Sunburst's Field Trip to the Sea

##AUTHORSPLIT##<--->In the Lake County School District where I teach, the seventh grade science curriculum is Life Science. When comparing ecosystems, topics such as the food chain, symbiotic relationships, and classifications of organisms can be learned through the textbook and enhanced through this software package. The basic principles are the same.

When using this program, the students can use the upper level thinking skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy. The Venn Diagrams in the teacher’s manual are another effective tool to coordinate the curriculum in the book and the program. The program’s data tables are an excellent tool to help students sort, classify and find specific information, and the program lets the student see specific relationships through diagramming.

As an instructor who utilizes multiple software programs within the classroom, I recommend that a handout of matching, true/false, or essay questions be prepared to encourage the students to explore the program and search for answers. Even a Venn diagram partially completed would help students to analyze it and expound on the information needed to complete the diagram.

My eighth grade students felt that the information was good, but that the program was set up to appeal to younger children. They regarded it as a lower level software program. But the seventh graders, who were learning a parallel curriculum, liked the program. With that experience in mind, I would recommend this program for grades 5 to 7, depending upon their curriculum.

The students easily navigated through the program. They needed to listen to Captain Berry Cuda, the program’s virtual instructor, a few times, so it was nice that they were able to go back to review the program icons whenever they chose.

Field Trip to the Sea Deluxe contains facts on over 50 plants and 140 animals. Not only was the information easy to learn, but the software also let students use the learning tool of their choice. The Data Table contains straight facts, while the Field Guide helps with topic investigations. The Journal includes a complete word processor. These virtual tools are helpful in a science classroom when labs cannot be provided.

I liked many of this program’s features. The software package was a comprehensive guide to the various oceanic ecosystems, in an easy-to-understand format. It required the students to utilize high level thinking on the Bloom’s Taxonomy scale. The teacher’s manual had detailed instructions, and the activity guide had multiple innovative lesson plans. Students could easily compare and contrast the same activity utilizing both the software and their textbook, and could also compete with each other in educational games.

The only thing I would have added to the program is supplemental text. As a teacher, I would have made a handout of questions similar to the games, to encourage the students to explore all avenues within the program.

Avra Thomas
Computer Technology Instructor

Gray Middle School
Groveland, FL

ThomasA@lake.k12.fl.us

Contact Information

Sunburst Educational Software and Video

Pleasantville, NY

(800) 321-7511

www.sunburst.com

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.

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