutionary days. Our community is actually 77 square miles that incorporates 7 townships. The landscape has been changing due to rapid development and there is a strong sense of urgency to preserve the community's history. The community includes revolutionary battlefields, Underground Railroad sites and important Native American lands. Acres of farmland, historic homes, museums,as well as housing developments complete the landscape.

2. Summary of Our Project

The Unionville-Chadds Ford School District is the oldest consolidated school district in Pennsylvania. Few of our students are aware of the vast amount of history which surrounds them, as many of our middle school students have lived in the community for fewer than 5 years. This is a reflection of the changes that the school district is undergoing--rapid suburban sprawl, resulting in the development of acres of farmland, and the gradual loss of a rich history which dates back to before Revolutionary times. We envisioned a historical preservation project that would be expanded to incorporate computer skills, as well as to build their existing historical knowledge. Together, we worked on brainstorming a list of the various resources and historical topics which surrounded this area. Students volunteered to work on topics that they were interested in; thus, they were given ownership over the project. Due to a lack of published historical information on our area, we contacted many longtime residents of Unionville and invited them to speak to the students. As the students researched, they began to realize that events such as the Industrial Revolution and segregation have not only impacted the country, but our community as well. After information was gathered, the writing process was examined, and students worked on organizing information into multi paragraph essays based upon their research. Final pieces were created and published by the students for a grade. Students then ventured out into the community to video and photograph the topics for publication on our web site. Students designed the web site. Through the creation of this web site, it is our hope that our students will not only master the curricular concepts that we are required to teach, but to gain an understanding and value for the community in which they live.

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:not sure

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

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Our district is generous in providing not only T1 internet access, but teacher training and encouragement to use the internet, as well as modeling it's use to the community. Each classroom has at least one computer and teachers may sign up to use one of 3 different computer labs for classroom integration.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Our most pressng problems occured as the deadlines approached. The students dedicated quite a bit of extra time to complete working out technical details. They persevered because they felt so much ownership in the project.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Exciting to know that all the students' hard work could be submitted to a contest !

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

The Unionville Histroy Project provided an integrated curriculum opportunity. Social studies, English, and geography were built into the project. Objectives of the research process, writing process, the skills necessary for presentations, and public speaking were met. Our school community has a real vision as to how it can be a valauble member of the community. This project allowed students to create a lasting memory for all of the community to share. It has also provided for a way to reach people all over the world, as well as, residents who have moved away. We received e-mails from many people who have enjoyed our site. Incorporating the 21st century technology also motivated our students who have made technology such an integral part of their lives. Finally, the cooperative efforts by all the students served to enrich their educational experiences.

Project Elements

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

Three computer labs, Sony Mavica digital cameras, video recorders, and web design software using html or Dreamweaver v.3, FireWorks v.3, and Claris HomePage v.3, were integral to the web project. Some photographs were taken with 35mm cameras and developed and scanned with an Apple OneScanner. Students became the experts in a special phase of the experience becoming artists, interviewers, photographers, and web designers.

The Chester County Historical Society allowed students to to independent research, find maps, and explore the archives. Our school library purchased books and materials to have on hand.

Most of the hardware and software was purchased with building and district funds. The Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation funded the Sony Mavica.

The most valuable tools were the digital camera and the use of the libraries. The library provided the actual information linking students to the past histories, while the digital camera provided the connection to today, showing how these historical locations have been preserved. The most unique way students used these technologies was to make a QuickTime VR of the inside of the Marlborough Friends Meeting House. This QTVR is special, because not many people have seen the inside of a Meeting House except for the worshipers who attend weekly.

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

The student ambassadors learned so much in their contact with community members and e-mails from other schools. The rich history that was being lost is preserved now on our school web site. The people who worked with the students were amazed at the students' abilties and the new technology that was being utilized to preserve their community.

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

The history project received great press from local papers. When the web address was published, we received comments from the community, local historical commissions, and long-time members. We forged lasting ties with long-time community members who have offered to work again with students in the coming years.

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

For all the community members, who so graciously worked with us, we are deeply thankful. A complete list is enclosed here:

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

The biggest surprise was that one of our teachers actually learned that her husband's family occupied an Underground Railroad site! This has led to more students probing into the background of the home in which they live, and the land where it sits.

This whole concept came from Mrs. Basilio and Miss Tate’s attendance at a conference last year in which they saw and example of another school who was doing something similar. When they brainstormed with the students on the team, the kids were very excited to create their own “museum” of history.

The teachers have been interviewed by local newspapers and the district newsletter. Several technology publications have featured the Unionville History Project including Classroom Connect. We will apply to present this project at the National Middle School Conference in 2002 and the School Leadership Conference in Hershey PA. in April, 2001.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 1575)

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