E-GOV PBL Project


Project Title: You are governed no better than you deserve! 


Author: James A. Wendt


Project Idea: 21st Century Civics students have been selected to explore civic participation through interacting with municipal and county government to compile local information and contacts, then, utilizing the E-government website and technological resources, provide local information and involvement opportunities to their fellow citizens. 

Entry Event
:  Political scientists often say that all government is local, but what do you really know about the surrounding cities and your county? Can you name the officers and departments?  Could you describe how local government impacts a citizen? How many of your fellow citizens are truly informed and involved in government?  Now with those answers in mind, if you are given the opportunity to preserve, protect, and defend America’s democracy, will you accept the challenge? 


Power Standard: Democratic citizens inform and involve themselves to preserve, protect, and defend their liberties and freedoms as they fulfill their social contract.

Content Standards & Objectives:    

Objectives Directly Taught or Learned Through Discovery

Identified Learning Targets 

Evidence of Success in Achieving Identified Learning Target 

SS.C.O.12.01.04 Examine and analyze the rights, privileges, responsibilities and duties of active civic participants.

-Know the difference between rights and privileges in a democracy as well as the differences between responsibilities and duties of democratic citizens

-Identify the avenues of participation in civic life

-Synthesize how American government and individuals protect their rights and privileges while fulfilling their duties and responsibilities

Students generate a list of citizens’ protections and expectations on the local level after examining surrounding municipalities and the overarching county government.

SS.C.O.12.04.01 Map and analyze spatial data from public records and share results with the community.

-Know where public records can be accessed by citizens

-Organize existing information to create a composite of surrounding cities

-Disseminate the community’s organization so that the public can understand local organization and provide access to the results

Student-created municipal reports will give essential information about the locales as well as links to the community information so that citizens can conveniently access additional information.

SS.C.O.12.04.02 Debate the negative and positive aspects of zoning and annexation, evaluate the proposed land uses in your community and anticipate the outcomes.

-Know how cities zone, annex inhabited regions, and allocate community resources.

-Realize current zoning and annexation in surrounding cities and compare and contrast those specific plans.

-Prognosticate how modifications to existing plans could positively and negatively effect cities and individual citizens.

Students will effectively utilize mapping technology, digital camcorders/cameras, and databases to compile municipal data and create an interactive map of the community.

SS.C.O.12.01.10 Support the need for political leadership, public service, and a knowledgeable citizenry in American constitutional democracy.

-Know how citizens in a democracy can be informed, volunteer, and lead their fellow citizens

- Provide opportunities for citizens to acquire information, serve, and initiate change in their community

-Streamline the process of involvement so citizens can become involved and informed with as little hindrance as possible.

Students will take leadership roles in creating the Kanawha County E-government webpage by working with local officials and public data to empower citizens to more easily become involved and informed.


 21st Century Skills:  

21st Century Skills

Learning Skills & 

Technology Tools 

Teaching Strategies  


Evidence of Success 

Information and  


21C.O.9-12.1.LS1 Student recognizes information needed for problem solving, can efficiently browse, search and navigate online to access relevant information, evaluates information based on credibility, social, economic, political and/or ethical issues, and presents findings clearly and persuasively using a range of technology tools and media.

-Students review e-government documents and create a list of objectives for completion.

-Students navigate the e-government website and update municipal and county information.

 As the program begins, students organize all required information and steadily work to accumulate information until all relevant data has been acquired and digitally uploaded.

21C.O.9-12.1.TT9 Student uses advanced telecommunication tools (e.g., email, video conferencing, interactive websites, newsgroups, video phones, chats) to create collaborative projects that are relevant to real world situations and contribute to the communication process among various groups.

-Each group divides the responsibilities of interviewing, recording, and photographing the subjects and sites so that all information is collected in an usable manner.

-Students use a camcorder, camera, laptop, and online resources to gather required information.

Throughout the process, each student group demonstrates a mastery of camcorders, digital cameras, computer programs, and online databases by the usage of technological equipment to complete their tasks.

Thinking and Reasoning Skills 

21C.O.9-12.2.TT2 Student collaborates with peers, experts and others to contribute to a content-related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works.

-Students gather the required information from their designated sources.

-Students complete the informational templates for their designated locales and post online.

 Every incorporated municipality in Kanawha County, as well as the county government itself, has their information, leadership, and processes previewed on the e-government website in an organized manner that allows citizens to understand and involve themselves in local government.

Personal and Workplace Skills 

21C.O.9-12.3.LS4 Student demonstrates ethical behavior and works responsibly and collaboratively with others in the context of the school and the larger community, and he/she demonstrates civic responsibility through engagement in public discourse and participation in service learning.

-Students arrange appointments with civic officials and interview local leadership.

-All student work is approved by their sources after submission.

-All technology is returned and logged in and out.


Students conduct themselves during the project in a mature and respectful manner that is appropriate for the major undertaking in which they are involved, and model civic awareness by influentially involving themselves in local government.

