Weeks 1-2 Introduction

If you are using Exploring Countries and Cultures, please share your ideas with us.
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Weeks 1-2 Introduction

Unread post by Marie »

Weeks 1-2

Additional ideas may be posted in other areas of the message board.

Worm experiment, week 2:
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7874 (ECC Archives)
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=3542 (1st)

Leaf activities, week 2:

Play-acting plane ride:
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Flat map alternative, Longitude/Latitude

Unread post by kellybell »

You know, I thought the orange might be a bit messy and I (gasp) skipped it. However, we had a fun time using tracing paper over a 12" globe. The girls could see how difficult it was to get the rounded continents to show on the flat paper. The girls quickly understood the issue of drawing a spherical earth on a flat paper... Something's going to get distorted.

And, I don't remember if this was a trick from ECC or one I read somewhere else, but when learning latitude and longitude, how to remember them (I never could keep them straight) is to remember that the longitude lines are all the same length (LONGitude LENGTH are similar words) and that the latitude lines are like a ladder going up and down the globe (LATITude and LADDER sound about the same).

Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
Sue in MN
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Unread post by Sue in MN »

Even though the orange was messy we did this. I was flabbergasted when my 14yo said she finally now understood about the lines and why the continents change shape on a flat map. This wasn't the only time I did one of ECC's activities against my "better" judgement and realized how much this helped my dc.
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Unread post by mamax3 »

The orange was hard to write on then VERY messy when trying to peel it and make it flat. (it could be my dislike for oranges) The boys had a blast though and I guess that is what counts.
I think spending this time learning the map was great. We had used another curriculum that didn't go into as much detail and the CJ was bored with it. ECC made it fun for him and he has really picked up on maps now and was able to navigate me through Raleigh today using an atlas.

Sybil, mother of CJ (11) and Damian (8) using CTG, and Brendan (4) using MFW K
Homeschooling photo albums- www.picturetrail.com/mamax3
CJ's websites- www.k-9kids.org www.freewebs.com/cjstudentambassador
Usborne Books- www.ubah.com/Z1131
Julie in MN
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Longitude & Latitude - Week 2 Day 1

Unread post by Julie in MN »

1. A list of Longitude & Latitude for major cities -- for those like me who don't think well on our feet (Week 2 Day 1, we are to ask the student to locate some spots on the world map using longitude & latitude).
This link is for world cities. It contains another link for U.S./Canada cities, but I believe by the time we get to the U.S., there are some L&L activities already in the World Geography packet.

2. We found an interesting page about how some of our state & country borders are chosen because they fall on lines of Longitude & Latitude! [link doesn't work]

3. Some links to find the L&L of your own home, or of local landmarks (we plugged in the name of a small local park and got its long. & lat.) :
https://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/latitu ... de-finder/


4. Extra activities that I haven't tried but have on hand because my son is so crazy about studying geography this year...
https://www.nationalgeographic.org/acti ... longitude/

academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/geology/leveson/core/linksa/homelatlong.html (more of a discovery learning activity for the older child to figure out their home L&L using commonly available resources -- maps.yahoo.com & census maps)
Last edited by Julie in MN on Thu Feb 25, 2010 1:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
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Heather (WI)
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Tangerine globe

Unread post by Heather (WI) »

We used a tangerine and a sharpie marker, and it worked pretty well for us. Hope this helps!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Lisa B
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Geography songs

Unread post by Lisa B »

I just have to recommend the use of "Geography Songs" tape/book kit as a great tool for memorizing the names of the continents and oceans. We will continue to use it throughout the ECC year to learn the names of U.S. states and of countries.
Mom to Chase (22), Bailey (20), Christian (17), Bethany (17), Hannah (14), Sarah (12), Joshua (10), Daniel (7), and Caroline (5)

tHe JoY Of tHe LORD iS mY sTreNgtH!
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Unread post by AquaRubyMom »

The experiment with the orange was a big hit in our house and a tasty snack too. My kids were amazed at the difference. Especially the example of using Greenland in comparison to South America.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
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World Cake

Unread post by Blessedwith3 »

Today we made the world cake and we had a blast! We made two single round layers. One cake was North America, South America and Anarctica. The other cake was Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Before we made the cake, I read aloud The Magic School Bus Gets Baked In A Cake. We are looking forward to our study of the USA!
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Unread post by Jodie »

The demonstration using the orange was soooo great. I found that dividing the peel into 4 sections as suggested in the teachers manual was the trick. After laying the 4 sections side by side my son recalled that he has seen a world map that looked similar. This activity also answered all of the "why?" questions my boys had about changing & distorting land masses to make a map. THANK YOU!!

