Wednesday, February 7, 2007

CSI: Cemetery Scene Investigation

Over the summer I read an article in Edutopia magazine called Six Feet Wonder. I have no idea why I was reading a 3 year old magazine unless it was on the stack of things to "read eventually"! The article told of a cemetery project that some students in California had done and linked to the curriculum the teachers had written. I thought it sounded fun so I mentioned it to my co-teacher.

When our district's foundation grant application came in the mail we decided to write a grant to do the CSI project. I can usually come up with good grant ideas and I've written grants before, so the "prize patrol" came to our classroom with a big check, flowers and balloons in November, we'd gotten the grant. With the grant monies we purchased 2 GPSs, 2 Palm TXs, 3 digital cameras and a digital video camera; we also included fieldtrip expenses. You can read about the project objectives on our website.

After looking at the original CSI project and webquest we decided how we were going to go about completing the project with the sixth graders in our gifted program. I spent dozens of hours setting up a skeleton website so there would be some scaffolding for our students' work. We expanded our project (from the original) to include extra research providing a thorough background for all of us. The students were able to use a wiki to "store" their research before it went to the website. Students started working on the project about three weeks ago. You can see the day to day schedule and student research done so far on our website CSI: Cemetery Scene Investigation .

Before we take our first of three fieldtrips we are going to have a Garmin representative come in and do a workshop on GPSs, high school students are coming in to teach digital photography and photo manipulation, a videographer is coming to talk to the kids about making and editing videos. We are also going to do lessons on weathering and of course take a look at patents for preventing premature burials (!), ghost stories, and vampires!! We are visiting a local Indian Mission cemetery and a family farm cemetery as an introduction to the field study. We will then spent two full days in two other cemeteries recording data, taking pictures, making videos, and of course doing whatever we are suppose to be doing with the GPSs. The last month of school will put all the data and media on the website and probably have a big Open House/Party to share our findings!! Check the website often to see how we are doing.


Apple said...

As a genealogist I think this is a fantastic project!

The Tour Marm said...


I recently posted. Bringing Cemeteries to Life, on my blog and thought it might interest you.

The Tour Marm

samccoy said...

This post remains one of my favorites for primary sources, PBL and use of technology in the classroom.

The topic is interesting, and you have used technology in a natural way. The inclusion of GPS and other technology hardware is very helpful.

I have discussed this post and your blog at Technology and the Source

samccoy said...
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