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Trippin' to the Poles and the Blue Nose Ritual
Exercises in Latitude and Longitude and Polar Travel

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Author Contact Information

Larry Rose is a TEA Associate and Teacher at Pleasanton Middle Scool, Pleasanton, California.  His email is lrose@pleasanton.k12.ca.us.

The students will plan imagined trips to the polar regions by studying the journals of TEA teachers. The students will use Latitude and Longitude, map scales and time zone studies to lay out their trip to the poles.

Grade Level/Discipline
I use this activity in my earth science classes at the middle school. It can be used in any class studying map reading and geography at just about any level.

National Standards

Pre-activity set-up

The teacher needs to gather art materials (paper, markers, rulers, etc.) string, a globe or globes, wall maps with latitude and longitude markings. Maps with polar projections are ideal but not essential.

Time Frame
Three to four class periods plus time for internet research.

Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity
Read the paragraph below to your students:

"The call has gone out from the National Science Foundation for students to apply who are willing to help in polar research. It will be the adventure of a lifetime for students who are chosen. The NSF wants to send some of you to the poles! All you have to do to qualify is to tell the NSF director how you would get there to join your research team."

Explanation (Discussing)
Discuss: Why would the government, the NSF, want to do this? What sorts of adventures would the students have? Ask for a show of hands- how many students would like to go to Antarctica? How many would like to go to the North Pole? How about Greenland? How many would like to ride on an icebreaker through the Arctic Ocean? How many would like to see penguins in the wild?

Elaboration (Polar Applications)
Activity: Fill out the student master below. A brief review, or an introductory lesson, a how-to, should be led by the teacher on Latitude and Longitude before the master is attempted.

Exchange (Students Draw Conclusions)

Evaluation (Assessing Student Performance)
Responses on the student master and the quality of the "My Trip to____" poster can be used for evaluation.

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