21C.O.9-12.3.LS6 Student maintains a strong focus on the larger project goal and frames appropriate questions and planning processes around goal. Prior to beginning work, student reflects upon possible courses of action and their likely consequences; sets objectives related to the larger goal; and establishes benchmarks for monitoring progress. While working on the project, student adjusts time and resources to allow for completion of a quality product.

-Students create a plan of action at the onset of the undertaking and document progress towards the realization of their goals.

-Students email updates at established times throughout the project

Students successfully complete the project and submit their personal journal reflections.




Performance Objectives


Effective interview techniques               Digital data collection techniques

Time management strategies                Expectations for e-government site

How to collaborate in a group                Essential knowledge of local government for citizens

Structure of local government               Effective ways to present information online

How to use camcorders, digital cameras, and computer programs


Do:     Collect and compile information in an organized, digital format

        Collaborate together as a group to complete tasks

Interview individuals to obtain specific information

        Use technological resources in an engaging and educational manner

        Summarize major details of local government

        Provide an audience with information and involvement opportunities  

          Present findings in an easily navigable and discernable manner


 Driving Question:  How does civic participation enrich and empower local government?


Assessment Plan:   


Major Group Products 


-Groups create a plan of action at the onset of the PBL

-Groups synthesize what is expected from the E-Gov website and create a question list for the interview

-Each city is profiled by the assigned group to compile a report on basic city information that includes zoning regulations, ordinances, and local information

-Students collaborate to create a rubric of expectations

-The E-Gov website is updated with the accumulated information and meets approval by the city and county officials in addition to the E-Gov program staff


Major Individual Projects 


-Individuals simulate the interview process and evaluate before undertaking their project

-Individuals log how their project is progressing and send update emails


Assessment and Reflection: 



Written Communication 


Critical Thinking & Problem Solving 


Content Knowledge 


Oral Communication 


Other (E-Gov Expectations)


Other classroom  assessments for learning:

Quizzes/ tests 


Practice presentations 






Peer evaluation 


Online tests and exams 


Concept maps 





Focus Group 




Task Management Chart 


Journal Writing/ Learning Log 

Other (Project Reception)



 Map the Project Product: E-Gov Website Posting

The E-Gov website is updated with the accumulated information and meets approval by the city and county officials in addition to the E-Gov program staff.

Phase 1 (Pre-planning):

Phase 2 (Implementation):

Phase 3 (Approval Stage):

Knowledge and Skills Needed 

Already Have Learned 

Taught Before the Project 

Taught During the Project 

1. Website navigation and data entry for databases




2. Local government organization on the county and city levels




3. Appropriate interviewing techniques




4. Research of local ordinances, zoning ordinances, governmental organization, and history




5. Effective ways to display research findings and report for public consumption




6. How to conduct effective peer reviews









            School-based Individuals: 

          K. Whited, Website Design Class Instructor

        B. Christo, Technology Specialist & Librarian

        J. Wendt, Government Teacher

         N. McCoy, Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for Kanawha County

        C. Thom, Staff Development Director for Kanawha County



          Laptops with Microsoft Office

Digital camera

Digital camcorder

Digital recorder

Broadband Ethernet Internet Access

E-Gov Website

Online topographic mapping programs



          R. Casto, Mayor of Nitro

        Contacts with each municipal government and county officials

        M. Fortin, E-Gov Director

        S. Huffman, E-Gov Facilitator

        D. O’Dell, Project Citizen Coordinator



          Laptops with Microsoft Office

        Online E-Gov Website

Hardcopies of E-Gov template

        Digital cameras

        Digital camcorders

        Project log notebook

        Online topographic programs

        Online county maps

        Hardcopies of city maps

Archive portfolio book

Funds to cover gasoline expenses

Project Citizen Information



Manage the Process:

*Note 1* The timeline exists to create benchmarks and represents work completed outside of class as well as limited time during class sessions.  Regular instruction should still continue during this process.


*Note 2* The facilitating teacher should maintain an archive of all email correspondence and personal observations from meetings and class sessions.  This can be stored at the conclusion of the project in a portfolio form.


Stage 1: Preliminary Organization (Initial Months of School)

-Each participating municipality needs to be identified within the county.  Each municipal government needs to be contacted to designate a contact person for the students to interact with throughout the process.

-The E-Gov website needs to be reviewed to see what specific areas are going to be provided to the community through the students’ work.  Previous exemplars of quality work from other counties can also be used if available to determine expectations and provide an overall direction for the process.

-The staff from E-Gov and school officials cultivate open communication to establish benchmarks for the progress and provide required documents.

-All technology should be delivered to the school site with sufficient time so that the teacher(s) can examine the equipment and become familiar with its usage.

-Participating classes need to be selected in-house at the school site with consideration given to availability of transportation, higher-level functioning and ability to operate independently, and group cohesiveness supported by the ability to cooperate.

-County officials and school administration need to collaborate with the selected teaching staff to logistically facilitate the program and enable implementation while adhering to established protocols and procedures.

Stage 2: Program Scaffolding (One Week)

-Selected classes gather and participate in an initial planning session where the project is presented to the students and the participants create a framework.

