by Janice Grathen, Media Specialist, Aiken County Public School District
During the current school year, the students at New Ellenton Middle School in the Aiken County Public School District have been learning about their school library and Discus – South Carolina’s Virtual Library.
Students face big challenges when doing research and using general Internet search tools like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find information. They often find that:
- a search returns an overwhelming number of results;
- the results are often at a level that is either too basic or too difficult; and
- many biased and inaccurate sources must be sifted through before arriving at reliable and trustworthy information.
The perfect solution to these challenges is to use Discus as a first course of research. South Carolina’s Virtual Library provides students with reliable information on their level, with a more reasonable number of resources for them to consider. This has been reinforced with New Ellenton Middle School students throughout the year as their research projects have been powered by Discus resources.
In order to remember important concepts about Discus, such as the Discus web address, username and password, the students participated in a Cash Cab competition! Cash Cab is a popular TV game show. Contestants attempt to win cash by correctly answering a series of questions. Two students from each of the ELA classes won the chance to represent their classes. The selected representatives, however, were not the only ones who studied. All the eighth graders spent time checking their notes in order to be able to respond to a “call out” or “shout out” if the representatives were stumped by a question.
It was a tight race, but eighth graders Kevin and Cierra proved their command of the subject material, winning by one point! What did the winners receive? Kevin and Cierra split a cash prize of $50 and the winning class enjoyed a pizza party! But the most important thing that the students received is knowledge that will be useful to them as they enter high school and continue their journeys as lifelong learners.