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My Summer Vacation -- On the Internet

Travel and learn with Kate and her younger brother, Matt, as they explore the U.S. -- on the Internet. Visit Web sites connected to popular attractions, and search those sites for answers to questions from Kate and Matt.

Take to the road with Kate and Matt! This brother-and-sister team are visiting ten sites of historic and educational interest this summer. (Well, maybe a couple of the sites were just for fun. After all, it is summer vacation.) This Internet scavenger hunt offers a cool summer activity for students. Or, in September, the activity might serve as a brush-up course in surfing the Internet. And Matt and Kate's travels might inspire students to explore more. Invite students to find additional places to visit on the Internet. Challenge them to create their own questions about those places.

Vacation Cover Image Hi! I'm Kate, and this is my little brother, Matt. Summer's here, and our family is traveling all around the United States. We're visiting all kinds of fantastic places -- and you're welcome to join us!

All along the way, Matt and I will ask you questions -- questions you can answer by checking out Web sites connected to the fun places we're visiting.

 

The answers to the questions can be found at the end of this story.

Join us on our summer scavenger hunt. See how many answers you can discover.

 

SCIENCE FIRST

My favorite subject is science, so our first stop is the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Named for Benjamin Franklin, who was one of our country's first great scientists, the Franklin Institute contains many fascinating science exhibits.

At the institute, Matt and I learned lots -- and we had lots of fun learning too. One exhibit taught us all about the weather. We learned about El Niño, which has been causing some strange weather in many places all around the world. You can learn all about El Niño on the Franklin Institute Web site.

 

A couple simple activities on the site will help you understand how El Niño can affect the weather.

Did you know that El Niño isn't something brand new? Scientists have known about El Niño for a long, long time. How long? That's the first question Matt and I have for you.

 

1. How long ago did people first notice the El Niño weather pattern?

 

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG

From Philadelphia, we head next to Colonial Williamsburg, in Virginia. But Williamsburg isn't the only landmark in the area we visit. Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in America, is nearby, and we visit there, too.

Jamestown Settlement is really interesting. In the museum there Matt and I learned all about the difficult times those first settlers experienced. We learned the true story of Pocahontas, too. And we saw full-scale replicas of the three ships that brought settlers from England to the Jamestown area. Do you know the names of those ships? That's our next question.

 

2. What were the names of the three ships that carried the first English settlers to Jamestown?

 

NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM

OK, time to head farther south, to Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. There Matt and I saw a bus just like the one on which Rosa Parks was arrested back in 1955 after she refused to give up her seat to a white man. Many other exhibits show major events in the Civil Rights struggle. Want to learn about some of those important events? Take a Virtual Tour of the museum's Web site. That's where you'll learn the answer to our next question:

 

3. When and where did Martin Luther King Jr., give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech?

 

DISNEYWORLD

Hey, science and history are great, but next we're headed for a place of fun and fantasy -- Disney World.

Disney World is so huge it includes Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, and a new park, Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Matt and I liked Animal Kingdom best of all. We saw Safari Village. And we saw the Tree of Life, which stands as a symbol of how all life is interconnected. The Tree of Life is 14 stories tall!

Speaking of size, do you know how big Disney World is? Do you know how many square miles of land it covers? That's our question for you. You can find the answer at the Disney World site.

 

4. How many square miles of land does Disney World cover?

We didn't see every attraction at Disney World, but Mom and Dad said it was time to move on. We'll just have to go back someday!

 

THE ALAMO

Disney World was really cool, but now Matt and I want to take you to another really cool place! We're on our way across the country to visit the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. The Alamo is an old mission that played a very important role in Texas's battle for independence from Mexico.

In December, 1835, a small group of Texans took over the Alamo from the Mexicans. But only 104 soldiers, many of them volunteers, remained to guard the mission. Soon Davy Crockett and his Tennessee volunteers arrived to help defend the Alamo. Colonel James Bowie (who invented the Bowie knife) showed up too. On March 6, 1836, about 1,400 Mexicans stormed the mission. Few of the Texans survived, but that wasn't the end of the fight for Texas independence. You can read about the remarkable turnaround that followed on the Alamo Web site.

But, first, here's another question for you, with an answer waiting online. A river played an important role in life at the Alamo. Locate on the Web site a map of Texas at the time of the Alamo battle to learn:

 

5. Which river is the Alamo closest to?

Are you having fun? Matt and I really hope so!

