Pen Pal Inspires Fifth-Graders with E-Mail Correspondence

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Fraker Daily Herald Staff Writer

"I think I might want to go to Antarctica."

The family of Allison Rivers-Bracksieck might want to start worrying now. The Fairview Elementary School fifth-grader says she's interested in making a trek to the South Pole, thanks to a project she and her classmates recently completed with the help of their teacher, Janet Adams, and their new "pen pal," Laurie Toeppen.

Toeppen, who grew up in Mount Prospect and is a former student of Fairview principal Gerri DelBoccio, corresponded with the class via e-mail in January, when she was in Antarctica on a research expedition. Toeppen left the South Pole Jan. 27. She is now in New Zealand, Adams said, and plans to visit the class when she returns to Mount Prospect to see her parents.

The students asked Toeppen questions they encountered while researching the continent for a classroom project, Adams said. The class then prepared a 45-minute video presentation.

The video covered Antarctica's topography, weather, animal life and early explorers. One segment focused on the Antarctic Treaty, which keeps the continent a neutral, unclaimed territory used only for scientific research. …