The best way to learn about a different place is to visit it, but often field trips aren’t possible. The second best way to learn about a place is to talk to an expert–someone who lives there. Fourth graders in Mrs. Barger’s Class at Glenvar Elementary had the opportunity to do just that as they read the book, Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin.
To learn more about the setting of the book (a prairie), they talked with other students in Kansas who live near the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the United States. They used a program called Skype, a free video conferencing tool, and were able to see and talk with students at Turning Point Learning Center in Emporia, Kansas. Students prepared questions to ask the students ahead of time, and were able to ask those questions virtually. They were able to see the class in Kansas, and showed pictures and artifacts from our mountainous area. Students from Kansas shared pictures of the prairie they took for the class on a recent field trip. Students had a blast, and learned all sorts of facts about Kansas.
If this kind of project sparks your interest, let me know. We can skype about all sorts of topics!