Power of the 'Net

Date: Sun, 5 Jun 1994 13:58:14 -0400
From: "Mark Ahlness (WA)"
Subject: Power of the 'Net

Three months ago I posted a notice about a project to two listserves, Ednet and Kidsphere. What followed was to me a remarkable series of events.... well over 10,000 school children across the U.S. and Canada participated in an Earth Day activity...I received over 100 pieces of mail... the project was picked up by local media... 43 schools participated....my third graders learned where Ohio is...my class started a keypal exchange with a school in Richmond, Virginia....
I am sending this note in the hope that some of you may find the outcome of this project appropriate to pass on to someone who may be skeptical of the potential power and value of the Internet in education. What follows is a brief description of the project, my own analysis of why it succeeded, and a couple more (very typical) reports from schools who participated.

The project was called "Earth Day Groceries". Schools obtained paper grocery bags from a local grocer and decorated them with Earth Day pictures, slogans, school name, etc. The bags were then returned to the stores and distributed to shoppers on Earth Day. Often a bag was made by each student in the school.
Success: Two reasons, I think...
1. It was a neat idea (not my own).
2. It required a minimum amount of time spent sending/receiving email. Participants were simply asked to send in their totals. I compiled those into two fairly lengthy messages and sent the results and anecdotal stories to those involved (about 30K total).

Here are the last two messages I received, which pushed the bag total to about 13,000....

I do not know if the total from my school was sent in or not. I am the tech coordinator at Lakeview Middle School in Winter Garden, FL. I passed along the kidsphere activity you designed to the science teachers at my school. They had EVERY student (that's 800) design a bag for our local Publix supermarket. The kids loved it and the store manager thought it was wonderful!
Kelly V. Pounds Technology Coordinator
Lakeview Middle School
Winter Garden, FL 34787
Internet: poundsk@mail.firn.edu
Applelink: poundsk@mail.firn.edu@internet#

Thanks for giving the information about the Earth Day Grocery Bag project on Kidsphere. I read most of the responses and would be glad to inform you that I include my 2 classes of 9th grade Health students in the project. We decorated 211 grocery bags with recycling, stop smoking, drugs, violence, and other safety public service messages. We also decorated about 400 small lunch sacks that were distributed to our students at the "Express" line for lunch! It was interesting watching my students react to working with crayons and markers once again, but overall I would say the majority of them had a good time and can be proud. I know the local grocery customers will like the decorated bags. Thanks again for sharing your idea. I think we may have been one of the few High Schools involved this time. I plan to tell others during a workshop this summer! Could you send me a tally of numbers and places where students did this project.
Take Care,
Joyce Perkins jperkins@tenet.edu
Hardin-Jefferson High School
Sour Lake, TX 77659

If you would like a copy of the initial project description, the "how to" note, or the reports from those who participated, let me know, and I'll send them on to you. Please write to the address below, not the whole list. Have a great summer!
Mark Ahlness - mahlness@quest.arc.nasa.gov
Arbor Heights Elementary School - Seattle, Washington