'Paddle to the Sea' goes high techThe classic children’s story, “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” has a new high-tech twist thanks to Wisconsin Sea Grant, a program of the University of Wisconsin.
By: By Marie Zhuikov, Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, Superior Telegram
The classic children’s story, “Paddle-to-the-Sea,” has a new high-tech twist thanks to Wisconsin Sea Grant, a program of the University of Wisconsin. Perhaps author Holling C. Holling visualized children following the journey of the small carved wooden canoe through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean on a wall map, but now, over seven decades after the story was published, students can follow the journey with a computerized Google Earth application.
The Paddle-to the-Sea application was developed by David Hart, a geographic information systems specialist with Wisconsin Sea Grant, and his son, Noah Hart, while he was a high school student. With the program, students can follow the canoe’s journey chapter-by-chapter. Each entry includes key words, discussion questions, and links to relevant websites, lesson and Great Lakes data.
Special education students at Superior Senior High School were the most recent to use the application. Their teacher, Pam Clark, adapted classroom materials for her students, who enjoyed the story in a series of lessons. For their grand finale summative class, Clark projected the computer map provided by the application on a screen. Students took turns advancing the map to each location as described in the book chapters that Clark read to them. Speech therapist Deborah Noble-Olson was on hand to define any words the students needed help understanding. Mixing old with the new, Clark also provided a paper map of the Great Lakes with the canoe’s journey drawn on it, and the students took turns tacking a paper canoe to each stop described in the story.
Clark said the students were excited to see the story put together with the computer application, and each had memorized the chapter number when it was their turn to tack the canoe onto the map. “Some of the students were nervous that they’d forget their turn, but I think they all enjoyed learning more about the Great Lakes through the Paddle-to-the-Sea application,” Clark said.
Once the lesson was over, Clark asked the students to describe one thing they learned. The students listed things like, “The canoe’s journey started in Nipigon, Canada,” “Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake entirely in the United States, all the other Great Lakes border Canada,” “The canoe travelled a long way through Lake Superior.“
Then the students left the classroom, navigating their way to their next class through the throngs of students in the hallway like canoes in the water.
Go to www.wicoastalatlas.net/Default.aspx?tabid=65.