Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School
Fifth graders at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School expanded their project-based learning (PBL) unit about the 50 states in the U.S. to create a kid-friendly website with historical, geographic, and cultural information about each state. Through strong collaboration, critical thinking and a whole lot of creativity, students employed 21st century communication skills – including writing and reading informational text and integration of knowledge and ideas – to develop the interactive website.
“Looking back at their summer travels, students came to the realization that there were few travel materials designed with their own unique demographic in mind,” explained Hilary McCarty, Fifth Grade Teacher at Hausner. “Students challenged themselves to create a travel website for, and by, kids and eagerly began analyzing the problem and brainstorming possible solutions.”
Students chose one state to study and researched facts and landmarks to develop persuasive educational content that’s kid-friendly. Next, they embarked on a branding and advertising campaign – complete with a press release – to promote the site and encourage travelers to visit that state.
Students, all of whom are under age 12, proudly launched a prototype of their website at: http://www.thefiftyniftystates.com. They continue to develop new pages, and are busy creating a site name, logo, and symbol which will be incorporated into various aspects including a final domain name and site design. They are encouraging first-time visitors to check out their website, and hope to persuade a return audience through updates via further press releases, of course! As part of their website launch, students enjoyed a lunch celebration which featured ingredients from around the U.S., including Blueberry Cornbread, Meatless Chili, and Golden Delicious All-American Apple Pie.