Students get national exposure

Young Soroco scientists present GIS projects in Calif.

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— A seasoned Geographical Information System troop at Soroco High School that mapped accidents on Colorado 131 are traveling to California this week to present two projects at a national convention.

Last year, students in Ed Hayne and Chuck Keating's freshman science and geography classes began a project of mapping the accidents on Colo. 131 in south Routt County using a Geographical Information System computer program. Each year, the students update the program.

Now, Hayne and Keating, along with sophomores Jessie de Ganahl and Meg Hayne, will present the project Thursday and Friday at the ninth annual Kids Who Know and Do Conference at the Bill Graham Center in San Francisco.

Soroco freshman Nicole Baxter also will present another GIS project that displays historical buildings in Oak Creek.

"It's a conference to bring together students and programs that are doing project-based learning," said Connie Knapp, program manager for The Orton Institute.

The Orton Institute, along with the Rural School Community Trust, are helping to make the trip possible.

De Ganahl and Meg Hayne will present the accident-mapping project at the convention by displaying the program's question-answering capabilities, Keating said.

"They'll ask it something like how many people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been in an accident," he said.

The program will then give the answer going back 11 years show where the accidents happened on the highway and display any information about the accident that is available.

Students have presented this project to the Routt County Commissioners and are scheduled to present it at an open house luncheon sponsored by the Yampa Valley Community Mapping Program April 11.

Baxter will also present a project, which shows a map of Oak Creek with the historical buildings marked on the map. A user of the computer program can click the mouse curser on one of the buildings to receive historical information about it and a picture.

The Yampa Valley Community Mapping Program has introduced this type of project-based education through community-school projects that use GIS and mapping technologies to enhance the understanding of the topics under investigation, Knapp said.

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