EarthView team bios, guidelines, and more.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Academic WorldQuest, BSU- March 28th

Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

Usually EarthView travels to destinations outside the realm of Bridgewater State University but today's event happens to bring us to Kelly Gymnasium right next door to the Science & Mathematics Center where EarthView is stored when not in use. 

Today we welcome the high school students who are competing in WorldQuest's Boston Regional Competition as part of the journey to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest. 

Academic WorldQuest, a global knowledge competition that has become a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America, is a fun, friendly and powerful way for high school students to learn about international affairs.  Teams comprising four students typically prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months. 

At today's Boston regional competition, teams view a PowerPoint presentation of 100 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as people in the news, world geography, elections, international organizations and current events.  The event is open to parents, friends and the general public, who also are given answer sheets and enjoy playing along.  The winning high school team travels to Washington, D.C., in April to compete in the National Academic WorldQuest, virtually all expenses paid.

We wish good luck to everyone competing today and we here at EarthView continue to be impressed by the amount of knowledge students have on the subject of Geography!

Atlantic Questions

During our visit to Tenney Grammar School in Methuen, students asked a couple of interesting questions about the Atlantic Ocean. Because we were not exactly certain of the answers, we promised to add a couple of maps to the blog, to benefit them and any other curious readers.

The first question was about the location of the Bermuda Triangle, the purported "spooky" area of the northeast Atlantic. We could point out the British dependency of Bermuda -- which is a popular destination for cruises from Boston -- but we were uncertain of the orientation of the triangle. We found this map on the Bermuda Triangle page of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency of the U.S. Government. The page includes a link that explains the US Coast Guard's opinion about the Triangle. During our visit, we mentioned the smaller and less famous Bridgewater Triangle, named for EarthView's home town.

While Bermuda is in a warm part of the North Atlantic, the other question students had for us was about a tragedy in the colder far north. The question is about the 1912 sinking of the "unsinkable" Titanic as it voyaged from England to New York.
Astronomers at Texas State University show the location of the sinking, along with a possible path of the iceberg that was carried into the ship's path. This study was done by astronomers because of the possible role of the moon in the unexpected movement of the iceberg. In looking for such maps, we also found an interesting use of Geographic Information Systems in mapping the home locations of all of the ship's passengers.

The passenger list exhibits a concept geographers call a "distance-decay" function, meaning that the greatest number of passengers if found near the ports of origin and destination and decline with distance. Viewers of the ESRI Titanic Passengers map can explore these patterns in detail and can also separate the passengers according to economic class because tickets were sold in three very distinct classes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tenney Grammar School, Methuen- March 27th

42° 43' 55" N
71° 10' 40" W 
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is pleased to be back at Tenney Grammar School In Methuen for the third year in a row! 

If you have seen our team in previous years while visiting Tenney Grammar, we might look a little different. Today just so happens to be the Massachusetts Round of the National Geographic Geography Bee.  Our very own Dr. Domingo is a judge and Ms. Rosalie, aka. the Globe Lady, is the moderator at today's event! 

As you may or may not know, the National Geographic Geography Bee is a competition that is open to all schools that  teach students in grades 4-8. Each school holds its own Geography Bee competition and typically there is a winner from each grade level. The winners of each grade level then compete against each other to determine the winner of the school. The winning student then has to take a 1 hour written test about Geography. If he or she scores high enough on the test, he/she is eligible to compete at the state level. Only the top 100 students in each state are allowed to compete at the state level. 

Today's event takes place at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Ma. Worcester Academy is a co-ed boarding school for students in grades 6-12 and postgraduates. The school is very much into the concept of Sustainability (which we had talked about in a previous blog post) and is involved in other Geography related activities, such as being the host of today's event.

The winner of the Massachusetts Geography Bee today will head to Washington, D.C. to compete against the other state level winners in the National Geography Bee that will take place May 11th-13th.

Good luck to all of the competitors in today's competition! Maybe even Tenney Grammar's own representative student will make it to the National competition, we will have to wait and see! Let's hope that the winner of the National Bee comes from Massachusetts just like in 2013 when Sathwick Karnik from Plainville won. Another interesting thing to note is that Earthview Wrangler, Eva Ratcliffe participated in her middle school's Geography Bee back in the 2006-2007 school year when she was a 6th grader. She placed first for her 6th grade team but did not win when competing against the other winning team members. Little did she know that she would later become a Geography Major at Bridgewater State University and be here working for EarthView!  

