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July/August 2003
Volume 11 Issue 4

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Virtual Field Trips

by Sue Johnson

Blast Off Into Outer Space With Space Wanderer
SpaceWanderer: Just sit back and enjoy the 12 minute long trip. The space pictures used are all real images from NASA. Prepare for lift off with sound effects. Images are as if you were in the cockpit looking out of your own window. Check your speed and distance from Earth as you peer out your window. Land on planets and survey your surroundings, don’t forget to read the descriptions for lot of educational information regarding everything you are seeing. Sound effects could be better, but what a great learning tool when learning about our solar system while traveling as astronauts. The information for each photo isn’t overwhelming by any means but also includes more in depth vocabulary for the older kids.

Moo Milk – A Dynamic Adventure Into the Dairy Industry

Here’s a site for all of you who aren’t near dairies. Go to this website and take a virtual tour of the story of milk. See actual photos and read about how milk gets from the cow to your grocery store as well as learning more about our friendly dairy cows themselves. When finished check out their FAQ page for answered dairy questions check out what other activities they offer.

Tour A Castle
http://www.dur.ac.uk/~dla0www/c_tour/castle.html Here is a tour of the rebuilt Durham Castle. It was used for a period of 900 years. At this website is an interactive map of the castle where you can click on the areas of interest. You’ll get a descriptive history of that area along with a real photo. The photos are small but if you click on them you’ll they’ll open to a much larger photo.
http://www.castlewales.com/rag_tour.html This page is the starting point for a virtual tour of Raglan Castle in south Wales (its ruins). Here there is an aerial photo that is a "clickable image map," which means that by clicking on different areas of the photograph you’ll be taken to pages that give close-up details and explanations for that section of the castle. You’ll find out what that area of the castle was used for There are also reconstructive drawings done by an artist along with photo views to help give a sense of what the castle looked like in when it was truly in use.

Visit the White House
http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids/tour/ Take a tour of the White House from Spotty, the President’s English Springer Spaniel. There are real photos of various rooms in the white such as: Vermeil Room, China Room, East Room, Dining Room..and more. Also give is a brief description and history of the room.

Visit the Serengeti and take a Safari : Serengeti.org http://www.serengeti.org/
What a thorough and insightful website that lets you tour the Serengeti National Park in Africa. Before entering the site you need to chose a language in which to view it in, English or German. Next a new page will immerge with a menu. The menu includes Discover Serengeti, Magnificent Wildlife, Safari, Human Footprints and more. After clicking on the topic of choice you not only enjoy a photo on your topic and read the detailed descriptions but have sub groups to learn about your topic in greater detail.

"Discover Serengeti" lets you learn about the history of the region, climate, ecosystem, migration of wildlife and more. Each time you click on a new section underlined words will appear in the text leading you to new pages to open where you can enjoy more detail through photos, sound, and video clips.
"Magnificent Wildlife" teaches about the conservation area and all that it encompasses. Utilizing the picture menu below will let you further your study in diversity of animal life, migration habits, night life, hunters and the Hunted and plant life. When you click on this "Safari" has you read about myths of the area, tourism and traveling routes. Let’s not forget talking a walk through the diaries of a few who have traveled on a safari. Before leaving enjoy a beginning course in Swahili!

"Human Footprints" is just what is says, learning about human history of the African people from the ancient gatherers to today’s conservationists. This is a site to bookmark where your younger children will enjoy the wildlife photographs, and the older children, and you as well, can absorb the science, history, and cultural information waiting to be had.

Everest: The Interactive Tour
This interactive tour website allows you two ways to tour Mount Everest, a Shockwave tour or through HTML.
The Shockwave tour (Shockwave can be downloaded from their site for free) comes complete with sound and special effects and the HTML tour (no audio, interactivity). Beautiful photographs are those produced from the IMAX film about Everest. You see a night photo of Katmandu in Nepal get a taste of their people and culture, and family villages in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. Tour Base Camp while learning how it is constructed each and every year. Cross one of the most dangerous parts of the hike to the summit, Khumbu Icefall. Before reaching "Summit day, you will be visiting other camps. Upon reaching "Summit Day" you will have "virtually hiked" Everest’s peak at 29,028 feet. Find out the hardships others encountered learn of the human lives Mt. Everest has laid to rest.
What a wonderful virtual tour you and your family can enjoy from the warmth of your own home.

Take a Trip Through the Sun
At this website you will learn that "the Sun isn’t as boring as it may look from earth". This "trip through the Sun" is 20-minute in length showing images and animations of solar wind, sun spots, eclipses, flares, and more. While this has fantastic real photos the information is probably more for the advanced elementary age and up all would enjoy especially the mini movies.

Enjoy a tour all about Volcanoes
Here you will learn about dangerous volcanoes how they are formed as well as what they are like on other planets! You start off in Hawaii where you can also take a virtual field trip to Kauai Molokai, Oahu, the Big Island or Maui. To continue on with your Volcano tour click the right arrow on the lower right had of the screen. To read about the awesome photographs you’ll see is a window at the bottom of the screen where you scroll down to read about the many topics, Magma, river of fire, lava land, (I can’t express how incredible these photos are). Within this site the USGS has a wonderful "website within a website" telling you the types of volcano hazards there are and describes when lava meets the sea all with wonderful photos. It’s not all about Hawaii either; let’s not forget the Cascades with great links regarding Mt. St. Helens (Washington volcano that erupted May 18th, 1980). Next you this website utilizes NASA’s site on planets to view volcanoes in space such as Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. Here you can sit back and just listen to the captions as you view the actual photographs. End your tour by exploring "Volcano World," a great site where kids can learn how to make model volcanoes email a volcanologist and much more.

Field Trip Extravaganza Complete with Lesson Plans…
A wonderful additional resource for Virtual Field trips (interactive educational trips) If enjoying virtual field trips is something you either already incorporate into your homeschooling or something you would like to add, this site is definitely somewhere you will want to bookmark. Here you get a field trip, lesson plans, and links all in one. They offer a download printable list of the field trips with descriptions so you can put them in your homeschool planner or just for your own records. The selection is huge. This website follows the same format as the above site on Volcanoes in that it’s very interactive and is actually various internet sites within a site.

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