Next stop -- the Grand Canyon!

 

GRAND CANYON

This is one destination Matt and I both loved. It's spectacular! The entire Grand Canyon is in northern Arizona. It covers 277 miles of the scenic Colorado River and neighboring lands.

While we were there, Matt and I took an adventure trip down the Colorado River in a boat called a dory. It was great -- even if we did get really wet!

As you can imagine, there aren't many big cities near the Grand Canyon. You can take a look at some maps on the Grand Canyon Web site to see how far the canyon is from some large cities. Take a look at the map of Arizona and answer our next question:

 

6. Which of these three cities -- Tucson, Flagstaff, or Phoenix -- is closest to the Grand Canyon?

 

MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM

Well, it is summertime after all, so let's head West for the Pacific Ocean!

Monterey, in California, is the site of a world-famous aquarium that studies and exhibits creatures of the sea. There's always something going on at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Check out the Habitats Path Tour on the site to explore one of the world's richest marine environments -- the kelp forest. There you can also learn the answer to our next question:

 

7. In the Kelp Forest exhibit, how much seawater is pumped into the exhibit through jets each minute?

Now, on to some scenic, rugged territory.

 

MOUNT RUSHMORE

You've probably seen photos of giant Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Huge sculptures of the heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are carved into the mountainside. Matt and I could hardly believe our eyes!

How could people carve those faces? How long did it take them to do it? That's our question for you:

 

8. How long did it take sculptors to create Mount Rushmore?

 

WRIGLEY FIELD

Play ball!

That's what the Chicago Cubs baseball team does at Wrigley Field, where Matt and I spent one beautiful summer afternoon! Many people say Wrigley is one of the most beautiful ballparks and one of the best places to see a ballgame.

Built in 1914, the park is located in Chicago, Illinois. It is the third oldest ballpark in the major leagues, after Detroit's Tiger Stadium and Boston's Fenway Park, both built in 1912.

People are usually interested in Wrigley's history, and Matt and I wanted to find out more about the ballpark's past, too. We learned that an animal was among the "fans" that attended the first game ever played at Wrigley Field. So that's our question to you:

 

9. What animal attended the first game ever played at Wrigley Field?

And now for our last destination, let's head way back East to Cape Cod.

 

CAPE COD

Cape Cod is the "crooked arm" that sticks out of the rest of Massachusetts. With beautiful, sandy beaches, it is the summer place many people visit. In addition to its beaches, the Cape is known for scrumptious seafood, such as lobster and clams.

Cape Cod is a great place for birdwatching and for water sports. Whale watching is also popular, with many whales sighted off the coast. Matt and I spotted two finback whales when we went out on a whale watching boat! We got on the boat in the town that is way, way out at the tip of Cape Cod. (It's also said to be the spot where the Pilgrim's first set foot when they came to the New World!) Take a look at a Cap Cod map and answer this question:

 

10. What is the name of the town that's at the very end of the "crooked arm" called Cape Cod?

 

SUMMER HAS TO END!

Well, it really has been an outstanding summer. Matt and I have traveled all over the United States. We hope you had a good time traveling with us -- online!

THE ANSWERS

 

  1. How long ago did people first notice the El Niño weather pattern? (El Niño has been known since the 1500s, when fishermen in South America noticed it. El Niño has been known about for 400 years!)
  2. What were the names of the three ships that carried the first English settlers to Jamestown? (The Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery.)
  3. When and where did Martin Luther King Jr., give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech? (in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963)
  4. How many square miles of land does Disney World cover? (40 square miles)
  5. Which river is the Alamo closest to? (the San Antonio River)
  6. Which of these three cities -- Tucson, Flagstaff, or Phoenix -- is closest to the Grand Canyon? (Flagstaff)
  7. In the Kelp Forest exhibit, how much seawater is pumped into the exhibit through jets each minute? (4,000 gallons of seawater)
  8. How long did it take sculptors to create Mount Rushmore? (14 years)
  9. What animal attended the first game ever played at Wrigley Field? (a bear cub)
  10. What is the name of the town that's at the very end of the "crooked arm" called Cape Cod? (Provincetown)

Article by Sharon Cromwell
Education World®
Copyright © 1998 Education World

 

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07/06/98

 

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