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Kids directing mom around town

Unread post by Jodie »

I had an idea for the geography treasure hunt activity on Friday of week 2. My boys are 11 & 9 and they're always asking me if I think they could get from our home to such & such destination in our town. So, rather than making a map of our neighborhood I decided to use a real map of our town & map out a route from our home back to a park around the corner from our house. The idea is to have them direct me as I drive them from destination to destination & of course, end up at the park for their "treasure". [I didn't read Thursday's activity which was very similar to my idea!]

We did our around the town map quest today. It was a great success. My boys had so much fun telling me where to turn, which was the wrong way more than once, and looking for landmarks & street signs in accordance to the map. They kept repeating "School is so much fun!". It was worth the effort.

What I ended up doing was copying the city map from the front of the phone book then tracing it on another piece of paper using only the streets and landmarks that would be helpful to them. I chose 8 destinations. When they thought they had directed me to the correct destination I handed them an envelope labeled "Destination 1" etc. Inside the envelope was the name of the destination. They got all but the first one correct! Our last destination was back at our house instead of the park. In the last envelope was a map of our house for each of them with directions to lead them to their prize--new Mad Libs books. I can't tell you how much fun this was. I came very close to canning the whole idea but am so glad I didn't!
Rejoicing in the Lord!


Wife of Brian (14 yrs), Mom of Joshua (12), & Isaac (11) [both using MFW CTG]
Julie in MN
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dividing the continents

Unread post by Julie in MN »

For dividing the continents Europe & Asia, the best reference we found was the Classroom Atlas included in ECC -- on the maps in the Europe section. It looks like the natural break between the continents is along two mountain ranges (Caucasus & Ural), the Caspian Sea, and the Ural river. Only the very top of this division is cut off these maps.

You can also see these landforms in the Illustrated World Atlas on pages 40-41: Follow the Ural Mountains down to their end, then follow the Ural River over to the Caspian Sea, then follow the Caucaus Mtns. from the Caspian across to the Black Sea.

I felt this was the most important part of the "coloring the continents" exercise -- knowing where these 2 continents divided.

Also if someone knows why Europe & Asia are considered separate continents in the first place, we'd like to know :o) Was it a cultural decision to divide the different "worlds"? They are not separated by water, they are not separated at a longitudinal line, it's not a division in "half," and even the tectonic plate underneath seems to be in a single "Eurasian" section?!
Last edited by Julie in MN on Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
Julie in MN
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Some favorites from weeks 1-2

Unread post by Julie in MN »

1. When we made our community map and were adding local schools, ds drew the "school" symbol on OUR house -- even mom didn't think of that one :o)

2. We enjoyed pulling together the different resources about time zones -- Week 2/Day 4 "advanced" uses Atlas p. 21, and it is also in recommended stories "Somewhere in the World" & "All in a Day."

We then revisited the topic of time zones when it was scheduled during the U.S. & now really understand why we choose carefully what time we call grandma LOL! (We had a worksheet from Maps of the USA that sort of made it a math activity, but you could draw lines on your own map & ask different questions -- how many time zones does the US cover? 6!)

I found a laminated time zone notebook map at convention for about $1 and we used this to find out the time in each new country, all year long.

3. If you read the recommended "Wonderful World" book, we think it's worth finding a recording of Louis Armstrong singing that one. (We had it on a Chicken Soup for the Soul CD, but probably your library would also have it.) We will probably listen to this during all the continents!

4. Don't miss the Wee Sing songs just because they sound young. They have greetings in different languages, native speakers of different songs, lyrics written in different alphabets, and really have pepped up our days!

5. My son kept his poster up all year. He made it on a black foam poster board from Walmart, a gold jelly marker, & we found the National Geographics cheap at a thrift store. He will have that Bible verse in his heart forever!

6. Kind of a cool quick view of how varied the Bible looks in different languages:

7. A sweet book for little ones tagging along in ECC:
The Moon Shines Down, by the Margaret Wise Brown estate, 2008
Ours is a giant board book, and it features the moon shining on children in different areas around the globe, with simple poetry and several lines on prayer and blessings
Last edited by Julie in MN on Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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world cake

Unread post by 4toraise »

We just made our cake using a Pyrex 2 qt measuring bowl. I used 2 cake mixes and iced them together, joining the "northern" and "southern" hemispheres. It's not a work of art, but we placed the countries and oceans as best we could. Each of the kiddos picked their favorite land mass to eat!

