Steamboat Springs Middle School students Mary O'Connell and Julia Cooper present the new Everything Outdoor Steamboat Web site that the eighth-graders helped create as part of their critical thinking independent study class.

Photo by Mike McCollum

Steamboat Springs Middle School students Mary O'Connell and Julia Cooper present the new Everything Outdoor Steamboat Web site that the eighth-graders helped create as part of their critical thinking independent study class.

Middle school students create Web site for outdoor program

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Visit the new Everything Outdoor Steamboat Web site, created by Steamboat Springs Middle School students, at www.eosteamboat.o...

— After more than three months of work on a new Everything Outdoor Steamboat homepage, a group of Steamboat Springs Middle School students learned that creating a Web site requires a lot more than a few clicks of a mouse.

"It was a little overwhelming for me," Mary O'Connell, 13, said of the process. "But in the end, it was really good learning how to do this for the future."

Mary was one of eight middle school students who helped create the Web site at the request of sixth-grade teacher and EOS leader Matt Tredway.

Julia Cooper, 13, said she also felt a little overwhelmed by the task of essentially creating an interactive Web site from scratch, but once the site went online Dec. 7, all the painstaking work and creative differences were justified.

"Mr. Tredway asked us to redo the EOS Web page because it's five years old, and it looked like it," she said. "All the photographs were old and such, and they wanted it to be connected to the school's new Web page. We kind of just started to do it and figure it out as we went."

Each student was assigned a section of the site to redesign, such as Mary's revamping of the climbing page. A student's experience in the EOS program often dictated who was assigned different parts of the site.

"I did climbing, which is rock climbing, ice climbing and the climbing wall," Mary said. "We used our own past experiences from the EOS trips and we used the old EOS page as a start."

Tyler Gness, 13, redesigned the student testimonial page, as well as the mountain biking page that included many of his own pictures. He also provided a personal statement about the EOS program.

The critical thinking class, led by teacher Tracy Stoddard, meets every other day with the goal of challenging students to think beyond the school's curriculum in subjects they find interesting.

"It's nice to have that extra hour every other day," said Dan Bye, 13. Even before helping with the EOS site, Dan was already familiar with HTML coding, which is the input used to construct Web sites.

"Right now, the school is having me do a lot of video broadcasts, and I've wanted to do that for a long time," he said.

Dan plans to premiere a video next week that he filmed about the middle school's participants in the American Mathematics Competition, a national math competition held in November.

Emily Hannah, 13, worked on the kayaking and frequently asked questions pages. Now that the site is online, she is turning her independent study time toward an experiment looking at the affects of music on animals.

"I'm going to have two boxes with rats and play two different types of music to see what type of music they prefer," she said. "I'll then switch to make sure it's not the box they prefer."

Noah Glaisher, Asher Rohde and Danny Martinson also helped create the EOS Web site.

Stoddard's students joked that they may be computer geeks, but Dan Bye noted there is a fine line between a geek and a computer genius.

Whatever title you call Dan and his classmates, their efforts in creating the new Web site have impressed school administrators and staff. Stoddard said teachers are looking to put the students' talents to further use.

"I haven't told you all this yet, but many teachers are wondering if you would be willing to build Web sites for teachers," Stoddard told her students Thursday. "You can be teacher mentors."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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