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an opportunity to access and use the internet for research and study.

Joseph D. Windham

Type of entry:

  • project

Type of activity:

  • hands-on
  • inquiry lab
  • group/cooperative learning

Target audience

  • Biology
  • Advanced/AP Biology
  • Genetics, Biotechnology

Background information

What question does this activity help students answer:

  • How to begin to do any kind of hands on research.
  • How to develop a "Problem" and some systematic effort to resolve it.

Notes for teacher:
If equipment and technology is available for internet activity, monitor for appropriate activity by the students while online. Network "watchers " sometimes limit student searches.

Required of students:
Students need to check email, or whatever their source for reply is, daily.

Preparation time needed:
Varies depending upon project level, student level, etc.

Class time needed:
Again, varies with the project level, amount of response, etc. Teacher will have to make decision depending upon circumstances. Manytimes gathering data can be done before and after school.

This project grew out of the perceived need to introduce the students to the Internet and the WWW.

Abstract of Activity

This activity is a synopsis of how a classroom in a rural school was able to begin an introduction to the Internet (WWW) for 9th and 10th graders. These students seem to be caught in the middle--technology seems to be starting in the lower grades in many schools. These are students who may graduate before secondary school technology is in place.


Materials needed:

1. Computer with high speed modem (at least 14,400 bps.)

a. Macintosh
May require software such as Internet Valet, ($39.95, MacWarehouse or Macmall)

b. IBM or clone Internet provider usually provides software

c. Both platforms need browser (Netscape preferred, and is no charge for educators)

2. Internet access

a. Institution (school) T-1 line

b. Local internet provider

c. Printer

d. Working knowledge of HTML (hypertext markup language )
Clarisworks 4.0 with html converter.
Adobe Pagemill ($99.00 MacWarehouse)

3. Telephone line.

a. May be either dedicated or will work with most PBX.


Define and set up your problem for research. Let the classes pick a project from reading the local newspaper or health clinic materials. If you have a local university, discuss with the biology department a "new" topic of interest. Teaching hospitals would be especially helpful.

Set up your "experiment". What data would you like to gather? What are some choices? (Teacher input needed). What are you going to do with the data once collected? How can you corroborate the data? Centers for Disease Control is good.

Create a "home page" on the network to reflect the data you are interested in collecting. This will take some teacher expertise or possibly some outside help. It is really not hard. Adobe PageMill makes it as easy as cutting a pie.

Find a place for the homepage on the net. America Online allows customers to place a page at no charge. Also, email to classweb@wentworth.com or URL to http://www.classroom.net/ classweb will connect you to a place for educators on the web. Many local providers will allow a page for a small fee.

Method of Evaluation/Assessment:

Evaluation of this type of project is difficult. Whether the students solve the problem is not relevant. It is their participation, thinking skills used to define the problem and draw conclusions, oral and visual presentations to demonstrate their conclusions, etc. It is, by the very nature of the project, very subjective. Enlisting the aid of a nearby community college in setting up and evaluating the project may be helpful.

Expansion/Reinforcement/Additional Ideas

From the introduction to the net, and from setting up some sort of project or experiment or data collection, it is hoped that the students will become interested enough to take skills learned and reach out into this wonderful world that is now available to them. Classrooms can no longer have walls, especially in the sciences. The book Educators World Wide Web Tour Guide, published by Wentworth Worldwide Media, Inc., 1866 Colonial Village Lane, Lancaster, PA 17601, is an opening to the world, not just in science, but in all subject areas.

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