I worked with teachers and Education Office staff to develop SIMply Prairie, a problem-based learning website that supports online authentic student research. Although the web has more and more of these sites, it was one of the first sites of this kind. It was a natural extension of the Particles and Prairies Program we had already developed for students who come to Fermilab to do research in the prairie.
Students develop research questions related to prairie plant population, answer them with student data, and publish their results. Students can collect and enter data for their own prairies throughout the prairie states. They can compare their data with data from other native and/or reconstructed prairies. The site includes background information on prairie plants, student-friendly, searchable databases of plants and animals, data entry pages, annual summaries of prairie plants studies with plots, and analysis tools to do longitudinal studies of prairies.
To implement this site, we used Lasso Middleware and Filemaker for student data, photographs, plant and animal databases. I describe the database/ lasso work more fully under the Databases/Lasso link above. We converted the video from the Particles and Prairies videodisc to realvideo and provided that as an online resource. All the slides from the videodisc are in an onine database.