It has been quite a journey. What seemed like a fairly simple task (to produce a Thinkquest) turned out to be a challenging, daunting, satisfying and educational one. We decided to pick 'Wetlands' as our topic because the school was about to build one on the school grounds. We didn't know much about wetlands and their impact on the environment but it was relevant to us and we had developed a sense of interest when the bulldozers arrived to commence the work.
We started with meetings that our teacher organised but we ran. We brainstormed the term 'wetland' and started to allocate tasks to each of us. For example - one boy was given the task of researching flora and another girl was asked to research flora. Some students interviewed the principal and relevant teachers. We found some wonderful information about the flora that was to be introduced into the wetland and what purpose they were selected for. All of us read books from the library or printouts fro m the internet about wetlands. We each kept a record of all sources that we used to gather our data.
We shared our information both formally (in meetings) and informally (in the playground chatting). Our formal meetings were not held very often but usually when we needed to get a burst of activity. Our teacher would start us off by refering us back to our concept web we had made in an earlier meeting.
It was important that OUR wetland remained the focus of the Thinkquest. We envisaged all of our school using it as a learning tool. We all decided that the fauna and flora would reflect our wetland and that the profiles of the flora and fauna would be brief. Hopefully encouraging further research and understandings.
All of us loved experimenting with Flash 8 and Dreamweaver. In fact we probably spent too much time in that area, but it was worth it to see our time lapse movie of the development of the wetland. All of the team contributed in some way to the creation of the movie. Our teacher showed us some simple shape and colour transitions and we went from there. What took us hours to do at the start of our journey took us a few minutes at the end.
We all feel we learned a diversity of things from this project. From web page construction to researching flora and fauna to interviewing principals; we were all challenged. At every stage the group remained positive and encouraging to each other. As the time was running out we seemed to work together better. Compromise was more easily found at the end than at the beginning.
And so we remain very proud that we completed the task. Our Thinkquest invites a hands on approach to the study of our wetland. It speaks of maps and of observation. We believe that these studies will ultimately bring a new found respect. A respect that can have local and global influences. One school of better inforned students is an admirable goal to achieve. We believe we can and have assisted with this goal.
Matthew, Rebecca, Max, Natasha, Marissa,
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