Project 1: The Space Exploration Project
The Virtual Solar System project will expose two classes of Earth Science 2203 to the latest information on our Solar System gathered by scientists and their probes and placed on the World Wide Web for all to discover. Up to now, this course has been tau ght from a twenty year old text book and limited resources from our school and public libraries. Even if the print resources were available, by their very nature they were already years out of date.
Guided by the classroom teacher, students in this project will use the World Wide Web to discover the characteristics of the planets and moons in our solar system, learn about the Kuiper Belt, the Asteroid Belt and other wonders of our Solar System befor e moving on to material on outer space to learn about other stars and galaxies. After researching each component of the course students will apply their research to some project designed by the classroom teacher for that unit. Projects might include mu ltimedia presentations that could include images, videos and audio clips taken from the Web for that purpose.
The main curriculum areas addressed by this project are Earth Science and Technology Education with the focus obviously on the Earth Science Curriculum. The curriculum offered to students in Clarenville High is varied and the school has undertaken a new technology initiative to enhance learning through the integration of technology. This project will fit very well with that initiative. The intended learning outcomes for this project will be the exact learning outcomes as prescribed by the provincial c urriculum for the Astronomy section of Earth Science 2203. The new updated materials from the Web will give students a greater understanding of the universe than could have been possible from a text publish in the early Seventies.
A project similar to this was attempted during the last school year with the teacher gathering the materials and then passing them out to the class. The students were not actively involved in the discovery of new information because only one student cou ld access the Internet at a time through a single 14.4 Kbps modem. With the Stellar Schools Internet connection, the student will become the active researcher and learner as each of them discover new resources that appeal to each individual's learning st yle. Other materials such as videos, magazines and cable television will be used to present the material in other forms. These resources are mostly contained within the school others will be gathered by the classroom teacher.
Because this project is so closely tied to the existing Earth Science 2203 curriculum. It's effectiveness will be evaluated as the students are evaluated during and at the end of each unit. In addition, at the beginning and end of the project, students w ill answer a questionnaire that will specifically target the effectiveness of using the Internet for the enhancement of learning and it's impact upon the curriculum. This questionnaire will be designed by the course teacher in conjunction with the school 's technology committee.