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Kids receive e-mail from all over world

February 23, 2001

TAYLORSVILLE — When the sixth-graders in Janet Forrest's social studies class at Taylorsville Elementary decided to solicit e-mails worldwide, they hoped to receive about 10,000 replies.

Threemonths later, that number has exceeded 450,000 - including all 50 states, 81 countries and all seven continents - and they haven't finished counting.

"It's really exciting. This thing has just exploded," said Sandra Slape, the school's computer lab technician, who sent the initial e-mail to 32 people in her address book. "In one hour, we received our first message from Dell Computers in Texas, in twohours we had reached Japan."

The response is the result of an e-mail-mapping project scheduled to last from Dec.13 to April1. The students sent out the first 32 e-mails asking the recipients to reply and to forward the e-mails to someone else.

They were not seeking pen pals; they were only interested in seeing how far their e-mails would travel.

Pretty far.

The answer has brought the world a little closer to the 50 sixth-grade students. Forrest has made the e-mails a learning tool by using them in her lesson plan. A lesson about the seasons in Australia being opposite of those in North Carolina doesn't seem so foreign when accompanied by a "G'Day!" from down under and pictures of a man and his two dogs.

"This whole thing has been great for the students," Principal Blake Jones said. "They've been really enthusiastic about tabulating the results, making graphs and pinning down places they've heard from. "

Taylorsville has received messages from the scientists in Antarctica, soldiers in the Persian Gulf and the Pentagon.

The school received so many responses, it decided to cut off the project in January so they could catch up on the 440,000-plus e-mails yet to be tabulated.

"I don't expect to finish reading through them until May," Slape said.



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