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Pitt county teachers offer lessons in flight
(Dec. 8, 2003) — For students across the state, studying the history of flight now involves topics as varied as photography, geography, technology and journalism.
Thanks to two Pitt County teachers and an ECU librarian, teachers can access the lessons online as part of East Carolina University's digital exhibit about the Wright Brothers.
The display was prepared by ECU's Joyner Library in observance of the Dec. 17 First Flight Centennial, and includes the Wright brothers' diary entries, weather data and more than 100 image details from photographs taken by the Wrights in North Carolina.
The lesson plans, prepared by Pitt County teachers Tim Longest and Pam Laughinghouse and ECU librarian Maury York, are designed for fourth-, fifth- and eighth-graders. Incorporating components of the digital exhibition, the plans are designed to meet competency objectives as stated by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Longest, who teaches at Eastern Elementary in Greenville, said he looks forward to using the guide to tell the story of the Wright brothers to his fifth-grade class this month.
"It's good for them to see primary sources and to see what life was like when the Wright brothers were out there in Dare County," Longest said. "It looks really different today."
Work on the digital interactive classroom began in June of 2003. The lessons include discussion questions, homework suggestions and guided links to the digital display. In addition to online access to the guided lessons, a CD-ROM of the lessons is also available.
"The students can see what the Wright brothers looked like, how they lived their lives, what their workshop looked like. It's important to see the photos; they really make the Wright brothers seem more real," Longest said.
Because the amount of information in the exhibit is so voluminous, Longest and Laughinghouse volunteered to work with York to navigate through the data and create areas of focus suitable for students at different grade levels. The online component, Longest said, is key to helping children learn concepts and ideas beyond what's available in a textbook.
"We need to have as many online resources as we can because that's the way learning is happening these days," said Longest. "It won't replace teachers, but it's another tool to teach our curriculum."
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