took six months to complete and was nothing like we imagined it
would be. The year before, we had joined our school's web
club and learned how to make a basic site. We had no idea
that this site would be so different from our first! The
challenges began on Day One!
made a 'trial'
site and we could pick any subject we wanted to do. With the
competition site, we had to find a subject that we
could do well, would be a valuable addition to the
ThinkQuest library, and fill a void in Internet
sites. This was NOT easy and it took us weeks
to decide on the subject raptors.
The one thing we
noticed about birding sites was that they didn't
have information that we needed for assignments.
If the information was there, we didn't understand
it because it was written for adults. We
decided to make ours for children since birds of
prey are really interesting to kids and anything
that makes assignments easier has to be good.
We ran into problems
with ThinkQuest rules lots of times. We developed a
partnership with a company that makes website
talking characters. They were going to donate
'Chester', a talking rodent, to us. This fell through
because of the 'no logo' ruling. At first we were
very disappointed, but we soon realized that Chester
would not have been 'ours' no matter how cool he
was. Then we collected sites where there were
lots of bird sounds and videos to use as links.
Unfortunately that didn't work out so well either,
because they were selling stuff and that's against
the rules. Even non-profit organizations sell stuff
so that they can keep operating. This
challenged us to develop a more creative approach to
building the site.
We must have sent a
hundred emails to birding experts all over the world
including a small list of questions. We got
about 30 completed. Some didn't answer and
some came back undeliverable. If you figured
out the time that Gerhardt put into emailing and
then divided it by how many responses we got, it
would be about 2 hours each! We got a better
view of raptors worldwide but at a great cost in
We needed a more
global view of raptors and what is going on around
the world. The global interviews were good but
we needed team members that could find out what was
happening in their countries. We were lucky
enough to find a team member in Bulgaria and one in
England. Not only did they help us with that,
but they brought other strengths to the project as
Time was our enemy
here because we worked way too slowly in the
beginning. We didn't use our time well and
ended up in a rush at the end. The deadline
was 3 days after spring break so we had to be done
about a week and a half earlier than that.
That was hard!
We didn't think too much about the challenges that faced us.
We just kept going, trying to overcome whatever obstacle we
found. By doing this, we developed a really good team
that drew on each other's strengths. Here are some
Gerhardt: We found out that he is a very good
writer, researcher, and citation maker. He
also has unfailing enthusiasm even when he's doing
something he doesn't like so much. He was our
emailer, note taker for trips, and site editor.
Minnie: She was a good researcher in spite of the
fact that she didn't enjoy it very much. She took
pictures on our team field trips, wrote trip
reports, and became our owl pellet expert. Graphic
creation was another skill she developed while
making the site.
Along with Gerhardt, Isabella, and Issie, Max was
responsible for the trivia game. He developed and
typed questions for it. Gerhardt and he drew
the original game board that Issie later drew.
Max also did research, citations, and trip reports.
He worked on quizzes and puzzles.
Jerry: Living far away in Bulgaria, Jerry
still made his presence known. He would give
us his opinions on the site and did many
fantastically written reports. His reports
always came with great pictures as illustration.
He unfailingly met deadlines and supplied the team
with more than they expected with each assignment.
He has a great sense of humor, too!
What can you say about our great artist except
"She's terrific!!" She draws so well that
people at our school think her pictures are
photographs. Even though she had lots of
drawings to make and they took a whole lot of time,
she also went to a raptor center for this project,
took pictures, and wrote a report. Her ideas
for site titles and character names were very
helpful to the team. The characters she created
molded the site into what it is today.
Isabella: While everyone has been working on
the site, making corrections, creating pdf files,
and transferring information from MS Word to the
webpage, Isabella has done this and some special
assignments. She added the pictures to the
site that open on the same page, added text
identification to all links, pictures, and drawings,
and did the hyperlinks. She is responsible
for making the printable pages for the site.
Our Coach: She
taught us everything about how to make a website and
was the person who helped us understand what a good
site needed to have.
She also set up our trips and found our information
Our Assistant Coach: She gave ideas for our
trips, and was the one who knew the most about
raptors. She advised us and gave us many
Our site is
best viewed with: 1024x768 screen resolution, Acrobat Reader 7+,
Adobe Flash Player 9, and Windows Media Player.