2009 12 and Under: Honorable Mention
GabriellaKnowlton Twp. Elementary School, NJ, United States
GiannaKnowlton Twp. Elementary School, NJ, United States
KyleKnowlton Twp. Elementary School, NJ, United States
ElizabethKnowlton Twp. Elementary School, NJ, United States
FrancescaBadminton School, United Kingdom
12 & under
Sue HazellBadminton Junior School, United Kingdom
sharon harpsterknowlton township elementary school, NJ, United States
Business & Industry > Money & Economics
Social Sciences & Culture > Teen Issues
Ages 9 and up
Online Activity / Game
Science / Lab Experiment
Teacher Resources (Lesson Plans, Worksheets)
Video / Sound
Our team had lots of challenges before we completed the site. Our first challenge was that Post 9/11, no pictures or videos were allowed in our area banks for security reasons. We were able to find a bank that was closing in order to get the photos and videos we needed.
Our allowance survey wasn’t allowed in China, so we did it in England and the U.S. We also went to EPALS, an online safe community and put in a post to find out if allowances were given around the world. EPALS deleted the post 3 times without explaining why. It took us forever to realize that our profile wasn’t complete. By that time it was too late to get the results we were looking for.
We had a team member from China. Communication was difficult so we enlisted the help of a teacher she knew for translation. Computer experience seemed small so we did the best to make her work easier. She worked with the team for a month and then did nothing. We found out that schooling in China is filled with pressures that we don’t have and that she couldn’t participate because of it. We removed her from the team, unfortunately.
We found that we relied on the strengths of each team member. We had a team artist, a photographer, several writers, an emailer, and website captain. The jobs and responsibilities were split equally. Each person worked on what they did best and sometimes these talents suprised us. We knew each other and yet we learned more about each other every day. We made sure that research, that we hated, was split equally, too.
In the beginning, we couldn’t make decisions. The team went about a month having meetings and not making decisions. Then one day, we got an email from our English team member. She had a whole bunch of ideas for our Flash intro. Her strength was her creativity and artistic ability so we were really happy to see these drawings. Something happened during that meeting and the team truly became a team. It wasn’t because everyone agreed on everything because we didn’t. The plans were on the table. Some liked them and some liked parts of them. Soon ideas were being thrown around and that meeting turned out to be our best brainstorming session during the whole website creation! Everyone posed ideas and everyone respected each other’s. We made one decision after another that day and we still don’t understand why.
After that, decisions were made quickly by a vote. If the vote didn’t go your way, you accepted it and continued to work hard to make the site as good as it could be.
We are a team.
When we started this project, we had a culturally diverse team. We had 4 team members from the United States, one from China and one from England. We had our language in common with our English team member and she surprised us with how she spelled words (cheque, telly, spelt) because they were different than in the U.S. In the end, Franny seemed a lot like us even though she was so far away. Email is great and we had a wonderful time learning about our English team member and sharing ideas.
As we look back on it, our diversity split the team. Qi was a 10 year old girl from China who wanted to work on our site with us. Everything started out well with her offering ideas for sites and then for site titles. She didn't speak English but we had a teacher in China who was translating for us. When we sent an allowance survey for her to give to her classmates, we were told that--in China--these things were not done. That was interesting to us since we have the freedom to do these things. It was the first sign that we might have problems with assignments.
Qi was given an assignment in October and she never completed it. When our coach contacted her teacher, we found the reason why. It seems that there is a lot of pressure on students in China to excel in school and in test taking. She had no time to devote to this project because all of her time had to go into schooling. We had come face to face with cultural differences that would affect the team and our ability to get assignments done. With regret, she was removed from the team in January.
Our team members in the U.S. were all from the same grade level. We all have about the same socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures. As we began to figure out what we could say about our diversity when it looked like we were all the same, we decided to focus on our personalities and characters. Our uniqueness is our diversity.
Franny was an artist, Kyle was a photographer, Gigi was good at web development, Liz loved making quizzes, and Gabby liked making the board game. Every job was given to the person who could do that job best. Our individual talents, sense of responsibility, and willingness to do our share of the work helped us to create this site. No, we really weren’t all the same and each talent made our site better.
Diversity for our team was both good and bad. Each taught us something about ourselves, each other, and changed our view of the world and of freedom.