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OUR PROJECT NARRATIVE

Home Project Narrative Bibliography CyberFair 2005

 

I.  PROJECT NARRATIVE

    A.  PROJECT OVERVIEW

        1.  Description of "Our Community"

        2.  Summary of Our Project

        3.  CyberFair Theme

        4.  Our Computer and Internet Access

        5.  Challenges We Had To Overcome

        6.  Our Project Sound Bite

    B.  PROJECT ELEMENTS

        1.  Curriculum Standards

        2.  Information Tools and Technologies Used

        3.  Acting as CyberFair "ambassadors"

        4.  Community Impact

        5.  Community Helpers and Volunteers

        6.  Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises

 

PROJECT OVERVIEW

 

1. Description of "Our Community"

Post is a great little piece of the Texas Panhandle. It is located forty-five minutes away from the metropolitan Lubbock area and has a very interesting and historical past. Our local community is mostly defined as the town of Post, Texas, and Garza County. As with every community, some parts reach out into and are affected by the larger communities of the general West Texas area. Sometimes called the Panhandle Plains in addition to being grouped with the rest of West Texas, our community shares a close bond with the rest of West Texas in identity and culture.

Post was built as a utopia in the early 1900s by its founder C.W. Post. C.W. is actually the person Post is most proud of. He was considered to be the Father of Advertisement. While C.W. had an excellent mind, it also led to his demise. C.W. suffered from chronic nervous breakdowns which led him to suicide. When Post lost C.W., we lost a part of our heart, but Post still honors him today.

Post also has much more to offer than its unique history. There are many attractions to this area for tourists and locals as described further in this site. We are very lucky to get to grow up in such a wonderful place and get to witness Post prosper into the future. Join us in this project as we show you the wonders of Post, Texas.

 

2. Summary of Our Project

After two brainstorming sessions, we chose to research the local attractions in our community for several reasons. We wanted to find out more about these attractions ourselves, since often we overlook the wonders in our own backyard, and we also wanted to reach out to this wonderful community with our interviews and research.

We chose to concentrate on both the natural and man-made local attractions since we didn't know a lot about the natural features at the beginning of our project. Just outside of town, one can find Lake Alan Henry, where people come from hundreds of miles away to fish in one of the best fishing and recreation lakes in Texas, the Brazos River, perhaps the most important resource and recreation area to the many communities it touches as well as providing the water for Lake Alan Henry, and the more than sixty world-renowned fossil sites, from which have been found new dinosaurs including one named after our town. In town can be found Old Mill Trade Days, a monthly arts, crafts, and other specialties fair which is flooded by visitors every first weekend of the month, the Garza Theatre, where you can find some of the area’s best theatrical productions, the Garza Hotel, a fully restored historic and beautiful building in which to stay, and the OS Ranch Museum, where people from all over the world come and see the incredible fine art collections.

We paired up; each team chose a topic, did background research on the history of the attractions, came up with interview questions and found some amazing experts to interview.


3. CyberFair Theme

This year's CyberFair project theme is "Prepare and Unite". Our project could not be more perfectly related to this theme unless the actual theme was "Post, Texas". During our research we began to realize that our community is very united and "together" and almost everything is being preserved for the future.

For example, when we researched the Brazos River and Lake Alan Henry, we found that they are both important water resources right now and with all the preparation being taken by their governing authorities, they will continue to be well after we are all gone. When we interviewed Dr. Chatterjee, one of the world's finest experts on prehistoric birds, we came to understand that knowing and preserving our past will help future generations become aware of what has been and prepare students for possible future studies in paleontology and the sciences. Also, the OS Ranch Museum is full of one of a kind paintings and sculptures that the owner, Giles McCrary, supplies from his own world renowned collection just for our and our future generations’ enjoyment. Our Old Mill Trade Days, Garza Theatre, and Garza Hotel bring in more people and tourists to our town which means more income and a better economy. Preserving these attractions means preserving our future.

This project was a real eye opener for everyone involved. Post is an exhilarating place to live. It never came to our minds that this small place is a piece of the past and soon to be a part of our future, until now. We have these incredible places to visit that our forefathers helped form and, with help from our own community members, these places will thrive continuously throughout future generations.


4. Our Computer and Internet Access

Although the majority of the students here in Post don’t have computers at home, much less internet access, our school was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in the TIP Grant http://www.tea.state.tx.us/opge/disc/tip2/overview.html. The TIP Grant has provided an Apple G4 iBook for every middle school student, integrating the internet and technology as a daily part of classroom life. Most of the online research was conducted during class time, as well as developing the framework and questions for our project. A much higher percentage of students participating in this project have internet access available at home than that of the overall student population.

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home: 21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom: more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom: dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet: 2-3


5. Challenges We Had To Overcome

TIME: We as a team have overcome several difficulties and roadblocks while working on this project. I think that the biggest difficulty we had was the time issue. We tried to complete this project in just three weeks. We solved this problem by working harder individually and working as a team. We tried to keep to a strict schedule where we got a little piece done every day. We even took time out of our weekends and after school to complete our research.

