Sandra R. Levin
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
University of Illinois
1310 S. 6th St.
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
v: (217) 244-0537
f: (217) 244-7620
Education, K12; Education, higher; Research, academic
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Creation of new ideas, products, or services; Technology transfer ; Leverage of public funding; Partnerships between public and private sector
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Other: electronic mail messages
At the University of Illinois, in the Spring of 1992, Sandra R. Levin, Eva E. Toth, & Cheryll Douglas conducted a project title: Earth Day Treasure Hunt. Students from around the world participated through an educational network know as FrEdMail, and the Internet. We felt this project was extremely successful mainly due to students who participated using the Internet. We have included a summary of the project.
Summary of the Earth Day Treasure Hunt Project Three doctoral students from the University of Illinois established a three way partnership and took on the roles of project coordinators. Active participants included the project coordinators at the University of Illinois, local elementary schools and elementary, middle and high school classrooms throughout the United States and several European countries. We used an existing computer-based network, called FrEdMail, to connect the participants and invited others to join who had access to educational networks on the Internet. The tasks of sending and receiving e-mail messages, organizing and verifying the clues submitted, assembling the treasure hunts, responding to participants’ transmission problems and sending certificates to the participants were divided among the project coordinators.
Twenty sites participated in the project. In some classrooms, each student submitted their own set of clues. In other classrooms, one or two sets of clues were discussed and formulated by the class and submitted. The participants ranged from grades 3 through 9.
As each set of clues was sent to the coordinator, it was reviewed and categorized as easy, medium, hard, or challenging. The participants were asked to include the reference that was used in formulating the clues so that we could verify the accuracy of the information. By the deadline for submission of clues, over 100 sets of clues were to be verified and assembled into treasure hunts. This was four times the number of clues expected which greatly increased the project coordinators work load. Four treasure hunts instead of one were assembled based on level of difficulty. Here is an example taken from the easy treasure hunt:
Spend the evening at the ball game and discuss plans for getting to your next destination. After the game, board a bus to travel east. Clue 1. This is the oldest city on the Mississippi River. Clue 2. 1.5 – 2 hours away from its state capital city. Clue 3. It’s about 31 degrees latitude and 92 degrees longitude. Clue 4. It has one of the first found Indian mounds “The Emerald Mounds” Clue 5. Its state flower is the Magnolia and state bird is the Mockingbird. STUDENT SOURCE: THE NEW RAND MCNALLY COLLEGE WORLD ATLAS.
Several days before Earth Day, the treasure hunts were uploaded to all the project participants. We asked that they conduct the treasure hunt withholding the last set of clues until the end. The deadline of one week to complete the treasure hunt was extended to two weeks since some of the teachers stated that the treasure hunts were too long. After the two week deadline the treasure hunt solutions were sent.
Taking all this into account, most participants enjoyed the Earth Day Treasure Hunt and commented on the educational value of such network-based projects. Some teachers took this opportunity to introduce students to several reference books in their school libraries, others used it as an opportunity to teach the students how to use CD- ROM and network databases, while others used it as a training session on uploading and downloading files from the network.