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Journey North Mystery Class

December 23rd, 2004 · No Comments

Now that the solstice has passed, it will be fun to watch the sunlight change with the days, lengthening the light. Soon the girls and I will be observing the sunrise and sunset as we participate in a class with others around the globe…

This month, a homeschool email group helped me discover the Journey North web site.

Journey North engages students in a global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. K-12 students share their own field observations with classmates across North America. They track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, bald eagles, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes — and other birds and mammals, the budding of plants, changing sunlight and other natural events. Find standards-based lesson plans, activities and information to help students make local observations and fit them into a global context. Widely considered a best-practices model for education, Journey North is the nation’s premiere “citizen science” project for children. The general public is also welcome to participate.

The kids and I have signed up for the Mystery Class. I think it will be fun to discover the secret locations; participating will enhance our studies of geography, history and culture.

From the site’s press release

Teachers and students in grade 4-12 classrooms are invited to participate this winter/spring in Journey North’s Mystery Class project in which students try to find ten secret classes “hiding” around the globe. The central clue is the changing amount of sunlight (photoperiod) at each site. Students first use only sunrise and sunset times, and later receive geographic, climatic, and cultural clues about each site. In the meantime, they also track day length in their hometowns. On this inspiring ten-week journey, young geographers must use reasoning, graphing, and research skills to pinpoint exact locations of the mystery classes.

This investigation demonstrates that, as spring sweeps across the Northern Hemisphere, day length changes everywhere on earth. Students learn that this is related to the tilt of the earth’s axis in relation to the sunlight striking the planet. They discover that this is what drives seasonal changes, which, in turn, affect the entire web of life. Students develop a deep grasp of these important concepts because they puzzle them out in real time as the project unfolds over two and a half months.

The class starts January 31. How to Participate. Come join! Or if anyone has participated in previous Journey North projects, please share your experience…

Tags: homeschool