It's our first year w/ MFW and so far we've all enjoyed it, especially Mom who is enjoying the pace tremendously.
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Week 1 - Food web activity on web with certificate

Unread post by pinkdaisy »

Week 1

I found a neat website that allows the kids to make a food web and answer two short questions and then they get to print a certificate. We put our certificate in our science notebooks. I give this activity an A+++

http://teacher.scholastic.com/activitie ... ldcats.htm#
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Map Activity Idea! :)

Unread post by dborris »


My children didn't jump up and down when I told them we were going to learn about maps. SO I 'snuck' it in. :) While my children were reading I started drawing a map of the backyard. Pretty soon my children were watching me and showing me what I needed to add to make it more complete. Then an idea popped into my head-

I had each of my children draw a map of our backyard. When they were done I had them go to their rooms while I hid little treats (small piece of candy corn) in our backyard at various spots on their map. I marked the spots on their maps with a small red 'x'. They had such a great time. We'll definitely do this again (parks, grandmas house etc).

They had tons of fun with this not to mention all the map skills they learned!

Thanks MFW! We are LOVING this year. Best school year yet (out of 5)!

God Bless!

ECC Photos - Our world "tangerine" fun!

Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

We will finish week 2 of ECC and day 10 of MFW1 tomorrow. We have gotten off to a really great start this year, and I couldn't be happier! Here are a couple of photos from weeks 1 & 2:

Our world "tangerine" (learning about making globes into maps)

Trying to flatten out our 'map'
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Week 2

Unread post by Lainie »

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:21 am

We are entering week 4 with ECC and finally found our groove. There were a couple things I thought I'd share...

On Week 2, Day 1 Window on the World, the reading is on the Animism religion and on my TM there is no scripture reference that went with it. After reading the pages, I remembered the story in John 9:1-25 with the blind man and the disciples wondering who sinned that he was blind. We read those verses and were able to discuss that fact that we live in a fallen world because of sin, that God loves us and doesn't punish us (Jesus took our punishment) but that He allows trials to be used to mold us into Christ-likeness. All working together to bring Him glory. It was a good discussion with dc.

Also on Week 2, in the US booklist, we checked out The Rag Coat and loved it! Totally made us tear up. In thinking about the art projects, we are modifying the Early American Quilt project by having the girls draw an outline of a coat on a larger piece of paper (12x18 heavy weight construction) and using a variety of scrapbook papers make a "rag coat".

Thanks for letting me share and sharing all your ideas in these posts. They get me excited each week as well as encouraged!
Julie - Staff
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Round Cake in ECC

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 10:27 am
Author: kellybell

We just cooked a typical round layer cake (two layers per boxed mix) and made a gob of green, blue, and sort-of-tan frosting and the kids didn't mind the "flat earth" at all!

I'm not really sure how you wouldd do a sphere and still have the frosting and goodies (ie. chocolate kiss mountains, etc.) stick. I wouldn't fuss trying to make a sphere or even a hemisphere because it would be more work on your part as well as possibly more frustration on the kids' parts. It's just easier to frost a flat cake.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:14 pm
Author: cbollin

On my grid, it says to make a round cake and use blue and green icing to show continents and oceans. You know, the regular normal 8 or 9 inch round cake pans, and you can put two of them together in layers. It's usually pictured on the back of the box mix...

Well, ours didn't go that way. We made a 9 x 13 rectangular cake. Covered it with blue icing. Made some green icing and tossed some blobs of that in 7 places on the cake. {blush} Ok -- I'm not great at cake decorating. I never took that in high school --- it conflicted with Calculus. sigh.

But then the kids decided to put chocolate chips on the green blobs to represent mountains and land. So they learned something :) Took a picture and then we ate it and didn't care.

hope that helps to get you some ideas
P.S. <grin> we even considered doing cupcakes and singing He's Got the World World in His Hands while holding them. But nahhhh....

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:34 am
Author: DS4home

We made the 2 regular round cakes. One cake was the western hemisphere and the other was the eastern hem. I just colored some store-bought white frosting and let the kids have at it.

We had a book or two opened up on the table so they could try their best at imitating the continent shapes. The book Maps and Globes in the ECC package has some nice simple globe drawings in it. If I remember right, I had our real globe on the table as well. Or, you could just draw an imaginary line down the middle of a square map and have one group do each side of the line.