The National Geographic Geography Bee is a wonderful event and competition where the students always amazing us with their deep knowledge of geography. We here at Earthview hope that today's competition opens the minds of our young students to become more actively involved in Geography as it is everywhere. 

UPDATE: The 2015 Massachusetts Geography Bee winner is Lucy Chae, a 7th grader from Charles E. Brown School in Newton. This is the first time in its 27 year Geography Bee participation that Massachusetts has had a female student win the right to represent Massachusetts at the National Geography Bee in Washington DC May 11th -13th. Congratulations to Lucy and to all the many students across the state who participated in the Geography Bee.
Runners up were; Michael Izdal of Wilson Middle School in Natick and Markus Elbert of Oak Hill Middle School  in Newton.

If you would like to learn more about the event you can watch the local news clip here or you can read the article posted in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette here

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Captain Samuel Brown Elementary, Peabody- March 20th

42° 30' 25" N
70° 57' 02" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is excited to be visiting Captain Samuel Brown Elementary in Peabody for the very first time! 

Our visit this week happens to fall upon the Vernal Equinox and as the weather forecast predicts, we are in for a bit of accumulating unusual! This winter has even broken the record for the snowiest winter in Boston. Last Sunday's storm brought the 2014-2015 winter snow total to 108.6 inches, just over 9 feet! The last record was set during the 1995-1996 winter which saw 107.6 inches of snow. 


As for Friday's Vernal Equinox, we are in for a bit of a snowy start to our Spring season. As seen in the National Weather Service graphic below, there is a chance that Peabody and Bridgewater could see upwards of 4 inches of snow...potentially more. 

And if you have noticed the increasing amount of potholes on the road this time of the year it is due to the fluctuating temperatures dipping below 32°F and above, even reaching 57°F as it did on Wednesday, March 11th when we visited Tewksbury. When ice forms, it expands, pushing apart small cracks in pavement. When the ice melts, it makes room for new ice to form a day or two later, widening each crack a bit more. This can cause both potholes and frost heaves in the pavement. 

Boston's March Forecast-Accuweather

As reported on WGBH, don't expect these potholes to go away anytime soon as it is hard for the town to repair them all when their budget is almost completely used up due to the unexpected massive snowfall this winter. As March came in like a lion and hopefully goes out like a lamb, we hope that the roads become more smooth as we transition into the much needed warmer Spring months!

There is a geography to just about everything ... even potholes!

We at EarthView hope that the rest of our Spring does not call for anymore snow but with the weather in New England, you never really know!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

John W. Wynn Middle School, Tewksbury- March 9th & 11th

42º 37' 48" N
71º 18' 08" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is pleased to make our first ever visit to Wynn Middle School in Tewksbury! We will be visiting on both Monday, March 9th and Wednesday, March 11th. 

Some interesting facts about Tewksbury!
-It was incorporated as a town in 1734 and was named after Tewkesbury, England
-On July 24th, 1857 a tornado swept through the town destroying many fields, orchards, and barns, but luckily no one was killed
-The Merrimack River serves as the northern boundary while the Shawsheen River runs through the southern end of town
-It is located about 19 miles from Boston and about 53 miles from BSU

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sharon Middle School- March 6th

42° 06' 24" N
71° 09' 58" W
Learn more about Lat/Long (including how to look them up by address)
Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is happy to be back in Sharon for another exciting visit! While in town for last week's visit, Dr. Hayes-Bohanan  pointed out to us that there was once a whaling museum in Sharon; a strange place for a whaling museum considering it is a landlocked community and about 30 miles from the coast of Massachusetts.

 After a bit of research, we discovered that Sharon was once site to the Kendall Whaling Museum that was established in 1956.
Kendall Whaling Museum: 27 Everett Street, Sharon, Ma
Henry Plimpton Kendall a local celebrity of sorts was the one who founded the museum.

While Kendall grew up in Walpole, Ma, he lived in Sharon on Moose Hill Farm for much of his adult life. Kendall was able to grow the failing Lewis Batting Company of Walpole, Ma into the large textile company named The Kendall Company that expanded throughout the United States before merging with the Colgate Palmolive Company in 1972. Not only was Henry Kendall a business owner, he was also an avid collector of historical artifacts from the whaling industry. He arranged his collection and established the Kendall Whaling Museum. Unfortunately the small museum closed in 2001 but the collection remains intact at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.


If you are a teacher and would like to include more about whaling into your Geography lessons, please go visit the Geography Lesson Plans page to learn about the book, "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" by Nathaniel Philbrick.