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 Post subject: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:01 pm 
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One of my goals for the weekend is to create a fun, engaging lesson activity for my students on latitude and longitude. The new standards specify using minutes and seconds (oh boy; they struggled with just degrees. Maybe because they rely on calculators to graph in math these days?!).

So, I used to do an earthquake plotting exercise, but it's a bit tedious and I want to do a version of that near the end of the year, when we actually study plate tectonic is, as a review.

Also out are hurricanes, since I'll do a version of that next month with meteorology.

Most students hate this stuff and find it boring. Fair enough. So, I want a fun hook. My ideas so far:

something on searching for Amelia Earhart (bonus girl power! Bonus preview meteorology and oceanography, and the importance of knowing where the heck you are).

Famous pirate stuff

Shipwrecks off coast of Florida

Just random stuff on a map of Virgina (bonus, preview some Va geo stuff we need to do this year)

Civil war stuff in our general vicinity (this one, sadly, would bore me; I haven't even gone to see either major battlefield I live between)

I want something more entertaining and definitely more authentic than plotting dots on a fake map. I will probably draw my own maps in Illustrator.

Any ideas! Feedback? My classes so far seem so engaged and I don't want to lose that. Last year, I swear we could have had an erupting volcano in the middle of the classroom and they would have walked around it and complained about the room being too hot.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:35 pm 
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I'm not a kid, but how cool would it be to divide your students into groups and have them work together to find a shipwreck. Each shipwreck has its own story and clues to lead them to an even bigger treasure.

So basically each team needs to find their boat, learn its story and then compete with the other groups to get the grand prize shipwreck.

Then you have each team talk about their boat and how they found it...

Plus you get to talk in pirate all class - And you get an arrrrrrrr plus matey!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Chip Strong
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You could make up a story about a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt (amazing race?). Or you could do it connect-the-dots style, so that once they're done plotting it forms some kind of image.

How old are your kids?


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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Tofulish wrote:
I'm not a kid, but how cool would it be to divide your students into groups and have them work together to find a shipwreck. Each shipwreck has its own story and clues to lead them to an even bigger treasure.

So basically each team needs to find their boat, learn its story and then compete with the other groups to get the grand prize shipwreck.

Then you have each team talk about their boat and how they found it...

Plus you get to talk in pirate all class - And you get an arrrrrrrr plus matey!


This sounds like a great activity for next year. I could modify this into a nature of science activity. Hmm. Too much work for the weekend now though.

My kids are juniors/seniors, so 16-18. I'd say 95% are 17.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:48 pm 
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eatsbabies wrote:
You could make up a story about a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt (amazing race?). Or you could do it connect-the-dots style, so that once they're done plotting it forms some kind of image.

How old are your kids?


I like the image idea, but want something more inquiry/authentic for now. I'm totally stealing that idea for a test question though!

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:56 pm 
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You could have them identify the city at each point?


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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:01 pm 
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Do anything about John Harrison and the book Longitude by Dava Sobel.

It's such a cool story.

Maybe it's more backgroundy though, than curriculummish.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Ok, I think I am decided.

I'm going with Amelia Earhart. I can do an intro with a song from the Plainsong album and show a few Doscovery channel clips on YouTube.

For part 1, I'll have them label the islands in the Republic of Kiribati and US Minor Outlying Islands. They will match up the latitude and longitude I give them with the islands. Then they will answer questions about Amelia Earhart's flight plain (stuff like where was she at xxx time/date).

For Part 2, I'll give them a list of artifacts found at Nikumororo and their exact l&l, including minutes and seconds, and they will plot the locations.

How does this sound? I can also preview some of the other mapping we will look at like satellite/overhead, and also preview atolls, time zones (Kiribati/Christmas is cool for that!).

I'm reading all the Tighar stuff--pretty cool!

FF, I thought about that, especially since there is a great clip that I saved during the Olympics about Greenwich and Harrison. But, I am afraid that anything with that would totally confuse the kids, even though it's a fabulous example of solving a scientific problem.

With Earhart, we can model the scientific process a bit too since there is now a clear hypothesis, evidence, and therefore analysis.

I can also refer back to things from this lesson when we talk about hurricanes (where did the plane debris go?), and atoll formation/oceanography.

I'm way over thinking this!

But, I suppose the real question is will any of the kids care about Amelia Earhart? They didn't even know who Sally Ride was! (honestly, what are they teaching kids these days?!)

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:51 pm 
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That sounds so cool! You could always do a hand-out with additional resources that kids can look at if they want to learn more about Amelia Earhart or the search for her remains. It might be fun for some of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Yeah. I'm trying to put some stuff like that together. I can put it on the class website.

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 4:58 pm 
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I would've been into it. I was super into Amelia Earhart. I read a massive biography of her in the 6th grade.


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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:09 pm 
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An expert!

Any ideas on what I should include about her?

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 Post subject: Re: Fun with lat&long-- ideas?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:52 am 
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Wish I'd had you as a teacher, lw!

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