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Spring GIF Journey Into Spring:
An Internet Project
For Everyone

Is it spring yet? Students and teachers participating in Journey North know the answer to that question. And Education World reveals how you can discover it too.

Spring has sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where the flowers is?

Apparently, the originator of that ancient schoolyard rhyme had never heard of Journey North -- because participants in this online educational program know where the spring flowers are.

They also know where the bald eagles, monarch butterflies, humpback whales, manatees, and whooping cranes are. In fact, all told, Journey North participants know where to find nearly a dozen seasonal migrators and how to recognize many more sights and sounds and smells of spring.

A FOUR-MONTH JOURNEY

Established in 1991 and supported by funds from The Annenberg Foundation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Journey North uses online media to teach science and math to students of all ages in both the United States and Canada.

At its most basic, the program asks students to track the migration of an assortment of insects, birds, fish, and mammals; to record such meteorological information as temperature and hours of daylight; to observe seasonal changes in a variety of life cycles; and to share their observations with students and teachers across North America. In return, Journey North provides students with access to all the collected data and to articles and experts that can help them interpret and use the data. And Journey North provides teachers with lessons, activities, and other resources they can use to help their students benefit from the program.

Involve your class, or join Education World for a guided tour.

The Journey North site, like the season it celebrates, can seem, at first glance, to be almost too much to absorb. So much information, so little time! But once you've explored a little, you'll find that the site is as well organized as any you've visited -- and easier to use than most.

SPRING'S JOURNEY NORTH

Probably the best place to begin your Journey North is at Spring's Journey North, where you can access all the information provided at the site. Choose one of the animals to find detailed reports about that animal. Each report is in the form of an informational article, rather than a statistical review; and each contains background facts, as well as stories about how the animal is making, and surviving, this year's journey. In addition, each Journey North report includes a challenge question to help students think about the implications of the information provided.

Visitors can also select to learn about such seasonal sights as tulips, earthworms, and maple sugaring. Though all the sections are organized in a similar, easy-to-use format, each contains distinctive information particular to its subject.

Today's News, another section of the site, combines the latest reports about all the animals and signs of spring on a single page. Here, students can assess all the individual pieces of information to track spring's Journey North.

If your students want to contribute to the Journey North reports, invite them to go to Field Notes, where they'll find a form to use to submit their own sightings and observations to Journey North. Although it isn't necessary to register to access information at the Journey North site, "for quality control purposes," you must Register to contribute to the project. But it's easy and it's free -- and it's fun. So why not do it?

A TEACHER'S MANUAL TOO!

Once you've become familiar with the information the site has to offer, you'll want to look at the Teacher's Manual to find suggestions, activities, and lessons that will help you use Journey North. The manual is divided into several sections. Orientation helps teachers navigate the site by providing links to each of the sections:

The Journey North News Calendar
The calendar details the schedule of daily reports. Check the calendar to decide which reports are most appropriate for you.

Choose Your Focus
Information to help teachers decide how many migrations to track and which are most appropriate for their classes.

Recommended Tracking Maps
How to order and provides suggestions for making tracking maps.

Track Spring's Journey North
A checklist of migrations and signs of spring and a field data form.

Practice Reporting Your Sightings
This section explains the process for submitting and storing data and allows students to practice sending information.

Student Assessment and Journey North
Suggestions for assessment strategies.

Teacher Tips
Suggestions by teachers for ways to use the program in a variety of locations and at different grade levels.

Background Lessons
Lesson plans from the Journey North Teacher's Manual.

In short, Journey North provides a site that's chock full of the joy of rebirth, renewal, growth, and learning. And it's great fun! What are you waiting for?

Of course, if you miss Journey North, or simply can't fit it into this year's schedule, save the URL. Journey South begins in the fall!

Article by Linda Starr
Education World®
Copyright © 2008 Education World

Originally published 03/01/2002
Last updated 02/26/2008