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Silverdale sleuths search the state

Silverdale Elementary students tested their geographic knowledge and research savvy against students all over the state on Thursday, March 28.

And they never had to leave their classroom.

Teacher Jenny Gooder’s fourth-grade classroom was wired with video conferencing equipment, and her students listened to nine other fourth-grade classes give clues about their towns’ locations.

Classes used videos, skits and newscasts to deliver eight clues. Hints included distance from the state capital, information about early settlers and the closest state park or body of water.

“I liked seeing what the other groups’ questions were, and how they did it,” said fourth-grader Holly Giermann.

At the end of the hour-long clue segment, students had 20 minutes to perform geographic research and return with their best guesses.

In the end, Silverdale students identified seven of the nine towns correctly, according to student Rebekah Daniel.

Her group sleuthed Aberdeen by researching a clue about the Lady Washington, a local tourist attraction.

“We mostly used Google.com,” Daniel said, referring to a popular Internet search engine, “but we used maps, too.”

Seven of nine teams guessed Silverdale correctly.

“The clue that our main employer was a Navy base really helped out,” Giermann said.

Geirmann added that she learned computer tricks which could expedite her research.

“I learned how video conferencing worked and I learned how to use the Internet faster,” she said.

Jeff Allen, the director of educational technology for the Olympic Educational Services District, hooked up the system for Gooder.

“At the fourth-grade level, kids are already studying Washington state history. This is an opportunity to assist teachers and help students learn more about Washington history. The focus is not technology, but students, teachers and learning,” Allen said.

The program was sponsored by the Learning Space, a non-profit group which seeks to integrate technology with student learning.

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