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Join Education World as we adventure in the South American rain forest, as we track tigers in Asia, and as we follow President Clinton on his recent African tour. We visit one Web site connected to each continent. Follow-up activities provided!

Good day, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to welcome you aboard Education World Flight 3W to selected locations in Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. At each stop along the way, you will be provided with a sample activity designed to familiarize you and your fellow travelers with the general area. Please use that activity as a springboard to your exploration of the many fascinating adventures awaiting you at each location.

You are about to embark on a fantastic journey -- one that will take you and your students to all seven continents and expose you to the many wonders that lie just beyond your classroom walls. So fasten your seat belts and prepare for take off. Our first stop is:

AFRICA

You and your students are invited to join President Clinton's Trip to Africa. This site provides descriptions and photographs of President and Mrs. Clinton's recent trip to Africa, text of speeches the President delivered there, facts about each of the countries visited, information about political issues involving Africa and the United States, and links to related educational sites. The site includes an information guide for teachers as well as online games, puzzles, and activity sheets for students in grades 3-12.

You might arrange students into groups of six and ask each student to choose one of the countries the Clintons visited. Have students go to the Web site, click Itinerary, and click the name of their chosen country to learn about its geography, people, history, government, economy, and past relationship with the United States. Students can then return to the main page, click Photos, and click the name of the country to see photographs of that leg of the Clintons' journey. Suggest that students use the information they obtain to write a news report about the Clintons' visit. Individual news reports can then be combined into a documentary of the entire trip.

ANTARCTICA

In December 1995, the expeditionary ship Livonia set out from Argentina on a two-week voyage to the continent of Antarctica. You and your students can relive the experiences of Livonia's crew and share their frigid adventures as you explore Virtual Antarctica. The site provides an online record of the expedition as well as information about the history, science, and ecology of Antarctica.

As students click Enter Website to begin their adventure, challenge them to create a list of Antarctica's scientific superlatives to impress and astound their classmates. As they browse the pages of the site, alert explorers will discover that Antarctica is the highest, windiest, coldest, and least populated continent. They'll find that Antarctica's ice cap is the largest in the world and yet, based on annual precipitation amounts, the continent might also be called the largest desert in the world. What more can your students discover? Encourage them to create an illustrated page for each "fantastic fact" they find and then combine them into a book about the frozen continent.

ASIA

Heading for Asia, you and your students can explore The Tiger Information Center to learn almost everything you ever wanted to know about tigers -- animals found in the wild only in Asia. The site provides a Tiger Handbook containing facts about tiger behavior, species, environments, and the threats that face them. It includes information on tiger parts used in Chinese medicine, a description of tiger poaching in India, a book about Siberian tigers, and suggestions for saving tigers throughout the world. Students can track an escaped tiger, breed an endangered tiger, design a tiger exhibit, and take a tiger quiz.

Invite students to begin their Asian exploration at Tracking the Tiger Trade. There they will read and direct an interactive story as they join a photojournalist as he investigates tiger poaching in Asia. Students will discover interesting facts about the Asian countries of India, Tibet, and China as they carry out their dangerous assignment and complete one or more of the activities suggested at the end of the story. Encourage students to also study the map of Save the Tiger Fund Projects Around the World.

For younger students, you will find plenty of tiger resources at The Tiger Information Center Teacher Resources.

AUSTRALIA

A Guide to Australia provides links to informational sites about all aspects of Australian life. Arranged by territory and by category, the site includes information on science and nature, education and communication, commerce and trade, travel and tourism, and culture and entertainment in Australia. Students can choose a territory and discover what its flag looks like, learn about its government, find out about the people, animals, and plants that live there, and visit its most important landmarks.

You might want to arrange students into small groups, assign each group one Australia territory, and ask students to report on a particular aspect of life within that territory. For example, have students illustrate a poster of their assigned territory's fauna and flora, create a diorama depicting that territory's climate, or prepare a travel brochure of interesting places to visit. Ask a volunteer from each group to share its findings and then compare and contrast the information obtained about each territory.

EUROPE

What do children in Sweden do for fun during cold winter months? In what country do people celebrate Runeberg's Day? What U.S. holiday is most like the Austrian holiday of Perchten? Your students will find the answers to those questions and many more at Festivals and Traditions, a Web for Schools site. Many of the pages at this site were prepared by students and teachers in the individual countries, so each is different, and your students will enjoy reading about each country's holidays and festivals in the words of students their own age.

Brainstorm with students a list of holidays celebrated in the United States. Then ask them to explore the Web site and make a list of corresponding holidays celebrated in other countries. For example, Perchten is similar to Halloween, Armistice Day is comparable to Veteran's Day, and many countries celebrate a thanksgiving day, an independence day, and similar religious holidays. Discuss the similarities and differences in the celebrations. Students might want to prepare their own report about holidays celebrated in the United States and share it with other students.

NORTH AMERICA

Take part in a North American Scavenger Hunt to collect valuable information about the continent. This site includes activities and links to help students learn about the environment, history, culture, wildlife, and countries of North America. Most of the pages present students with a specific task, such as to create a map of North America or to choose a U.S. president and tell what happened while he was in office, and then provide students with links to resources that will help them complete that task. The site also contains a student-created project on endangered animals with appropriate links and resources. Although still under construction, there's plenty at this site to keep students busy during their visit.

Arrange students into pairs and have each pair explore the site and complete at least two online tasks from two different sections of the site. If time allows, you might ask students to create a new task using a third site and challenge another pair to complete it. Or you might ask students to create a word search about endangered animals.

SOUTH AMERICA

Stop on your way to The Tropical Rainforest in Suriname to learn about the country and its original inhabitants. Then visit the rainforest, discover the characteristics of each of its layers, see its flora and fauna, discover what the climate is like, hear frogs croak, and see a bird's-eye-view of the rainforest. This is an extremely comprehensive site with lots of text, but there are many, many links, most of which are both visually and educationally appealing.

You might want to suggest that students choose one rainforest topic to explore in depth. For example, they can focus on the plants or on the animals, study the rainforest's canopy, or investigate the human dangers that threaten its existence. Then have students browse the entire text to find only the sections or links that relate to their chosen topic. Help students join together to create a mural or a classroom display incorporating all aspects of their study.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our Internet World Tour. We'd like to thank you for joining Education World and we hope you'll join us again very soon.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

The following sites provide general references and/or sources of information about the world's continents.
  • Test Your Geography Skills Geography trivia questions about each of the continents.
  • The White House for Kids Hosted by Socks, the cat, this site includes lots of inside information about the U.S. government and its officials.
  • EUN-Web for Schools A site at which schools from various European countries collaborate to produce educational projects.
  • Adventure Online Links to lots of online adventures for kids.
  • Field Trips Includes links to online field trips all over the world -- and beyond.
  • KidNews Stories of interest written by and for kids from all over the world.
  • Geographia Information and pictures from many countries.
  • Global Tour Lots of information about the continents and world regions. Includes information for parents, teachers, and students.
  • Euro-Web From the Geography Department at Indiana University, this site provides a virtual tour of the European continent, including photos, graphics, maps, flags, sound clips, and useful information. The information can be accessed by country or by the topic of interest.
  • Lonely Planet A wide variety of pictures, maps, information, practical advice, and gossip about destinations all over the world. Not all sites are appropriate for all kids, however, so check these out before traveling with your students.

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 1998 Education World

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07/20/1998