Multidisciplinary 26, 28 • Science 30 • Computer Science 32 • Geography 34 • Mathematics 36 • Tips and Tricks 36
The Adventures of the 109’ers
By Diane Randolph
Wireless computer labs, the
Internet, and blogging allow
students to connect with the
world, help foster curiosity, and create
real-time learning. Students are empowered to look beyond the familiar,
ask questions, and discover. This past
school year, my fifth grade students,
the 109’ers, were able to do just that.
We used technology to enrich their
study of geology, culture, language
arts, and mathematics.
My students first researched the
Arctic region and spent a month
studying its geography, climate,
traditional cultures, and animals.
We then met and discussed
our findings with a friend of mine,
Doug Clevenger, a.k.a. “Arctic Doug.”
Clevenger is a documentary photojournalist, and he helped us discover
how geography, language arts, science, and mathematics connect to
the community far outside our door.
We bombarded him with questions
and developed a classroom blog
we affectionately named Top of the
He took us along on his assignments,
and we had many cyberadventures. We
met interesting people, played hockey,
and went ice fishing. We witnessed a
solar halo—known as a sun dog—and
saw huge mounds of earth-covered ice
called pingos. We learned the traditions and norms of the Inuit people,
compared climate, and met other fifth
graders from a school in the village of
We blogged two times a week as
a whole class and documented our
learning through the use of ULead
video-editing software, Excel graphing, Internet researching, and expository writing. We used technology as
a means for expression and as an illustration of concept mastery. As the
project developed, we became acutely
aware that we live in a global community where people, cultures, and life
experiences are both alike and different from ours.
The ULead software allowed us to
create multimedia presentations to
illustrate what we were learning. We
mastered animation, created movies, and added narrative voice-overs.
These presentations were taken on
tour and presented to our community
at a board of education meeting.
Students learned the traditions and norms of the
Inuit people, compared climate, and met other fifth
graders from a school in the village of Tuktoyaktuk.