Google Earth is an astounding, eye-opening, free geographic resource that allows you and your children to fly anywhere on the planet and zoom in to see cities, buildings, landmarks, ancient ruins, terrain: anything on Earth. If you have never witnessed its wonders, check out this features tour, and then read more of the endless possibilities of how using Google Earth can enhance your lessons. Continue reading
Do you want to have a blast with your kids- getting fresh air and exercise, while they explore and learn about maps and geography? Geocaching is a world-wide hide-and-seek treasure hunt, and anyone with a GPS (or smart phone!) can participate. Continue reading
Flags in their basic form are pieces of fabric flown from poles, that identify countries or groups of people. But the colors, symbols, and designs of the flags hold so much more information about the people and cultures they represent. People may be able to distinguish and recognize numerous flags- but how many times do we really have insights into their background? My husband shared the fascinating legend behind the Mexican flag to my kids and I:
Venezuela's Angel Falls, the world's highest uninterrupted waterfall.
My daughters and I spent a quiet Saturday morning making these lovely landscape collages of several wonders of the world. Using a computer (to view the images), paper, glue, and some magazines we created our colorful masterpieces. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Around the World, Arts and Crafts, Australia, Australia and Oceania, Geography, Tanzania, The Americas, Venezuela
Tagged collage, Earth Day, education, recycling
In 1993, the UN designated today, March 22 as World Water Day in order to emphasize the important of conserving and managing our freshwater resources. The 2011 theme is Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. Urban areas around the world are growing rapidly:according to a 2011 study from Yale, by 2030 urban land use around the globe will expand by 590,000 square miles — which is almost equal to the land mass of Mongolia. The study shows that “India, China, and Africa have experienced the highest rates of urban land expansion,” while the largest absolute loss of rural land to cities has occurred in North America.
Whether people move to cities because of money and jobs (GDP growth), or because the population is growing, the result is the same: urban areas and industrialization are rapidly growing, people are competing for water, and the impacted water systems are challenged to keep up. In addition, scarcity of water and droughts affect food supplies around the world.
Here are some excellent activities for kids to do to to learn about our precious water resources. Continue reading
If your kids are anything like mine are, your long driving trips begin with the ubiquitous “Are we there yet!?” before your car even gets to the highway. As a preemptive tactic (one of many!) for our 10 day spring break trip out west, I used google maps to make up individual maps for my kids to reference and mark our progress.
Here are easy instructions how you can put your kids in the navigator’s seat on your next road trip, and have them be in charge of telling the car if you’ve arrived yet. Continue reading
A trip to the Rio Napo, Ecuador in 1996.
Last year, my kids and I studied a different biome each month. When looking at biomes, the world is generally divided into 5 major types: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. The plants and animals in each biome have adapted to their environment with special features that help them survive. Under the forests category, it is sub-divided into different types of forests, such as tropical rainforests, temperate forests, and boreal forests. Because I have visited parts of the Amazon as well as Costa Rica, I was excited to share what I had learned and they were really excited to take a closer look. We took a month to read books, watch films, and do some art projects related to tropical rain forests. Here are the resources we used. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Animals, Around the World, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Games and Toys, Geography, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Panama, The Americas
Tagged biomes, education, educational technology, on-line activities, rainforest, science
The flag of India, like all flags, is a source of national pride, symbol of cultural identity, and representation of values held by a group of people that- as diverse as they are- indeed are unified under the flag.
Recently, I was looking for ideas to create the flag of India for our upcoming International Week at school. I stumbled upon a wonderful blog called Putti Prapancha, with an idea to make the flag of India out of pulses: lentils, split peas, and we used rice for the white stripe. Here is our version:
The deep saffron orange strip represents courage and sacrifice, the middle white stripe represents truth and purity, and the bottom green stripe symbolizes peace and prosperity. The blue circle in the middle Continue reading
How well do you know world geography? Can you locate countries and capitals on a blank world map? How about your kids? Who would win a challenge in parents/teachers vs kids? Try these popular on-line quizzes to test your geography knowledge.
We are getting ready for our school’s International Week at our house, and I have volunteered to set-up tables for Ethiopia and Mexico, and also will contribute to the China table. This weekend we began to make some materials for our “touch tables.” You might have seen 3D Salt Dough Maps before- they are made by mounting self-hardening dough onto cardboard, forming the mountains and other physical landforms, and then allowing it to dry so you can paint it. Kids (and adults!) learn just as much in the process- or more- than from the final product, and you end up with a beautiful, handmade display item that is just perfect for an International Week at school. Continue reading
Whether you’ve got budding geographers, you’re a family that loves to travel, you’d like to make your classroom more global, or you just want to spark an interest in the world, these 5 map gifts will pique your curiosity as well as your children’s.
1. FAO Schwarz Big World Map. Kids and adults love to place the Velcro labels of continents, countries, animals and bodies of water onto this large, felt wall map. I love this idea: the huge, eye-level, colorful map draws kids in, and keeps them coming back for more.