Army helps kids launch Web site in Portland


On a sunny morning in North Portland, a group of students, teachers and guests gathered at George Middle School (GMS) to celebrate a Web site a year in the making. Seated at computers, Randy Winn’s algebra students shared their new earthquake site, “Magnitude 8,” with guests Dr. Benjamin Canada, superintendent of Portland Public Schools, and Lt. Colonel Kurt Burger, Cascade divisional commander.

Through a $7,500 grant from the America Online Foundation, the Army teamed up with GMS and the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries to design an earthquake Web site geared to middle school students. Although Winn and Judy Carter, the school’s technology coordinator, organized the project, the content and design were student-driven.

Winn was astounded with how much the youth learned. “This project proved to be an excellent learning tool,” he said. “Through having to edit and decide what they wanted to include, they learned the information.” For the students it was not only an excuse to get out of algebra, but a chance to learn about earthquakes, computers and the Web, and through that learning, create a means of educating others.

When it began, the students had never used the Internet before, let alone designed a Web site. But with the guidance of their teachers and months of research, the site is up and running. Students contributed to one of three sections–earthquake facts, history or preparedness–with each also writing a personal reflection on the project.

Visit “Magnitude 8” at :

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