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Friday, April 28, 2017

Alden Elementary, Duxbury -- April 28

42° 02' 48"N
70° 40' 49"W
(Center of the stage at the Duxbury Performing Arts Center)
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Alden School students walked through their school to the Duxbury
Performance Arts Center, where EarthView was on stage for the day!
Many thanks to the Alden PTO and to PAC director Tony Kelso.
Duxbury's Landscapes -- from the Duxbury town web site
EarthView has been in many towns near Duxbury in the past, but the Alden Elementary visit is our visit to Duxbury itself. The map below shows a purple pin for each school visit in the area. Click on EarthView Experience to see all of the places EarthView has traveled.

Members of the EarthView team have good friends in Duxbury, from whom we know that the Duxbury Beach is something of which people in the town are quite proud. It is home to migratory birds that require special care, and an entire organization exists to protect and promote the beaches of Duxbury.

Our visit took place on Maryland Day -- the anniversary of Maryland's admission to the Union (becoming one of the United States) on April 28, 1788.
Dr. Hayes-Boh celebrating Maryland's day to shine!
Dr. Hayes-Bohanan and his wife Pamela (a BSU librarian) spent the year 2010 recognizing each of the United States on the anniversary of its admission. We read books, watched movies, and prepared food for each celebration. Maryland Day was a special celebration, because it is where they were married on May 9, 1987.

People from Maryland tend to be very proud of its flag, which is based on the heraldry of two families -- Baltimore and Calvert -- that helped to found the British colony that eventually became the state. Many Marylanders are also passionate about the Maryland blue crab, which grows in the Chesapeake Bay. The flag and the food are combined in a magnetic decal on Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's car that celebrates Maryland.
This is something people all over the world do -- sharing symbols that represent the sense of place of their home town or region. What are some examples of sense of place in your own town or in places that are important to your family? Examples could be foods, sports teams, landmarks, or many other features.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Frolio Middle School, Abington -- April 7

42° 07' 06"N
70° 56' 47"W
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Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far! Next year, Frolio student's will be asked to compare the coordinates of this gym and the gym in the new Abington Middle School.

The EarthView team is very pleased to return to Frolio, which we have visited every year since 2010. We always find students who have been actively engaged in learning geography, which we can tell because of the good questions they ask during our visits. We enjoy giving students a different way to look at the places and concepts they have been studying in their excellent geography classes throughout the year.

This will be the last time EarthView will be in Frolio's charming all-wood gymnasium, as a new school is under construction. Although we are happy that Frolio's teachers and students will have upgraded facilities, we will miss this gym, whose architecture is typical of public projects built by the Work Progress Administration in the 1930s.

During today's visit, some classes learned about another kind of public-works project: dams.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under construction in 2015
Specifically, we showed the location of this dam, which is under construction in Ethiopia. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be enormous, creating a reservoir twice as large as Lake Meade, which is the reservoir behind the Hoover Dam in Nevada and Arizona. The purpose of the Ethiopian dam will be to provide renewable electricity in Ethiopia. It is located on the Blue Nile, a major tributary of the Nile.

With a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, it could provide electricity to about 9,000,000 households in the United States. Ethiopia has 94,000,000 people in about 20,000,000 households. With its lower level of electricity consumption, this dam will provide enough electricity to serve all of that county's household needs.

Although this is very good news for Ethiopian households, dams usually have both positive and negative effects. In the case of this dam, it is one of several problems for the Nile Basin, and especially for people and crops in Egypt. This is combined with the rise of sea level at the mouth of the Nile and other problems that some scientists call the Vanishing of the Nile.

EarthView team member Kevin Bean carting EarthView away from the American Association of Geographers meeting in Boston. The AAG recently changed its name from the Association of American Geographers. What is the difference?
This year's Frolio visit is in the middle of the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers. EarthView has been a popular attraction at the conference, which has brought thousands of professional geographers to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, along with publishers and technology companies that employ and serve geographers.
On Thursday and Saturday, EarthView has a spot at the entrance to the the HUUUUGE exhibit hall, next to interactive displays from Google and esri, each of which is a major provider of software for Geographic Information Systems and digital mapping.

Lagniappe: Farewell to Frolio

As mentioned above, the students and teachers of Frolio will soon be in more modern, spacious facilities, and we are glad for them. Like many of them, though, the EarthView team will miss this charming building, which began as Abington High School 80 years ago.

It was built during the Great Depression, one of thousands of projects around the United States that were funded by the Federal government under the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt. The idea was to invest money -- even to borrow money -- in projects that would be good investments and would provide jobs for those who wanted to work but could not find employment.

