We started the Tornado Memories project by conducting research about the storm that struck Charles City in May of 1968, an EF-5 tornado that caused millions of dollars in damage, left physical scars and alterations to this day, and claimed the lives of 13 citizens. Students collected facts and read stories about the event from old clippings and literary sources. Then using Google Earth to create a custom digital map, students plotted photos, old newsreels, stats, facts, and interviews.
We've so far collected 12 interviews from members of this and other communities who experienced the storm first hand or through the collective lens of their families. To complete the interviews, students learned camera and editing techniques and developing, practiced, and asked open-ended questions. With the help of the Floyd County Museum, we advertised our project to get interviewees who then came to the middle school (or via Zoom) to share their stories. We hope to collect more interviews over the course of the year to learn more about this event, interact with community members and build a well-rounded digital library for those who experienced the storm as well as those who may be learning about it for the first time. It's been a great opportunity for kids to practice life skills like interviews, but also digital skills.
The map (a work in progress as more information is added) can be found here on laptop/desktop or by downloading the Google Earth app on your smartphone: see the project . Simply click "present" when in; to experience the digital elements students have built.