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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Back to North Andover

The EarthView team was very please to return to North Andover for the fifth annual Family Geography Night, which has been recognized throughout Massachusetts for its success of bringing an entire community together to learn and enjoy geography!

For more information about North Andover and these programs, please see previous North Andover posts on this blog and in its archived precursor (from BSC days). Each visit has allowed EarthView to be enjoyed by more than 800 members of the North Andover community.

Friday, October 4, 2013

North Reading Middle School -- Oct. 5

42° 34' 36" N
71° 05' 17" W

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EarthView returns to North Reading today, on the 56th anniversary of the Soviet satellite Sputnik. This small, simple satellite could do nothing more than send a simple "ping" message back to the surface, but the fact that the Soviet Union was able to launch it before the United States energized the space program under Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, eventually leading to human exploration of the moon.

Many of the tools that were developed as part of the space program are now used by geographers to learn more about the earth itself. These include earth-exploration programs such as LANDSAT, which monitors land use and conditions on a regular basis. It is also the basis for Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and for Google Maps and many other web sites that show what the earth looks like from above.

During some of the EarthView sessions today, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan described his visits with students to Cerro Negro and to the nearby volcanic islands in Lake Nicaragua. These islands are formed in a very unusual way, as each is a small piece of a large flow of lava from the nearby volcano Mombacho. Zoom out to see the relationship between the islands and the volcano. Zoom in to see the houses that occupy many of the islands. Some are the humble homes of people who earn their living fishing in Lake Nicaragua, while others are the vacation homes of some of the wealthiest families in Central America.

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Learn much more from our volcano roundup post.

Quashnet School, Mashpee -- Sept. 27

41° 37' 27" N70° 29' 41" W

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EarthView's went to Cape Cod for its first program of the autumn season. Previous visits to Mashpee have been to the Middle School at  41° 36' 57" N, 70° 30' 34" W. Use the "Learn more" link above for ideas on how to use these coordinates for activities at home or in the classroom.
One of the great things about the Quashnet school (which has both an active web site and a frequently-updated school blog), is its labyrinth, visible here from Google Maps. 

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At least two members of the EarthView team completed the labyrinth, which is distinct from a maze, in that the proper route is not a mystery or puzzle. Rather, the maze provides an opportunity to calm the mind and enter a centered, balanced state that facilitates learning.

Our visit took place shortly after a new island was formed near the coast of Pakistan on September 26. This island is just about the size of a football or soccer field, and about 60 feet tall at the center. Because the internal pressure of volcanic gases is largely responsible for the emergence of the island, it may soon collapse below sea level, so that the world's newest island will probably soon be an extinct island.