The building later served as a middle school, named for a beloved teacher and principal. The EarthView team took a few photos today to remember this building, and we look forward to many more years with the Abington geographers in their new space.
Architectural details

Charles Frolio's portrait, in the main entrance

Memorial for Charles Frolio
Details of the Federal Project that built the school

The local committee that oversaw the project; today such a committee would almost certainly include both men and women. A woman did serve as the committee secretary, and her name is what is called an apternym, because it is apt for the job.
Our favorite part of the building, of course, is the gym itself. We visit a lot of gyms, and this is among the most charming. It has subtle architectural details of its own, and we love the wooden bleachers. It will continue to serve as a venue for community games.
EarthView at Frolio for the last time.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Garfield Middle, Revere -- March 24

42° 24' 12" N
70° 59' 34" W
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Also, compare today's coordinates to those of other recent EarthView outings, near and far!

The EarthView team is excited to be returning to Garfield Middle School, which we visited for the first time in May 2016. Our blog post from that visit includes photos of the magnificent flags that adorn Garfield's hallways.
Garfield is a school that loves geography!
This year, our visit comes during the week of World Water Day. During our EarthView program, we always discuss the importance of water, and how it is that we must conserve water, even though the planet has millions of cubic miles of it!
Learn more about World Water Day from the United Nations
It is very fitting that this is the week that a court in New Zealand ruled that the Whanganui River is legally a person, with all of the rights and responsibilities that human persons have. The river flows 180 miles from Mt Tongariro to the Tasman Sea, and is of special importance to the Maori people, who sought this legal designation and will serve as the river's guardians.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Spofford Pond School, Boxford -- March 17

(Visit more about Lat/Long for ideas that combine math and geography learning. This is our second visit to Spofford Pond, and it remains the farthest north we have taken EarthView.) 

The EarthView team is always pleased to return to Spofford Pond School. Even though it is farther from our campus than most of the schools we visit, we always find it worth the journey, because the social studies classes at Spofford Pond include so much geography that we know we will find students who are eager for the EarthView experience.

Many of our previous Spofford Pond blog posts include information about the local geography of Boxford. Today's blog, though, will emphasize a few matters from farther afield. First is an event that occurred yesterday and that we mentioned during our Spofford Pond visit.

Yesterday, at 37°45' N, 15°00' E tourists were very surprised by an eruption of Mt. Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. Even though it is frequently active, prior movements usually allow the volcanologists to close the volcano to visitors prior to an eruption. Yesterday's eruption, however, was quite sudden, and injured some tourists and journalists who were on the volcano at the time.

The first satellite image was captured by Sentinel 2, part of the European Space Agency Copernicus program.
Learn more about the world's volcanoes from the SI Global Volcanism Program.
Information on every volcano

We also presented some challenges about latitude and longitude. If one circled the world at the same latitude (within a degree) of Spofford Pond, what three world capitals could you encounter? What if you circled half world at the same longitude? (Answers at the bottom of this article.)

HINT: For the first answer, two of the cities are in the exact same location; the other is the capital of a country whose name is also a U.S. state. 
For the second answer, the two cities are named for saints.


Happy St. Patrick's Day! In honor of the occasion, some Spofford Pond students were treated to a dad-level riddle by Dr. Hayes-Bohanan.

Q: Why is Ireland so wealthy?
A: It's capital is always Dublin. (Say it out loud.)

LAT/LONG Answers ... keep scrolling down
Latitude: Vatican City, Rome, and Tbilisi
Longitude: Santo Domingo, Santiago 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Littleton Middle School - February 17

42° 32' 32" N
71° 29' 14" W 
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The EarthView team is delighted to be returning to Littleton Middle School, where excellence in geography education is a hallmark of sixth-grade social studies.

One of the concepts we explored inside EarthView is the idea of antipodes -- places that are on precisely opposite sides of the planet. Although a lot of people think that China is opposite the United States, it cannot be, since both are in the Northern Hemisphere. 

The antipode of Littleton Middle School is in the Indian Ocean, at S 42°32'32" E 108°30'46". These coordinates are found by using the same latitude but with the opposite direction, and by subtracting the longitude from  180 degrees before switching hemispheres.

During our 2016 visit to Littleton, our colleague Dr. Hellstrom from Bridgewater State spoke about his experience studying weather and climate change in the Andes Mountains of Peru. This year, we discussed a new BSU course that we will offer in Peru in July 2017 that will include Dr. Hellstrom's weather stations and coffee and cacao (chocolate) cooperatives at lower elevation.