Project Groundhog began as a project of the STEM~Net Primary Working Group. It involved having students in Grades K - 3 from 6 communities in the province track the weather for the 6 weeks following Groundhog Day (February 2) to determine if the groundhog was an accurate predictor of the weather. The project used the resources ot the STEM~Net Class Project Network, using email and newsgroups. The pilot schools and cooperating teachers were:
What made Project Groundhog so successful?
Project Groundhog has a direct curriculum focus. It allows teachers to cover specific objectives in science, math, social studies, and Language Arts. It allows for the introduction of basic statistical analysis, graphing and charting. Project Groundhog provides an excellent vehicle for tying these objectives into a motivating, interesting, not to say FUN, package for students which greatly enhances learning outcomes.
Is the telecommunications aspect essential to Project Groundhog?
It would have been impossible for the students in such diverse areas of the province to exchange this data without the use of telecommuncations technology. The sharing of data, and other information, greatly expanded the students world view.
Is it difficult to participate in Project Groundhog?
The changes to how Project Groundhog 96 will run make it even easier for classes to participate at whatever level they are comfortable with. For example, a kindergarten class may wish to "twin" with one other Kindergarten class while a Grade 3 class may elect to collect data from many different areas of the province or country. Another class may decide to track 2 or 3 different regions. It's up to you!!
Schools do not need WWW access to participate in Project Groundhog as most of the communication will be done through the newsgroups.
The materials needed to get started will be available on-line at the Project Groundhog homepage. But, as most primary teachers know, once children get into a topic, the sky's the limit when it comes to ideas.
Is Project Groundhog technologically challenging?
NO!! Most teachers will be able to participate in Project Groundhog without any difficulty. One of the real benefits of participating in such a project is the support given and received by the participating teachers.
In the 1995 pilot year, we all supported each other. At the moment 5 of the 6 pilot schools plan to participate again and we will be available to offer technical and moral support to new participants. Bill Jameson has offered to coordinate the program in 1996, although he will not be teaching in the classroom. He will also be available to answer technical questions.
If you are interested in participating in Project Groundhog, or want more information, please contact either Bill Jameson or Wendy King.
But what do the Groundhogs have to say about this?
For a message from Johnson, the Groundhog from St. John's, who made a brief appearance at Hook, Line and Net, click here.