COORDINATION: Another challenge was confusion concerning who was doing what. We cleared that up by sitting down and talking everything out.

LACK OF INFORMATION: The next roadblock was that Post, Texas, is such a small town that it was very difficult to find any information. Almost no books have been published about Post, and nothing recently. We overcame this by finding most of our information on the web, but we had to revise our search queries over and over to find good information specific to our community which goes back to our previous problem, time. It took a lot of time that we didn’t really have to find good sources.

TO INTERVIEW OR NOT TO INTERVIEW: Four of the five teams had personal interviews scheduled where the interviewee didn’t show up. We overcame this difficulty by trying to reschedule whenever possible and the other teams that couldn’t reschedule or find someone else to interview had to rely more on their other sources. Because Post is so remote, we couldn’t do some of our interviews face-to-face since a few of our experts live in Lubbock. We overcame this by scheduling interviews through e-mail or over the telephone.

CYBERFAIR “NEWBIES”: I think the final difficulty while doing our project was that no one from our school has ever done this before. We have been doing our best and we are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish with what little knowledge we started out with.

 

6. Our Project Sound Bite

Working on this CyberFair project has let us see Post in a different way. We think this project will contribute to our community by Post gaining recognition as a small town with large and interesting things to offer.



PROJECT ELEMENTS


1) How did your activities and research for this International Schools CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our project supports a great many of the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) state standards, but especially focuses on

§110.24(b)(13)(A-I) Reading/inquiry/research. The student inquires and conducts research using a variety of sources; and

§110.24(b)(20)(A-G) Writing/inquiry/research. The student uses writing as a tool for learning and research.

Additional standards supported include §110.24(b): 1A, 1C, 1D, 2A-F, 4A, 5A-B, 8B-D, 14C, 15C, 15E-F, 15H, 16B-F, 17A-H, 18A-I, 19A-C, 21A-B, 22B-C, 24A-B. You can find detailed descriptions of the 8th grade state standards at: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter110/ch110b.html#110.24.


2) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

We used our iBook laptop computers to look up information and used the internet to research our topics. Several team members went to the Garza County Historical Museum and looked at the information that they had. We also conducted interviews with experts on our local attractions. We used tape recorders or the software program Sound Studio to record our interviews to help us take better notes, and we used cameras to take pictures of our attractions. Email was the last essential technology tool we used to collaborate back and forth with each other and communicate with our teacher on assignment questions and daily summaries.


3) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person?

While conducting our interviews and doing our research we told people around town about the CyberFair and about our category. As we found out more information, we shared it with family and friends. Everyone we have talked to has seemed really interested and most can’t wait to see our project online.

 

4) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

The people in our community haven't seen the website yet, but I think once they do they probably will learn some new things about Post and we will probably get some good feedback on the website. Our project will make a difference because it has given us a different view of own our community. We have attractions that no other places have. When people across the world see our web site, they will learn something new and interesting about our community. It will open up new ways to make our community a more visible place for visitors and for our own citizens. It hopefully will bring in more business and more income to Post as more people become aware of the wonderful attractions here. Everyone we have talked to has shown a lot of pride in our community and has been proud that we, as the next generation, are interested in Post’s past, present and future.

 

5) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

One of our biggest helpers was Mrs. Swim of course. People in our community, like the museum curators, historians and librarians, helped us understand more about what our project was about. Much of our information came from personal interviews with experts who live within 60 miles of our town. Without the help of our community we would have nothing. They helped us a lot with history of Post. We were so fortunate that so many people volunteered their time to talk to us and give us more information about their specialties. We would especially like to thank all of our interviewees, Dr. Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University, The Pratchers of the OS Ranch, Randy Truesdell as Director of Lake Alan Henry, Naomi Matsler from the Garza Theatre, the Garza County Historical Museum, the OS Ranch Museum, our school librarian, Mrs. Vaughn, the City of Post Public Library, and all of our parents and friends for their help and support.


6) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises

This project was great! As we’ve said before, this project was a real eye opener for everyone involved. We learned so much about our community that we just had no clue about before. Post has many interesting things that aren't commonly found in small towns, and, although we are small, we didn’t realize that, thanks to events like Trade Days and the Garza Theatre plays, we get a lot of people from different places to come visit. It helped us learn about some great things that we have overlooked. Here are some interesting things we had no idea about before:

• We had no idea we had a dinosaur (Postosuchus) named after our town!
• We had no idea that our own Lake Alan Henry was one of the top ten lakes in all of Texas, and, if you are into fishing, it’s one of the top five for bass fishing.
• We had no idea that the Garza Theatre, which now puts on plays, was originally one of the old elegant movie theatres of the 1950’s.

Personally we learned that the effort we put into the project was well worth the end result, and we were amazed by how much our experts knew. We would definitely recommend that other students participate in this project. We didn’t expect to find out so much about ourselves through this research.

 

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