1. Description of Our Community
We live in city of Lakeland in Central Florida. The name Lakeland tells about our city. It is the city of lakes. Lakeland is a small city located in between Tampa and Orlando. There is lots of new construction, making Lakeland a fast growing city with more and more citizens every year. Lakeland is located in the "Bone Valley". It is called the “Bone Valley” because we can go on the fossil hunt and find shark teeth and bones of animals from long ago everywhere. It is also a center of phosphate mining. Lakeland was built by phosphate mining companies in the middle of Florida orange groves. The early miners called the phosphate “Florida’s gold”. Phosphate industry still employs tens of thousands of Central Florida residents. People mine phosphate to make fertilizer. The "Bone Valley" makes 1/4 of all fertilizer in the world and ¾ of all fertilizer in the United States. Fertilizer helps farmers grow healthier and more food. That is how our little community helps feed the United States and the world. The lakes in and around Lakeland make it a great place for outdoor recreation. Fishing, boating, camping, swimming and walking and biking trails draw thousands of people out every week. Lakeland and central Florida have tropical climate. Summers are very hot and rainy. Winters are beautiful with mild temperature and sunny days. This kind of climate allows people to do things outdoors all year long. The warm, tropical climate helps many kinds of plants and animals live in Florida. Our lawns are green, flowers are blooming, and you can smell the oranges for miles away. We are also home of all kinds of animals such as alligators, Florida panther, manatees, and tortoise.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our city is growing like many other Florida cities – growing fast. As many people move in our area,. new houses, businesses, schools, and malls are replacing nature. Animals that lived in that habitat, are chased to find other places to live. Our water resources are disappearing. People and businesses are using more and more, building flood cannals, changing the courses of rivers that flow into our lakes. Every weekend thousands of people go fishing and boating on our rivers and lakes. The lakes are full of people having fun. Life is great in Florida. For people, that is! But, under the water surface the life is disappearing. As people are enjoying their life, the last 3000 of the Florida manatees are fighting to keep theirs. This large gentle sea cow is being chased away from its habitat by houses and malls, cut by boat motors, drowned in the flood cannals, and choked by fishing hooks. Very few of those people having fun stop and think about the manatee below. Today, Florida manatee is on the list of endangered species. Our project is made to help students in our school, people in our community and around the world understand what is going on with manatees and how each of us can help manatees survive. We would like to raise awareness on this gentle animal struggle and show people how they can get involved to save the population of Florida manatee.
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:2-3
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dial-up modem
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:2-3
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Our biggest obstacles were lack of time and computers. March is the time of testing and it is very hard to spend hours of research and still do work. Also,our class has only two computers and we cannot all work on it together.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Our students have learned that they can be activelly involved in solving community issues even if they are onlu kids! Our entire school community is proud of our hard work and creativity!
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
We used this project to enrich curriculum for the group of nine 2nd grade students. It was an extension of both social studies and science content in which we explore local history and environment. Additionally the project has reinforced reading and writing standard, as well set a foundation to meeting National educational technology standards for the students. (Teacher’s comments)
We learned a lot. We learned how we can research and find information on Internet, in library and in our community. We used e-mail for communication. We also learned that many people want to help us learn, not only our teachers and parents. It helped to work in group because we could ask each other questions and help each other understand. We think that learning this way is great – it is fun and we learn much more than just from one book. Also, sometimes when we learn something we have more questions. Now we know where to find answers. We also liked that we could make decisions about what to learn and how to do it.(student comments)