by Linda Haskell
Team Pemaquid, this winter, has twice made use of ArcGIS, (geographic information system) that allows users to display and analyze data/information.
The first application involved students completing a story journal for the book, Refugee. Students had to choose one of the three main characters and complete a journal with mapped coordinates showing his/her route toward freedom. Students writing the narrative had to select the most important events, summarize them, and rewrite them from third to first person. They also had to create a map, place pins, and add photos with links for more information about each place. When playing the journal for an audience, the viewer could read the journal on the left and see the map move with links, photos and/or additional information on the right.
In their science class, students were able to build upon their first experience to complete another story journal that analyzed an invasive species of their choice such as the Chinese Mystery Snail or the Green Crab. The journal explained the organisms origins, importation, transportation, reproduction, harmful effects, methods for controlling them and ways to eradicate them. Along the right side was a moving map that showed shaded areas with links, photos, and more information about the species.
This project, while time-consuming, allowed students to combine many skills around informational reading, note taking, citing sources, summarizing, and critical thinking. In addition, they have also learned how to create something using technology rather than just be a consumer of it. These are skills they will be able to transfer into the workforce later in life.