ArcNews Online

Spring 2002
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South Dakota Classroom Projects Honored

Activities South Dakota students participated in included journaling, the analyzing of imaging photos, and experiencing digital technologies.

Three classroom projects in South Dakota were selected as outstanding examples of the utilization of GIS technology in a K-12 instructional program. The teachers and students selected for this recognition received expense-paid trips to Bozeman, Montana, to participate in the regional Showcase of Outstanding GIS Classroom Projects. The showcase was held October 8-10, 2001, at the Comfort Inn, Bozeman. During the conference, outstanding projects from nine schools in the region were presented by the students and teachers.

The three projects featured at the showcase are from classrooms in Rutland Junior High School (Rutland), Axtell Park Middle School (Sioux Falls), and Douglas High School (Box Elder).

The Rutland Junior High School project was an interdisciplinary effort headed by teachers Sue Filler, Mike Satter, and DaNeil Olson. Each teacher directed and supervised a portion of the integrating technology unit he or she developed. The types of technology used focused on computers, the Internet, digital cameras, scanners, GPS units, and ArcView software. The unit involved a variety of activities aimed at click to see enlargementmotivating students as active workers in engaged learning. Four final projects were created during the unit. Personal Web pages using Microsoft's Front Page software were constructed by each student.

In small groups, all students participated in creating and leading younger students through a GPS scavenger hunt. An individualized literature-based, student-created ArcView project was developed by each student. These GIS projects were linked to each student's personal Web page. The students collected waypoints using the GPS, used digital cameras to photograph their family home, and wrote historical essays about their home. Using this information, a teacher-directed class GPS/GIS project of the school district was created using the photos and essays as hot links to the waypoints.

The Axtell Park Middle School project, led by science teacher Cassie Soeffing, used ArcView and GPS in the classroom to incorporate students' interest in animals. They traveled to the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls on a field trip. While there, they collected digital images of selected animals, drew that animal, and observed the animal (journaling). Upon returning to school they did extensive Internet and library research on the animal. This information was then hot linked to a digital map of the zoo. The GPS was used to locate specific animal exhibits within the zoo boundaries.

Rebecca Lane, computer studies teacher at Douglas High School, directed a project in which the students created a virtual walking tour of the historic Business and home districts of Rapid City. By using the historic walking home and Business tour guides created by Norm Nelson, the students chose 12 homes and 12 Businesses, took a digital picture of each, and found their latitude and longitude locations using a GPS. The students then put the information along with the narrative from the tour guide into the ArcView software to make a map that contained hot links to the selected sites.

The South Dakota students and teachers at the showcase had an opportunity to interact with others from North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. The three days of events included presentations by Piet Martens, Montana State University astrophysicist; Jerry Brown, Foundations of Discovery; Pat McClurg, dean of education at the University of Wyoming; and George Seielstad, professor of aerospace studies at the University of North Dakota and director of the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC). Students also had an opportunity to use their GIS and GPS skills to explore the Bozeman area and win prizes.

The showcase was sponsored by the Education Public Access Resource Center (EdPARC) of UMAC. The showcase conference was coordinated by Van Shelhamer, professor of agricultural education at Montana State University and Montana EdPARC coordinator. South Dakota EdPARC activities were coordinated by Mary O'Neill at the Engineering Resource Center, South Dakota State University.

For more information, contact Van Shelhamer (tel.: 406-994-3693, e-mail: or Mary O'Neill (tel.: 605-688-5597, e-mail:

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