They actually didn't do too bad! Most of all, have fun with it! The kids will enjoy and remember this one. The best part was eating it of course :)

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:27 pm
Author: Mom2MnS

Just had to add here about practicing drawing in the icing with toothpicks - you can sketch your design in the icing and then just "draw" over it with the tube icing :)

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 11:25 pm
Author: Amy in NC

I made and frosted the whole thing while the kids were at soccer practice today. I have an awful cold and I didn't want to get frustrated, so I just did the whole thing myself.

One of the book basket books, National Geographic Our World, I believe, had a picture of 2 globes side by side showing eastern & western hemispheres. I just kind of winged it from that picture. I actually drew an equator across the middle of the 2 cakes with icing. This helped with getting the continents in the right spots.

I was very proud of how it looked when I was done. My western hemisphere turned out really nice. I can say that cuz I will never win any awards for cake decorating. While Crystal was in calculus, I was over in the Chem lab polishing my bunsen burner. You mean there was actually a class in high school where you got to bake & decorate cakes? wow

We made the girls correctly identify the 7 continents & 5 oceans before we would cut the cake. Then this afternoon at lunch with grandparents they showed off their new knowledge with them. Even taught them something - the Southern Ocean is new since 2000, so Grandad had not heard of it. He was in the Navy & told the girls that he had been to all 7 continents. I didn't know that either. I thought it was pretty cool that he had been to Antarctica. Anyway enough rambling.
Julie - Staff
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:11 pm
Author: Sandy in MI

I've never made them, but I have seen cake pans that you can purchase to make soccer ball birthday cakes. If you don't want to spend the money on a new pan, maybe there is an idea on a website somewhere. I'll search a little and see what I can find.

Posted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 10:54 am
Author: InfertilityMom

I'm not to ECC yet, but Target sells the "as seen on TV" domed/filled cake pan, I think from Betty Crocker (?) that allows you to make a domed cake and fill it with ice cream or other fillings. If I recall, they weren't too expensive.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:35 pm
Author: Jacqueline

We baked our cake in a bowl (found instructions for cooking time online). Then we slopped it with blue frosting and I just let the kids make green continents any way they wanted. I just used a regular cake mix and it really didn't take long!

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:43 pm
Author: lyntley

And if you're slightly neurotic about such things like I am... I bought a wilton sphere-shaped pan for $5 at the craft store. I got it because my DS wants a soccer ball cake...but it works for a globe too.

I also bought some rolled fondant. We will frost the whole thing blue. then roll out the fondant like cookie dough/playdo, cut out the continents and put them on. Believe me I'm clueless in the kitchen too. I just dont like messing with frosting... yes rolled fondant is frosting, but not spreadable frosting. It's just like dough that you roll out and can cut with cookie cutters. The kiddies can do it. You can cut them out and decorate any cake with flowers,shapes,continents...whatever. They have it at my Walmart and at the craft store in the cake decorating isle. It comes in colors and plain white for coloring yourself.

The kiddies are very excited to get to it...oh, I like the mountain idea...

P.S. I remember someone posting that they read "The magic schoolbus gets baked in a cake" while doing this project
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

Posted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 7:09 am
Author: tkbbrl6

My dh - who normally says very litte about what I do with the kids in school felt this assignment was too juvenile - but I think he's changed his mind!

I assigned my dc (ages 8 and 10) the challenge of selecting a minimum of 10 pictures each of people from various countries - walks of life. They used Time and Smithsonian mags that I had around the house and also searched the internet. While they originally selected far more than 10 each when they went to make their poster - they wrote John 3:16 in big letters in the middle and then down at the bottom wrote out the verse - they only selected 20 bec they didn't want it to look cluttered. (My idea was to cover the whole board as a collage - but they like clean white spaces and order! I do in other things but I like collages - isn't that funny!)

Anyway - they are very proud of their poster and it is hanging above our chalkboard - they have explained to their friends even that it's to help them remember that God loves all the people of the world even if they don't believe in Him and that He wants us to share the Good News with them and pray for them! Their friends thought this was cool and wondered why they never get to anything like that in school! Of course now my 3 yo wants to make his own poster of people of the world and "animals too mom!"

Posted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:37 pm
Author: Amygirl

Yes, the poster rocked!

We loved this assignment, too! We changed the verse to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19-20) since that's the memory verse we were learning and it fit so well. The kids wrote the verses in the middle and made a collage all around it with awesome photographs from Nat'l Geographic magazines.

