CyberFair Project ID: 1559

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: ScrubQuest
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness
Bibliography: No bibliography page cited

School: St. Joseph's Episcopal School
    Boynton Beach, Florida, United States

30 students, ages from 6 to 13 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 15, 2001. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2001

Classes and Teachers: Judy Somers

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our Local Community actually encompasses two parts. One is the School community linking our Middle School students with the Elementary school students. The older children prepare environmental experiences for the younger children and guide them through the experience. The other aspect of our Community is the connection with the geographic community. The students prepare presentations to present to organizations within the local area in an effort to increase awareness of the ecological value of an endangered ecosystem.

2. Summary of Our Project

The ScrubQuest is a web based research tool for students to use to increase their own awareness of a local endangered ecosystem. The students then use the information learned to prepare two types of presentations. One is a presentation designed to take to local community organizations to showcase the Scrub area and to develop awareness of the value of the Scrub within our community. Then the students use the information gathered to prepare a series of visits to the Scrub for the younger students. Each of these visits will focus on a different skill or content area that can be learned or developed by way of a trip to a natural area.

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:1

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

Internet access has opened a whole new world to our students. By developing navigation skills, students are able to move beyond the traditional classroom to a virtual world rich with experience. Students have utilized the Internet to explore a variety of subject areas over the last 6 months. Students in French class have taken virtual tours of the web museum, and participated in webquests to further their understanding of French impressionism. Students in Spanish class have utilized search engines to perform research on Spanish countries. Their findings evolved into comprehensive reports. Students in history class have also performed on line research to further their understanding of significant figures in American History. A wide variety of websites have provided a broader & more colorful view than could be obtained from traditional research methods. Students in the 3rd and 4th grade have begun to utilize search engines to research Florida’s history and a unit on the Solar System.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The creation of this project led to several very interesting challenges to overcome. One, of course, is the very prevalent issue of TIME. Everyone seems to be way over committed in our society from senior citizens all the way to elementary age children. One of the solutions was to designate specific times to set aside to work on the project. Another solution was to locate the students who were truly committed to making it a successful venture. Motivation became an issue to deal with in that this is our first entry into CyberFair and it was difficult to be guiding students through something with which we were unfamiliar ourselves. It happened through an enthusiastic attitude throughout the project and through sharing an intrinsic KNOWING that we were on the right track. A third challenge was a very limited knowledge of Web design. Our feeling of “How difficult can it be?” quickly changed to one of “WOW, those ‘guys’ who design Web pages are awesome!” We learned just how much there still is to learn. We used all our resources to discover the basics; on-line assistance, books, experienced Web designers. We all now look at web pages we visit with a more appreciative eye.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

Our CyberFair project is an exciting one for all involved; an opportunity for students learn about the environment then to teach both younger children as well as older citizens of the community. Once the connection with our natural world is established it becomes a committed part of the individual.

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

Our CyberFair Project tied into several areas of curriculum as well as state and local standards. We met standards in Science and Technology. Life Science areas covered run the gamut from Kindergarten through 8th Grade: classification of living things, similarities and differences between plants & animals, needs of living things, adaptations to various habitats, life cycles, plant and animal survival skills, needs of living things in relation to their environment, how living things adapt to their environments and respond to changes in them, interactions of living and nonliving things in an ecosystem, biodiversity. We did discover the need for more Technology in our curriculum and are in the process of developing a course within our school. Using the Internet for teaching and learning has become a very valuable method within our school environment. It appeals to all ages and has built-in feedback. The students are more actively involved in the learning process thus are truly engaged in that process.

Project Elements

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

Tools and technologies: Computers with printers, digital cameras, scanners, Web design software: Dreamweaver 4.0, Paint Shop Pro. Libraries, books, news articles, interviews with local authorities, local environmental protection agencies. The variety of tools gave us a thorough viewpoint of all aspects of our subject. Some of the individuals we discovered through Internet searches, then contacted personally. The personal perspective gave us insight into the emotional elements involved in preserving an environmental area. The students enjoyed hearing the personal touch about this sensitive area much more than the technological approach to the land, even though they were impressed with the wealth of specific information they could obtain through the computer.

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

Throughout this project students have been impressed with the people from all walks of life that are willing to become advocates for a piece of land. We have discovered professionals in ecology and environmental studies. We have found impassioned grandmothers willing to go in to dig out invasive plants. Our students have become as passionate about the Scrub area as any of the others we have enjoyed meeting. They are enthusiastic about getting in there to work. They experiment with a variety of art mediums to highlight the beauty found there. A recent fire in the area touched each student in the school for they all felt that personal connection to this unique and special land. Our area is in the midst of a severe drought, when we could see smoke across the street from the school (where the Scrub is located) the students became quite distraught. Most were eager to catch the news to find out the extent of the damage. Even First Grade students came in the next morning quite disturbed. We had to promise a trip to check out the damage as soon as possible.

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

Within our community there have been a number of events that show the impact of our project. Though the website has not been ‘live’ long enough for it to become the educational tool it is designed to become, there is a great deal of potential for it. The effort of research and development of the website allowed the students to become familiar with local government and how it works. It also made the school a more visible element within the community. The intent, which will indeed be a reality, is to increase the community (school and local) awareness of the treasure found in ‘our big backyard.’

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

There have been several Work Days for the Scrub area. The school was instrumental in recruiting volunteers to assist with those. Of course, the families of the school community are always willing to be involved in various projects in the area. The students have also developed an excellent working relationship with a number of local government agencies and are very comfortable in those situations.


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