A Journey To Alaska

Project URL: www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnetusa/kreeve/alaskaVT.htm 

How it works:
Students are invited to take a virtual  trip to Alaska. Before starting out, they check the climate online at: http://adn.com/weather/. There are about five stops along the trip with planned activities at each stop. To remember their trip, students copy and paste photos from http://dced.state.ak.us/tourism/student.htm (the official student information guide to Alaska) into a drawing document that they save in a folder on the desktop. These and other photos are used to make a scrapbook page about Alaska. Another activity includes posting a fact about Alaska on an eboard--an online corkboard at
http://AlaskaCOM.eboard.com. (The password is "snow".) After reading the postings on the e-board, students post a new fact that they learned from the Student Information Guide to Alaska:  http://dced.state.ak.us/tourism/student.htm or the Kids Corner web pages: http://mms.gov/alaska/kids/. Students also design and print a t-shirt using transfer paper and an inkjet printer. Then they get the chance to shop online to be outfitted for an Alaskan dog-sled ride. Students discover that learning with computers and the Internet is fun.

Standards addressed:  
Students compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify variations in the physical environment, apply critical-thinking skills, communicate effectively, and use problem-solving and decision-making processes. They read and comprehend, read to gather information, write to record ideas, and use available technology. Lastly, they identify the mathematics in everyday situations.

Materials used:
A computer with an Internet connection is required, along with an e-board membership at http://eboard.com ($29.00 or view mine--login: Alaskacom password: snow), KidPix drawing software to create a scrapbook page and design a t-shirt, transfer paper, journals, and an Inkjet printer.

The students:
Students should have some basic knowledge of computers, specifically word processing and drawing software. This program is intended for third through fifth grade students but can be adapted with middle school students. Students can work on this project individually or in cooperative groups.

Overall value:
In A Journey To Alaska, students undertake a memorable journey without leaving their classroom. They are given the opportunity to visit stores and "shop" online. They learn and share unique facts about Alaska. Students enjoy creating a scrapbook page and designing a t-shirt representing their travels. They problem-solve with facts about Iditarod, the famous dog races. This program teaches that the pursuit of knowledge is fun--thereby helping kids to become lifelong learners!
I found it helpful to create an e-board or cork board for students to post to at http://eboard.com. I have a friend living in Anchorage, Alaska. He has posted pictures about Alaska to the e-board and the students ask him questions about Alaska.


About the teacher:
Karen Reeve is an elementary computer teacher at Wainwright Elementary in the Houston Independent School District. She has been teaching for 24 years and is in her 15th year as a computer teacher. Karen is a member of the Texas Computer Educators Association and has presented her computer lessons to teachers at the state TCEA conference in Austin in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002.


Subject Areas:    
Social Studies

Grade Levels: