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Virtual Travel Plan

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Keywords: journal, social studies, budget, travel, Webquest, North Carolina, language arts
Subject(s): Math, Civics, Journalism, Social Studies, Writing, Podcasting, Geography, History
Grades 4 through 8
School: Sope Creek Elementary School, Marietta, GA
Planned By:
Original Author: Stephanie Heyburn, Marietta


You will have the opportunity to explore the regions, emblems, and culture of North Carolina through the use of a variety of technological resources. The primary focus of your travel is to discover North Carolina's symbols and their significance in the state's identity.
You have just been hired by a popular North Carolina travel agency, and you will need to create a travel portfolio to assist you in providing great advice to your customers. Because you have been hired as the "Symbolic Specialist," your portfolio will contain information pertaining to the state's symbols.You will begin your trip in Winston-Salem and spend the next three days visiting important areas in North Carolina. A tight budget will make your decisions about hotels, transportation, and food expenditures more difficult. Your experience will be enriched in these cities as you participate in multiple North Carolina traditions. Upon completion of each leg of the trip, you will complete a travel expense log and technology-based assessment project.


In this project you will be locating a variety of technological resources to represent your knowledge of North Carolina state symbols. Through your technology-based assignments you will research images and information pertaining to specific symbols, museum exhibits and attractions. In your Powerpoint final product you will present learned information through citations of relative URLs and digital images. In your podcast final product you will present learned information about the Maritime Museum in general as well as specifications about a particular exhibit. In your brochure final product you will compile learned information about the city of Boone and provide contact information for each attraction. You are also required to keep a Travel Journal which is located on the first page of your Excel document. This journal will help you and I both to keep track of everything you learned as well as your favorite parts of each region to aid in your final presentation to your peers.


Congratulationson being selected as a new employee of Ms. Heyburn's Travel Agency! Beginning from your new office at Wake Forest University, you will embark on a three-day training trip to showcase North Carolina symbols throughout the state. By the end of the trip, you will have completed a Travel Portfolio to be used as a resource for your future clients.

You will begin by traveling to the state's capital. Throughout the trip, you will be recording your expenditures in a travel expense log. At the conclusion of each travel day, be sure to save the changes to your Excel document.

For each region you visit, you will have a special itinerary to guide you. You will also have an assignment for your Travel Portfolio to complete. Good luck and happy traveling!

1. Before you begin your trip, you will need to choose your car. Keeping your budget in mind, choose between the newest models of the Land Rover and the Mini Cooper for your vehicle to use throughout the trip.
Check the cars' gas mileages. Gas Mileage
Determine your mileage to Raleigh from Wake Forest University. Google Maps | Mapquest
You found a gas station that sells fuel for only $3.28/gallon! This will be your fuel price for your entire trip.
2. Record your choice of car, gas mileage, and distance (in miles) to Raleigh in your travel expense log (found above).

3. Once you arrive in Raleigh, you will visit a variety of fun places to find out about the symbols that can be found in the Piedmont region. You will then fill out your travel log for this leg of the trip and complete a Powerpoint presentation to add to your portfolio. The company has provided you with links for accommodations and dining options, as well as the particular places in Raleigh they want you to visit. You can find that list here.

4. Next it is up to you to choose whether you want to visit the coast or the mountains! Each region has symbols unique to its area, so you will have different experiences in whichever city you choose to go. You will complete additional technology-based assignments for your travel portfolio so that your customers will have the greatest resources to help plan their future trips to North Carolina. Additionally, you will fill in the expenses in your travel log so that your customers will have a general idea to formulate their travel budgets. If you choose to find out what the mountain region has to offer you will find your itinerary, accommodation and dining resources here. If you'd rather see the Carolina coast, check out your itinerary, accommodation and dining resources here.

5. On the third day you are expected to attend a luncheon business meeting with your agencies executives to go over your newly-created travel portfolio. This meeting will be held at Sweet Potatoes restaurant in Winston-Salem.


Thedetails for you portfolio assignments can be found below. You will complete a Powerpoint presentation, and a podcast or brochure for your portfolio.

Expense Report: Template (Excel file) - Model (PDF)
Powerpoint: Requirements (PDF) - Template (PDF) - Template for students (Powerpoint File)

Podcast: Requirements (PDF) - Model of a Transcript (PDF)

Brochure: Requirements (PDF) - Model (PDF)
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The virtual travel plan is structured so that students have the ability to work independently or collectively and provides the opportunity to demonstrate their multiple intelligences and strengths in the classroom. Verbal, visual, artistic and analytical students will all be served with this project. Students that have difficulties reading can implement the use of text-to-speech software presently available on the computers that they will be using. These students can choose the podcast product as a way to verbally express their knowledge rather than in a written format. The Powerpoint presentation provides students with written expression deficits an outlet to edit digital images and tap into their creative and artistic abilities. The brochure product requires students to make connections among a variety of attractions and express themselves at a higher level through a written format.

This activity exhibits qualities for multilevel instruction because it allows gifted students to retrieve and synthesize a broader range of knowledge from the provided internet resources and remedial students can still be challenged by the search of new information. Specifically, the travel log provides an outlet for students to express themselves at their current ability level. The remedial students may answer each question with a sentence or two whereas the gifted students may make broader connections among the new material. This is intrinsically motivating because they are not openly compared to other students and gives them the opportunity to explore their own interests from a variety of options throughout the entire activity. For students with poor motor skills there is a lot of additional hardware that can be brought into the classroom. Keyboards with larger keys are just one example to ensure that these students use their time productively with minimal frustration.

We have included the "Formulas" worksheet so that struggling students will have additional guidance when completing their expense logs. To modify this activity for gifted learners, the teacher can remove the "Formulas" worksheet in the Excel document so that students are left to determine the appropriate formulas to complete the worksheets on their own. Also, we can reword the instructions for the travel log so that the questions are more open-ended. Gifted learners would really benefit from the chance to express their creativity through open-ended questioning.


Necessary Teacher-Created Materials

Letter to Parents announcing the activity and requesting support at home; Letter to Parents with Mail Merge Code.
Sample Spreadsheet for expense calculations
Mail Merged Certificate for North Carolina Traveler Award for each student
Database of fictitious student information; Database Query for merging into letter and award certificate
Assessment Guidelines and Models for each project (all files in PDF).

Travel brochure - Requirements and Model
Powerpoint presentation - Requirements and Model
Podcast - Requirements and Model


Visit NC.com

NC Travel and Tourism Board


Templates can be found on my Virtual Travel Plan website.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This activity combines study of the fourth grade social studies, computer skills, math and language arts curriculum as outlined by the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

North Carolina Standard Course of Study Objectives:

Social Studies

Competency Goal 1: The learner will apply the five themes of geography of NC and its people. 1.03: Suggest some influences that location has on life in North Carolina such as major cities, recreation areas, industry, and farms.
Competency Goal 3: The learner will trace the history of colonization in NC and evaluate its significance for diverse people’s ideas. 3.02: Identify people, symbols, events, and documents
Competency Goal 5: The learner will examine the impact of various cultural groups on NC. 5.01: Explain different celebrated holidays, special days, and cultural traditions in North Carolina communities. 5.02: Describe traditional art, music, and craft forms in North Carolina. 5.03: Describe and compare the cultural characteristics of regions within North Carolina and evaluate their significance.
Competency Goal 7: The learner will recognize how technology influences change within NC. 7.01: Cite examples from North Carolina's history of the impact of technology. 7.02: Analyze the effect of technology on North Carolina's citizens, past and present. 7.03: Explain how technology changed and influenced the movement of people, goods, and ideas over time.
Computer Skills

Competency Goal 1: The learner will understand important issues of a technology-based society and will exhibit ethical behavior in the use of computer and other technologies. 1.03: Recognize, discuss, and use responsible, ethical, and safe behaviors when using technology resources. 1.04: Recognize that Copyright Laws protect creative work of individuals/groups/companies by citing sources. 1.08: Identify and discuss how spreadsheets are used to calculate and graph data in a variety of settings (e.g., schools, government, business, industry). 1.09: Recognize and discuss the importance of citing sources of copyrighted materials in documents. 1.11: Identify and discuss the use of multimedia tools to report content area information. 1.12: Recognize, discuss, and use multimedia terms/concepts (e.g., navigation buttons, transitions, links/hyperlinks, animation). 1.13: Recognize, discuss, and use Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines in multimedia projects by explaining selection and use of resources as a class. 1.14: Recognize and discuss telecommunications terms/concepts. 1.15: Recognize, discuss, and model responsible and safe behavior using online resources as a class/group/individual.
Competency Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies. 2.03: Identify, discuss, and use the spreadsheet terms/concepts (e.g., cell, column, row, values, labels, graph, formula). 2.04: Enter/edit data in prepared spreadsheets to perform calculations using simple formulas (+, -. *, /) and observe the changes that occur. 2.05: Use spreadsheets and graphs to organize, calculate, and display data in content areas. 2.07: Recognize, discuss, and use proper keyboarding techniques. 2.09: Recognize and discuss guidelines for media (e.g., personal information, images, content, language) to consider in developing multimedia projects as a class/group. 2.11: Recognize, discuss, and use rubrics to evaluate elements (e.g., content, organization, appropriateness of materials, citations) of multimedia projects/products. 2.12: Plan, discuss, and use search strategies with two or more criteria to find information online about North Carolina as a class/group.
Competency Goal 3: The learner will use a variety of technologies to access, analyze, interpret, synthesize, apply and communicate information. 3.04: Enter data into prepared spreadsheets and select graph to best represent data and cite sources of data. 3.05: Use spreadsheet data and graphs to make predictions, solve problems, and make decisions in content areas as a class/group. 3.07: Locate, select, organize, and present content area information from the Internet for a specific purpose and audience, citing resources. 3.08: Use a rubric as a guide to select and evaluate digital resources and information for content and usefulness in content area assignments as a class.

Competency Goal 4: The learner will understand and use graphs, probability and data analysis. 4.01: Collect, organize, analyze, and display data (including line graphs and bar graphs) to solve problems.
Language Arts

Competency Goal 3: The learner will make connections through the use of oral language, written language, and media and technology. 3.05: Analyze and integrate information from one or more sources to expand understanding of text including graphs, charts and/or maps. 3.06 Conduct research for assigned projects or self-selected projects (with assistance) from a variety of sources through the use of technological and informal tools (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people, libraries, databases, computer networks).
Competency Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts. 4.02: Use oral and written language to: present information and ideas in a clear, concise manner to discuss, interview, solve problems, make decisions. 4.03: Make oral and written presentations using visual aids with an awareness of purpose and audience. 4.10: Use technology as a tool to gather, organize, and present information.
Students present their PowerPoints, podcasts, and journals to their classmates.
Materials: Ports and Hubs, Bags and Cases, CDs and DVDs, Batteries, Flash/USB Drives, Camera/Video Accessories, Microphones, Mobile Labs, Spreadsheet, Podcasting, Web Page, Slideshow, Clip Art, Worksheets