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Barb's Olympic Adventure Continues
Olympic Activities Posting 1

Curriculum Center Barbara Taddeo, a middle school special education teacher in San Mateo, California, is in Australia! While at the Summer Olympics, Taddeo will share with Education World readers her experiences and observations as a volunteer at the Games in Sydney. Plus she'll offer lessons to help Education World readers use the Olympic Games in their classrooms! Follow Taddeo's journey through her reports from Sydney!

If you have questions or comments for Barbara Taddeo, visit the Education World message board.

The flight on Air New Zealand lifted off through rain clouds at 11:05PM (23:05) on September 7. Thus began an adventure of a lifetime! Our Air New Zealand flight was packed with Olympic athletes and coaches from around the world. Our flight was truly an international flight. Many of the athletes were competing and training in the U.S. prior to our trip. I was assigned a seat next to one of the coaches and judo players from Canada; the judo coach was not originally from Canada but was from Japan. Across from me was the synchronized swim team from Canada.


Our flight traveled west over the Pacific Ocean headed for Australia. At our cruising altitude, the outside air temperature was -52 C (Celsius). The estimated flight time was 14.5 hours. The majority of our flight was in darkness. Our cruising speed was 720 kilometers per hour (kph). The flight continued uneventfully. We landed in Sydney at 7:05 a.m. on the morning of September 9.

Here is your math problem of the day:
What happened to September 8? (Other questions to answer that will help students think about the problem: What important spots did we pass that made a difference in the problem? What longitude and latitude lines did we cross? Did we pass any other oceans and important bodies of water?)

Teacher's answers: As the flight headed west the hours were minus from where we started. Remember "East is least west is best" rhyme? In other words, as you head west you keep loosing hours in a day; for example, when it is 9:00 a.m. (09:00) in New York it is 6:00 a.m. (06:00) in San Francisco. This changes when you hit the International Dateline. The hours become +12. So I lost a whole day. Don't worry; I gain it back when I head home. We landed in Sydney at 7:05 a.m. (07:05) on September 9. We flew over the Coral Sea and the Tasman Sea on our approach to Sydney.


Australia is so much like the United States. It is hard to tell which country you are in. Upon landing, I was directed by an Olympic volunteer to a special area of customs. There, I was given my credential -- a very large badge -- that has my photograph and venue (work area) information printed on it. While performing my Olympic duties, I must wear this badge around my neck at all times. (You will see it on judges and volunteers when watching the Olympic coverage on television.) With this pass, I am allowed into my venue areas plus I can ride all of the public transportation systems within the surrounding community of Sydney! (At the Atlanta Olympics, I could also get all the free Coca Cola products I could drink.)

After getting my credential, I proceeded to special line where my passport was checked and stamped. Next, another Olympic volunteer guided me to where I could collect my luggage. I then stepped through the doors into a country I had not been in for 25 years!

It was wonderful to be met by Julie, a friend I met through a girl scouting organization. Julie had stayed with me in the United States for a month about 10 years ago.

I picked up my rent-a-car. The first big difference between the United States and Australia became evident right away [set dash] the steering wheel was on the right side of the car! People here drive on the left side of the road. Fortunately, I arrived on a Saturday so the traffic was light. Driving in Australia was a big adjustment and a funny one at the same time. I kept turning on my windshield wipers instead of my turn signal. Everything is just opposite from that of an American car. The cars are smaller in this country. The most popular car is the Holden, which is a General Motors brand for Australia.

The houses reminded me of those you might see in the Midwest; many were made of brick. Everywhere I turned there were American businesses. We had McDonalds for breakfast, shopped at Target and Kmart, and at the corner where we had to turn to get to my friend Joanna's apartment there was a huge Blockbuster video store.

Australians dress and act just like Americans. The big rage now over here, as it is in the United State, is the new scooters, or Razors. The kids are riding them everywhere.


Another big difference is the language. Some Australian word and phrases you may be familiar with are

  • G'day for hi,
  • have a go for give it a try,
  • yank for American.

Some of the interesting ones, which you may not know are

  • chook for chicken,
  • Q up for getting in line,
  • tick for checking something off on a list,
  • biscuit or bikkie for cookie, and
  • breakie for breakfast.

If you can shorten a word and add an ie that word becomes an Australian word. Now can you think of words that come from the country you have picked that have different meanings in the United States?


Spring will start soon (September 22) in Australia. The weather is cool and clear. Unlike our hemisphere, if you want to go toward warmer weather you head north and if you want cooler weather you head south. Following are two climate related questions that students might think about:
What is located south of Sydney and the country of Australia and is one of the coldest places on earth? (Antarctica) If you head north in the Northern Hemisphere, what area will you reach? (the Arctic)

Weather reports say the next few days here in Sydney will reach a high temperature of 21 C and dip to a low temperature of 11C. Challenge students to figure out what those temperatures would be in degrees Fahrenheit.

Teacher's answers:
The formula for converting temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit is: ((Celsius temperature x 9) / 5) + 32 = Fahrenheit temperature.
Therefore: ((21 X 9) /5) + 32 = 69.8 (approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit)
Therefore: ((11 X 9) /5) + 32 = 51.8 (approximately 52 degrees Fahrenheit)

Barbara Taddeo has created these activities for the students of three schools -- but she has been kind enough to agree to share her daily reports with Education World's readers. We're pleased to be included in these daily mailings to the students in Taddeo's 7th grade class in Room 31 at Borel Middle School in San Mateo, California; Mrs. Hirschmann's class at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in Turersville, New Jersey; and Lacey Rhoades' class in Mesa, Arizona.

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Barbara Taddeo
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