The best thing: I have noticed a huge difference in their prayers since this school year started. The first week we put up the big world map and put pictures of all the missionaries our church supports around the map, with colored push pins matching where on the map each is located. Between that and the poster, the kids have really been mindful in their prayers of people who need Bibles and need to hear the truth, as well as people who just need food and shelter and hope.

We are loving our first year with My Father's World!
Jenn in NC
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Book to use with Maps & Globes

Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:38 pm

I found a book I really liked called Where in the World Do You Live? by Al Hine. I don't even know if it is in print anymore but there are used copies available for very little, or you check interlibrary loan. My kids understood the Maps and Globes concepts much better after this book.

John 3:16

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:45 pm

I found a neat youtube link this morning that has John 3:16 shown in written form in 15 languages. The hymn in the background is O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus. It would go so well with that first week of ECC . Thanks for reminding me that I was going to post that on the ECC ideas forum.
You might be able to find it with a search on that hymn title? But please use caution on youtube

I praise God that MFW gives quite a bit of money to help print Bibles in many languages. (for more information about that.... http://www.mfwbooks.com/missions.htm

Last edited by cbollin on Wed Oct 01, 2008 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by caod »

Mama2boys wrote:On the first week, day two it has your child color a sheet from the apendix w/ the memory verse John 3:16 and it represents Greece. However, Nowhere else do we seem to be studying Greece? Thanks,
Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:31 pm

I remember doing those pages wondering how that picture of Greece fit in. I think the point is that that week we had several pictures to color of children from around the world and the verse is John 3:16 ....so loved the world..... emphasis on world. It was just to serve as a picture lesson to make the point that God loves all the children of the world and here are a few examples.

Also, the bible verse was written in that language.

Something I have learned is that these programs are written such that when you stand back and look at the "big picture" of what they are teaching you get the full benefit.

Latitude & Longitude

Unread post by cbollin »

Map, Globes, Latitude Longitude?????
mom?!? I'm confused???

To help my daughters understand Latitude and Longitude on the wall map (and for future use with the world geography packet pages) I tried the following.

On the wall map we added a red string (from the Lauri lace toys) to be placed over top the Prime Meridian (or 0 degrees longitude)
We added a red string (crocheted by oldest) to trace along the equator.
(at some point I hope to add little "n" and "s" and "w" and "e" next to the degree numbers, but that might confuse my oldest to think that north and west have moved. I 'don't know.....)

Now my girls could see the 4 quadrants on the big wall map.

They already understood compass directions fairly well with the compass rose for N, S E W and NW NE SW SE. So we transfered that knowledge to help us with reading coordinates in terms of latitude and longitude.

Then we took a copy of page 163 from World Geography. I bolded the Prime Meridian and the equator on the page 163 map.
We colored each quadrant a different color. Red NW blue NE, yellow SW green. SE (we choose randomly)
This map went next to our big wall map for visual help that they can continue to use for reference all year.

As we read in Maps and Globes about latitude we noticed together that the word Latitude has an "a" in it --- so it goes /a/ /a/ across the map. And that means Longitude must be the other lines. Unlike when I taught ECC the first time (when oldest was 2nd grade), I avoided saying anything about the words north south east west.

Back then (ok, even now), my oldest daughter would get left right east west and up and down mixed up. She has some uh "directional issues" and tends to overthink it. She was too busy trying to make analogies to help her understand it and it wasn’t working. She needed this visual help as much as her middle kid did. She was too busy trying to think that the lines of longitude go up and down and that must mean they tell us the north number --- and she just was going to frazzled about it. So I taught it as – latitude a a a across, longitude is the other one, but I did not emphasize the o’s in longitude, other. So that gave her auditory brain what it needed. Now time for the visual.

To prevent her from overthinking it, and to help my middle child who is average, we noticed the following together:
The book and manual says the coordinates are given in Latitude first, then Longitude --- just like the directions the compass rose.
So if we see a coordinate for 45 N and 90W, then it should be somewhere in the “Red Zone” of the map. Then it was easier for my kids to find the 45 N first then find 90 west second. My oldest was again trying to over think it and always wanted to start at the Prime Meridian and figure it out. But now she can hear the words in the coordinates of North and West and doesn’t have to struggle with it. And my middle child who I was doing this for in the first place --- no problems.

The attachment map strings.jpg is no longer available
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Hope that helps someone else too. Didn't really take too much time. we used colored pencils on the little map, so it might be hard to see on the photo.


(edited to fix the missing pictures)
Last edited by cbollin on Sat Mar 20, 2010 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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