World wide:Class travels the globe during project

Jules Verne may have taken readers around the world in 80 days, but a project recently allowed South Williamsport Area High School students to go around the globe in a mere day.

Based off of the CBS reality show, “The Amazing Race,” juniors in Joann Kennedy’s social studies class were required to not only represent a country, but race around the school learning about each one.

“They get a journal and a passport,” Kennedy explained about the tools each team is given for their journey.

This is the fourth year Kennedy has done this project for her classes.

In groups of two, students chose a country and researched the many aspects of it – from food to politics. Groups also were required to create a stamp, postcard and activity for visitors of their country.

“They have to conduct an activity, either something to illustrate something about their country or something culturally,” Kennedy said.

She added that students came up with “some amazing projects.” Spanning several classrooms, each one represented a different continent.

In two separate sessions, students either presented their country to visitors or went around to different classrooms learning about the various countries.

But groups weren’t there for vacation. Students were competing to see how many countries they could visit during their traveling period.

Students created a travel itinerary to map out their journey days before the event. But if another group already was visiting the next country of a group’s itinerary when they arrived, they needed to wait until they left the country.

Groups’ travel plans also were interrupted by detours and road blocks that were setup during their journey. Students were required to visit the school’s library in between visits to countries where they needed to complete an extra activity, such as a sudoku or using chop sticks.

But in one hallway that students traveled, they needed to make a paper crane, that would be donated to a children’s hospital, before passing. Students needed to make one each time they traveled through that hallway.

Kennedy came up with the project to have the students learn and do research while still having them up and moving.

“I am a victim to it to. A lot of projects seem to be presentation-based so you just kind of sit and sit and sit,” she said. “We’re doing more than just sitting.”

And although students were at some points frustrated by the road block and detours, Kennedy said students always appreciate the project.

“It ends up being something that when it’s all done that they say, ‘That was kind of fun,’ ” she said.