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Teacher Edition

Week of December 3, 2017

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Holy Idaho! We arrived in Chicago a few days ago. We still have 4 days until our CRUISE! Can you tell I am excited? If you guessed Chicago was in the state of Illinois, you are GREAT. Speaking of GREAT, did you know that Chicago is located on the Great Lakes? Did you ever hear of the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior? Remember the acronym HOMES to remember the names of the Great Lakes. Chicago is directly on Lake Michigan. It is absolutely beautiful. Chicago is like a huge city with a beautiful lake (beach and all) right across the street. Too bad we weren't here during the summer months when the weather is warm enough to swim and small boats sail through the waters constantly.

We visited Navy Pier today. They have cruises going out, special musical events, a HUGE Ferris wheel and other rides, and much more. Events change every week (every day sometimes). It was cold, but worth it. It was a nice break from our search for Louie. We even visited the Willis Tower (used to be called the Sears Tower). This is another famous building in America. Did you ever hear of it? We took pictures of Chicago. PS - I have learned why Chicago is called the "Windy City." Holy Idaho!

     - Meri

The beautiful Lake Michigan

An aerial shot of the beach at Chicago (on Lake Michigan). Can you believe how blue the water is?

Isn't is amazing how such huge skyscrapers are right across the street from the water?


Navy Pier
Find out more about the Navy Pier at their homepage


We have heard nothing more about (or from) Louie. But there are only three more days until our cruise where we can finally meet up with him face to face. I wanted to tell you more about Chicago. The magazine in our hotel says the city itself actually sits on the St. Lawrence Seaway continental divide at the Chicago Portage. It was a trade route from ancient times that connected the Great Lakes watersheds and the Mississippi River watershed. That all sounds so confusing. I wonder what it all means? There is a lot of new vocabulary there, at least for me. Have you ever heard of the continental divide, a portage, or a watershed? I am going to go look up the definitions. Be back soon!

     - Geo

The Navy Pier (see the Ferris Wheel)

Willis Tower (the tallest buildling)

Downtown Chicago

Wednesday Evening

I have been researching the definitions of those three new vocabulary terms. Here is what I found. The continental divide refers to the the "backbone" of a continent. In North America, it runs from the Northern tip of Alaska all the way south to New Mexico. It moves along the Rocky Mountains, which separate the eastward-flowing waters (goes to the Atlantic Ocean) from the westward-flowing waters (goes to the Pacific Ocean). The continental divide moves along the Rocky Mountains, which separate the eastward-flowing waters from the westward-flowing waters. So the continental divide is an imaginary line that separates the land where water flows to the Atlantic Ocean from land where water flows to the Pacific Ocean. I wonder if the continent is split into equal halves by the continental divide?

Portage is pretty simple to explain (although I never heard of the word). It is basically a way for boats and/or ships to carry supplies between two waterways. I guess since "port" is where things get carried on and off ships and "portable" means you can carry something, it makes sense that a portage carries things between two bodies of water.

Simply put, a watershed is an area that catches snow and rain and drains into a certain stream, creek, marsh, lake, or another waterway. That area "sheds" its water into a body of water. My dog sheds, too!

Okay, now that my nightly research is finished, Meri and I are off to do some nighttime sightseeing. GREAT NEWS! GT has an office in Chicago and flew in to surprise us today. He is staying until we board our cruise on Saturday. Our final stop on the cruise is Helena, Arkansas. Can you look at the attached map and figure out which cardinal direction we will be traveling?

     - Geo

More amazing architecture in Chicago!

These skyscrapers are SO HIGH

A picture of the night sky in Chicago


Map of the United States

Vocabulary Terms:

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

continental divide - the "backbone" of a continent. In North America, it runs from the Northern tip of Alaska all the way south to New Mexico. It moves along the Rocky Mountains, which separate the eastward-flowing waters from the westward-flowing waters.

portage - a way for boats and/or ships to carry supplies between two waterways.

watershed - the area of land that catches snow and rain and then drains into a stream, creek, marsh, lake, or other waterway.

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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 location of major cities in North America.

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

Grade 6-8: Knows the location of physical and human features on maps and globes (e.g., culture hearths such as Mesopotamia, Huang Ho, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Nile Valley; major ocean currents; wind patterns; land forms; climate regions).

Understands the physical and human characteristics of a place.

Grade 6-8: Knows the human characteristics of places (e.g., cultural characteristics such as religion, language, politics, technology, family structure, gender; population characteristics; land uses; levels of development).

Understands the concept of regions.

Grade 3-5: Knows the characteristics of a variety of regions (climate, housing, religion, language, etc..).

Grade 6-8: Understands criteria that give a region identity (such as Amsterdam as a transportation center or the Sunbelt's warm climate and popularity with retired people).

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).

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