  1. Students are engaged by a motivational introduction
  2. An overview of the E-Gov template is shown to the students
  3. How the program will function in general terms is presented to the students, as well as the particular set-up for the final presentation of findings
  4. Students collaborate to select team leaders to oversee the process
  5. A timeline for benchmarks is presented and feedback is solicited
  6. A leadership meeting is set for the future, and students are asked to consider grouping to cover the various municipalities and the county government.

-An initial leadership team meeting is held to discuss the undertaking in progress.

  1. Team leaders voice any initial questions and concerns
  2. Strengths are assessed, and areas of responsibility for leaders are established
  3. Grouping is discussed, and a tentative plan is organized that creates teams for each municipality and county area
  4. Benchmarks are reviewed and modified if necessary

-The first class session is held where students begin working on the E-Gov project.

  1. Student groups are established and municipal assignments are made
  2. Students begin their individual journals that log the progress of the program
  3. A schedule for future class work sessions is created that allows for integration of the program into the school year without interruption to the learning process.


Stage 3: Implementation of E-Gov Research and Interviews (Four Weeks)

Week One (CSO SS.C.O.12.01.04) (Learning Skills: 21C.O.9-12.1.LS1, 21C.O.9-12.3.LS6)

-The student groups determine what is expected on the E-Gov site, as well as determining what topics citizens will be interested in when viewing.  Each group will assign tasks within the group. *Use the project planning guide for students below during this planning phase.*


Weeks Two & Three (CSO Learning Skills & Technology Tools: 21C.O.9-12.2.TT2, 21C.O.9-12.3.LS4)

-Students conduct their municipal interviews

  1. Students punctually arrive for the interview and conduct themselves professionally
  2. Students ask all of their designated questions including potential follow-ups and tape selected segments with their contact official
  3. Students determine how to access zoning and ordinance information for future research
  4. Groups photograph interesting locales and videotape any useful segments in the community
  5. Students email project leaders and teacher facilitator of completion
  6. Any research is digitally organized and cataloged



Week Four (CSO SS.C.O.12.04.01, SS.C.O.12.04.02)

-Students research zoning information and digitally map the city according to its various regions for presentation

-Students research ordinances and create some type of overview appropriate for their findings


Stage 4:  Development of Municipal synopsis (one Week)

Weeks Five & Six (Learning Skill 21C.O.9-12.1.TT9)

-Students enter the accumulated information into the E-Gov database and review their progress.

-Groups inform team leaders of progress and receive completion approval

-As a class, students will create a list of expectations that will be used to evaluate the posted information.  The teacher facilitator will compile the information into a functional rubric.


Stage 5:  Panel Reviews and Submission (Two Weeks)

Weeks Seven & Eight

-A school panel is juried to review the information and provide feedback. Once all errors are corrected, groups receive approval to submit findings to their municipalities for approval

-In addition to a letter of thanks, students submit their findings to the municipalities for final approval.  All correspondence is archived for future reference.


Stage 5: Compilation of Information Presentation (One Week)

Week Nine: (CSO SS.C.O.12.01.10)

-The class collaborates to create an interactive presentation that educates citizens on how they can be involved in city government and how local government impacts a citizen’s life.

-The process is reflected through a slideshow/ PowerPoint/ moviemaker format that includes student work and students at work.

-Students present their undertaking to the community in a reception style format, followed by the completion of a written evaluation reflection.



E-Gov Group Project Planning Table for Students


Assigned to:



Evaluation of E-Gov Site


Review the expectations for researched municipal information

-E-Gov Website

-Computers/ Hardcopies

Interviews of potential audience


Select at least five willing, involved citizens to interview to see what type of information they would like to have available for their city and county

-Five mature members of the community

-Email/ handwritten notes of community interviews

Letter of introduction to municipality


Introduce the members of your group and your interest in working on the project

-School Letterhead

Determination of group’s availability to interview municipal official


Select a variety of available dates and time to meet with your contact

-Member schedules

Phone call and scheduling


Make the initial contact with your resource and select an acceptable time to interview (Remember first impressions are often last impressions!)

-Phone service

Operation of digital camcorder


Prepare an individual to operate the digital camcorder

-Digital Camcorder

-Training Session

Operation of digital camera


Prepare an individual to operate the digital camera

-Digital Camera

-Training Session

Creation of interview question list


Using the E-Gov requirements and citizen requests, create a list of questions

-E-Gov expectations

-Email for question list

Role-play of interview


Practice proper interview procedures

-Best practices for interview research

Asking questions during interview


Prepare an individual to interview the contact

-Digital recorder

-Group’s question list

Typing of responses to interview


Develop a process to input the gathered information into the computer


-Website Access

Personal reflection log


Each student creates a log to record efforts and reflect on those efforts

-Journal book


Project Evaluation: After final submission to the E-Gov Website, a reception will be held to unveil the newly completed E-Gov link for Kanawha County.  Stakeholders will be invited to the reception, as well as parents and community members.  Students will share their findings with the group and discuss the process as reflection.  This reception may take place during the Project Citizen presentations, depending upon timing and scheduling.  Finally, students will write a personal reflection and submit it along with suggestions for students in other counties that will undertake the process in the future.