We’re very excited about our new River Classrooms this year, and one of these is in an entirely new place- Tierra Amarilla! There are many very important tributaries to the Rio Chama in this region, and we’re creating a new generation of scientists to study these.
Our students at Tierra Amarilla Elementary are in the 5th and 6th grades. They’re very smart, and they caught on to latitude/longitude and the use of a compass very quickly.
After we had the Equator and a few lines of latitude in place, we added the Prime Meridian and other longitude lines. This concept is not as simple- the location of the Prime Meridian is completely arbitrary!
After we added a few longitude lines, we practiced finding locations using their latitude and longitude coordinates. This concept will be very important next time, as we will begin using GPS units to mark locations where we collect data.
After our students mastered the concepts of latitude and longitude, we spent the last of our time using compasses to tell directions and headings. Many of our students had used a compass before, but it’s always fun to practice.
After a few minutes of compass practice, we all headed outside, where we made a quick game of finding compass headings and walking a given number of paces. Everybody was smiling!
We can’t wait to see this fantastic group of students in a few weeks for our first trip to a local river!