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.