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Friday, September 23, 2011

Braintree East Middle School -- Sept 23

42º 13' 14" N
70º 59' 20" W

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The EarthView team is pleased to be returning to the town of Braintree, this time to East Middle School, after a wonderful visit to South Middle School last week.

Braintree is located south of Boston; the name is a bit puzzling, but even odder to newcomers in the region is the phrase "Braintree split," which is not a dessert item, but rather a very important division in the regional highway system. Coming south from Boston, drivers "split" toward Cape Cod or toward the rest of the country, at an often congested intersection in Braintree.

The town of Braintree gets its name from a town in England; we do not yet know the story of how that town got its name or what it means, exactly. Looking to the town seal for a clue, we are still more mystified. This summer, some controversy has surrounded the color of the seal and the shape of the "incorporated" ribbon, but we are still hoping to find out why an arm and sword are featured, and why it looks like someone is swimming with a sword. 

We are hoping that an East Middle School student can provide some clues for us....

Thank Catarina!

The EarthView team is fond of its coffee -- particulary fair-trade, organic coffee that is often brewed by team member Dr. Hayes-Bohanan before a day's outing. In the Hayes-Bohanan household, we think about where our coffee comes from, and whenever someone thanks us for a cup of coffee, we say, "Thank the farmers!" In the case of the coffee the team is traveling on today, we can say, "Thank Catarina" because of a special coffee company called Coffee CSA, which is a coffee company in the United States that is owned cooperatively by coffee farmers all over the world.

Today's coffee was produced by Catarina Yac, a woman in southwest Guatemala who farms coffee on three acres in the region of Santa Clara Laguna. Her farm is located at 15.0848967º N and 91.9227488º W. Noting that these coordinates are in decimal (rather than degree-minute-second) form, we can use them to find out how far the coffee is from its farm today.

Try answering the following questions about Catarina's coffee:

1. How big is her farm, compared to the East Middle School campus?
2. How many degrees of latitude is East Middle from her farm? What direction?
3. How many degrees longitude is East Middle from her farm? What direction?
4. How many miles or kilometers away is the farm?
5. How far is the farm from the nearest road (see the Google Maps link on Catarina's web page)? The nearest city? The Pacific Ocean?

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