Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Wander Our World to Russia ROCKS!

Literally.  Our enrichment program took an unexpected turn when "traveling" to Russia.  A meteor fell out of the sky and we followed its path and final resting spot in Chelyabinsk.  Our regularly programmed information about St. Basil Cathedral, Matryoshka nesting dolls, Yuri Gagarin, and Siberia became a smaller part of the lesson, and the importance of the meteor strike took center stage.

For one, the amateur videos of the meteor falling from the sky are really quite fascinating, and there is no better way to get a child's attention than with a fireball traveling at 33,000 mph!  The students learned about contrails, sonic booms and why a falling space rock looks like a fireball when it enters the atmosphere. 

What does this have to do with geography?  While the study of plate tectonics confirms that there is the supercontinent of Afro-Eurasia, we teach that there are 7 recognized continents: North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.  Many people may already know that part of Russia is considered to exist on the continent of Europe, and part in Asia, but few know why.

Below is the map of the location of the city of Chelyabinsk - the site of the Russian meteor strike.  As you can see, it sits at the base of the Ural mountain range.  It is this mountain range that has provided the natural border between what we consider to be the European and Asian continents within Russia.
Image courtesy of www.boocameonline.com
This is a picture from a recent Wander Our World class to Russia.  We had a special visitor that day! 

The kids painted their own meteors as a craft.  As you might imagine, there were some raised eyebrows during pick-up about the black bumpy rock with red paint.  In my opinion, listening to the kids tell their parents about the craft was the best part of the class.

"There was a meteor that fell from space.  It made a huge BOOM.  It landed in Russia by the Ural Mountains."
 - 5-year-old enrichment student  

For more information about our classes and to bring our program to your child's school please visit our website!

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