Quaker Valley students take part in Pennsylvania geography webinar

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It's not often elementary school students get so excited about a social studies lesson that they jump up and down, slap each others' hands and yell “Woo!” when they get the right answers.

But that's what happened last week when three Edgeworth Elementary School fourth-grade classes participated in a webinar event with fourth-graders in two other schools elsewhere in the state.

They were part of the state Department of Education's and Chester County Intermediate Unit's “Where in PA?” program.

Gabrielle Miller, Edgeworth librarian, said students at the Quaker Valley school have been preparing all year for the event.

They were challenged to find the location of the other two schools and to prepare a presentation with clues about where their own school is located.

Each school gave clues using Blackboard Collaborate, an online platform projected onto screens that students at all three schools could see at the same time.

Miller said students used a Power Point presentation and worked with Sandra Calgaro, technology teacher at Edgeworth, to use PhotoShop. They introduced clues as a news broadcast with some students acting as reporters and others holding and hiding behind a yellow banner with the words Western Pennsylvania as a backdrop.

Newscasters reported weird sightings in the area, such as a girl on top of the Point State Park fountain.

Miller said the presentation was inspired by the “Wacky Wednesday” book by Theo LeSieg (Dr. Seuss).

Other clues were: the average temperature (77), population (3,835), and terrain (knolls and grassy).

They told other students their school was located 13 miles from Point State Park; many students can walk or ride a bike to school; and famous author Mary Roberts Rinehart lived 15 minutes from their school,

Other classrooms presented clues with song remixes and rapping and a game in which a cab driver, played by a student, asked students in his class questions about their location. Students were awarded fake money for correct answers.

Afterward, students were given 25 minutes to research clues to guess where the other schools were located.

Each of the fourth-grade classes was permitted to ask one question of the other schools, which all the fourth-graders could hear, before they made their final guesses and the “big reveal” was made.

Emma Pulkowski, Claire Kuzma and McAuley Kriebel made one incorrect guess, but when Emma found a town with the exact population that one of the classrooms gave in its clue presentation she knew her group had it right — Kennett Square.

Emma said the best thing about the program was “doing all the practicing and learning about all the towns and the names of all the towns.”

She and her group also liked the song remixes the other schools presented.

“I liked that it wasn't all serious. They made it fun,” McAuley said.

Edgeworth students named Warrington as the other school after finding out the famous garden in the town was Longwood Garden.

One of the schools guessed Sewickley correctly, while the other guessed Allegheny City.

Edgeworth students revealed their location by holding up a yellow banner with the words, “Sewickley, Pa., Quaker Valley School District, Edgeworth Elementary School,” and all 73 students yelled, “Sewickley!”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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