<< episode

Teacher Edition

Week of January 22, 2017

Right click and SAVE AS
to download the Google Earth file for this episode

Use free Google Earth software
to OPEN it, using File> Open.

Find more tech info here.


We just arrived in Sydney, Australia. Our hotel is beautiful (wait until you see our view). It is located on the corner of Bridge Street and George Street. We need to get to the Sydney Opera House as soon as possible. Although it is a few miles away, Meri and I decided to walk from the hotel to the opera house (since we are trying to locate Veritas International ). Mr. Vuhn told us that he found out that Veritas International was within walking distance of the Sydney Opera House, so maybe we will get lucky and find it on our way. In our last blog entry, we asked for your help to read the map and decide which cardinal direction we should travel to go from our hotel to the Sydney Opera House. The majority of blog readers chose choice 1 - Head NORTH on Bridge Street. Turn left, and head WEST on Essex Street . We are going to take a look at the map now and see if you guessed correctly (we attached the map below, if you want to double check). In the meantime, we have included several pictures of this beautiful city. We even included a picture of the gorgeous Sydney Harbor suspension bridge.

     - Geo

Here is a boat that we saw outside of our hotel. Isn't the Sydney Harbor beautiful?

This picture shows the skyscrapers of Sydney.

This picture shows the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It is a suspension bridge. Do you remember what that means?


Street map of Syndey
Here is a street map of Sydney. Can you figure out which cardinal directions we will travel going from our hotel (on the corner of Bridge Street and George Street) to the Sydney Opera House?

Wednesday (after we viewed the

Thanks for trying to help us get to the Sydney Opera House. Unfortunately, the directions you told us to follow weren't accurate. We ended up farther away from both our hotel and Sydney Opera House. We went into a local coffee shop and got directions to the opera house.

Holy Idaho! We just returned from the Sydney Opera House. That place is amazing! We attached pictures of the opera house (check them out). The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous performing arts venues in the world. You can see so many cool shows - like theater, ballet, concerts, and more. Maybe we can catch a show, if we get to stay here for a few days. The opera house is known throughout the world as one of the most distinctive 20th century buildings. It is such a neat looking building. Unfortunately, during our walk - we didn't see any building with the name Veritas International. We are going to go out walking again tomorrow. It is getting dark now. We will update our blog again ASAP.

Text Message from Pandora: WAYN? RUOK? Miss You.

Text Message to Pandora: We R GR8. In BTFL C-T Sydney. C U soon.

     - Meri

The amazing Sydney Opera House

Here is the view from the Sydney Harbor (you can see the Syndey Opera House and the suspension bridge).


The sun is coming up on the beautiful city of Sydney. It is amazing how different Sydney is from Alice Springs, Australia (where we stayed 2-weeks ago). Last night Meri and I looked at the literature that was left in our hotel room about Australia. What a fascinating country! Did you know the word "Australia," is derived from the Latin word Australis (which means southern). That makes sense since Australia is located in the southern hemisphere. Australia has six states and two major territories (they also have several small territories). The states include New South Wales (where Sydney is located), Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. The two territories include the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. Just as the United States has a capital (in Washington, D.C.), Australia has a capital, too: Canberra. Each state and/or territory has an individual capital also.

Australia is rich in natural resources. Take a look at the attached map of the world (called "Who's Got What"). Australia has a good portion of four of the eight natural resources listed at the website. Can you figure out which four they are? Go check it out. We are getting ready to go out and explore the city of Sydney in search of Veritas International .

     - Geo

Here is a picture of a clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef. This reef is one of the seven wonders of the world! I wish we had time to visit the reef - it looks unbelievable.


Overlap Maps
Use this site to compare the size of Australia with the country that you are from.


Sorry we didn't get to write more last evening. We are packing our bags to leave for the Sydney Airport. Let me back up and tell you what happened yesterday. Geo and I left the hotel as soon as the sun was up. We walked for several hours looking for Veritas International . We ended up eating lunch at a small caf? on Young Street. The teenager who was taking our order asked us where we were from. We told him that we were from the USA and here looking for Veritas International . He smiled and said that his Uncle Sebastian worked for the company and it was right down the road! Holy Idaho! We were so excited; we took our lunch to go. Within minutes we found the company. Before we entered the building, we called Uncle GT to tell him the great news. The building did have a sign, but only a very small one in the window. We went in and spoke to the receptionist. We weren't sure how to handle this situation. So, we decided to "fake it." We told the receptionist that we had a 1 o'clock meeting with Mr. Smith. We figured there had to be someone named Mr. Smith at the company, since Smith is such a popular name. Sure enough, there was. She called Mr. Smith and he said that his secretary didn't mention any meeting but to come on up to his office. So we headed to his office, unsure of what we were going to say. Mr. Smith was very nice and asked us how he could help us. We asked him to explain his company to us. We told him that we might be interested in working for the company after graduation. Well, we were shocked to learn that Veritas International created lie detector tests for police and other agencies. I asked him if they ever used animals. Mr. Smith looked kind of surprised and said they had no use for animals because their system was all computerized and had been that way for years. Geo stood up and looked Mr. Smith right in the eye. He said, "Does the name Dewey mean anything to you?" Mr. Smith looked confused, and said he was familiar with the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries to categorize their books. His response made me laugh a bit. At this point, Mr. Smith was getting very suspicious of Geo and me. So we thought it was best to head out. We thanked him for his time and walked out of the building as quickly as possible. As soon as we were far enough away from the building, we called Uncle GT. He said he would look into the situation and call us back as soon as possible. In the meantime, Geo and I went to one of the many zoos in Sydney. We attached pictures of some of the animals that we saw (the koala bear and kangaroo are very popular in Australia). The zoo was awesome!

While we were at the zoo, Uncle GT called us back. He said that since our last phone call, he had discovered ANOTHER company called Veritas Resources . They are based out of Asia. They have headquarters in China, Japan, and numerous other countries. Uncle GT said that Mr. Smith was telling the truth about Veritas International creating lie detector tests and we had no reason to think that Dewey was in Australia. Maybe those map coordinates last week were right. Those were the coordinates for Papua New Guinea. But one of the islands of Papua New Guinea (the island of New Guinea) shares an island with Indonesia. And guess what - Veritas Resources has one of their four headquarters located in Indonesia. The other headquarters are in Japan, Korea, and China. We have decided we will either go to Japan, Korea, or Indonesia. Where do you think we should start on this mission to find Veritas Resources and Dewey: The Truth-sniffing Dog? We attached a map so you could see where the three countries (Japan, Korea, and Indonesia) are located. Be sure to take a look.

     - Meri

Check out this adorable koala bear we saw at the zoo.

Here is a kangaroo and joey (another name for a baby kangaroo), that we saw at the zoo.

See the map

Vocabulary Terms:

cardinal direction - a term used to describe all four primary directions (north, south, east and west).

map coordinates - numbers that provide the exact location of a specified country or other area. The coordinates provide the degrees of longitude and latitude. Coordinates help people locate specific areas on a map.

natural resources - any substance that is made by nature and used to enhance the lives of living things. Some examples of natural resources include sunlight, minerals, soil, and water.

southern hemisphere - the half of the planet Earth that is south of the equator. The southern hemisphere contains all of Antarctica and Australia, most of South America, and part of Asia and Africa.

states - land areas that are under the jurisdiction of a government.

suspension bridge - a bridge that is created by using a deck supported by large cables hung from the towers. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States (built from 1870 - 1883). It is 5,989 feet long.

territories - similar to a state (such as Arizona or Texas). Territories are land areas under the jurisdiction of a government.

Back to top

Additional Web Resources:

TIME for kids - Australia
G'Day mate - welcome to Australia! At this informative website students can take a virtual tour of Australia (see the "Sightseeing Guide") and learn native slang (for example, did you know that "grizzle" means "to complain"?). There is also a history timeline, highlights of many Australian animals, a quiz, and more.

Virtual World - Great Barrier Reef
This website offers an interactive FLASH activity that takes you up close and inside of the Great Barrier Reef. Use this website to learn more about the animals of the reef.

Standards for this episode:

Understands the characteristics and uses of maps, globes, and other geographical tools and technologies.

Grade 3-5: Knows the basic elements of maps and globes (title, legend, cardinal, scale, grid, meridians, time zones, etc.).

Knows the location of places, geographical features, and patterns of the environment.

Grade 3-5: Knows major physical and human features of places as they are represented on maps and globes. Knows how to read different maps: road, relief, globe, etc..

Grade 3-5: Knows the approximate location of major continents, mountain ranges, and bodies of water on Earth.

Understands the physical and human characteristics of a place.

Grade 6-8: Knows the physical characteristics of places (soil, vegetation, wildlife, etc..).

Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.

Grade 6-8: Knows how places and regions serve as cultural symbols (Opera House in Sydney or Tower Bridge in London).

Knows the physical processes that shape patterns on Earth's surfaces.

Grade 3-5: Knows significant historical achievements of various cultures of the world (e.g., the Hanging Gardens or Babylon, the Taj Mahal in India, pyramids in Egypt, temples in ancient Greece, bridges and aqueducts in ancient Rome).

Understands the characteristics of ecosystems on Earth's surface.

Grade 3-5: Knows plants and animals associated with various vegetation and climatic region on Earth (i.e. kinds of plants and animals found in the rainforests of Africa).

Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth's surface.

Grade 3-5: Knows how and why people divide Earth's surface into political and/or economic units (e.g., states in the United States and Mexico; provinces in Canada; countries in North and South America; countries linked in cooperative relationships, such as the European Union).

Grade 6-8: Understands the symbolic importance of capital cities (such as Canberra, a planned city, as the capital of Australia).

Back to top