Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Journey North Update: Equinox and Longitude

We have been progressing well with our Journey North project.  Last Friday we received sunrise and sunset data for the equinox that allowed us to find the longitude of our mystery classes!  After studying maps, seasons, the earth's rotation and revolution, time zones, and universal time, we now have latitudes and longitudes for all 10 classes!

The following weeks will be dedicated to checking maps (including Google maps) and following whatever rabbit trails may arise from the geography clues we will receive for the next month.  And we're waiting to see when class 3 and class 8 will change their photoperiods.  They're hard to see, but one of them still has a 24 hour photoperiod while the other has zero hours.

Our graph will have all the photoperiod lines cross as we now on the other side of the equinox.  We found it interesting that the photoperiods far from the equator have non-liner changes.

It was rewarding to see the kids excited about finding their longitudes.  They were quite confused at first by universal time, local time, and sunrise but after more discussion they began to figure it out.  They were excited to see their hard work pay off.


dstb said...

I've enjoyed reading your Journey North posts. We are participating this year, too. I found this really great simulator that lets you play with the date and latitude and shows you the amount of daylight.
Once you have determined the latitude of your mystery class, this animation would be fun to play with. You could pretend you are there and see what a day would look like:
There are lots of other great animations on this website including lunar phases and a rotating sky explorer. Fun!

Good luck finding your mystery classes!

Kris said...

Wow, those are a couple of really neat simulators! They are perfect for demonstrating what we're learning in the Mystery Class program.

dstb said...

I showed the boys the simulators yesterday and had them find the latitude of their mystery classes (each boy has 5 classes). After they got the latitude, they had fun spinning the globe in the simulator around and guessing where a fun place for a mystery class would be.

Then they calculated their longitude clues and entered them in Google Earth. So now we have the classes narrowed down to a rough idea. We put small removable stickers with the MC numbers on our laminated wall map. We also kept the ones up from last year, so we could compare.

Lots of fun!