What is Globetracker’s Mission?
How can I involve my class?
Reading the blog is great, but how can we SEE where Geo and Meri are?
Can we join in more actively?
Where is the Mission going?
What if we miss a week or start late?
Can parents and families be involved?
Who created Globetracker’s Mission?
Globetracker’s Mission is a unique, engaging way for students in grades 2-6 to learn geography, map skills, and landforms through an episodic story. Each week, a new episode, in the format of a blog post, appears on the Globetracker’s Mission site. The “blog” is written by fictional teenagers Geo and Meri as they travel on a "secret “mission” for an unnamed government agency. They seek clues and travel under the supervision of their Uncle Globetracker, writing the “blog” as part of their requirements for missing high school work. Classes who follow the mission learn standards-based terms and concepts of geography as they respond to Geo and Meri’s think-aloud questions using maps, images, and links that Geo and Meri provide. Concepts include landforms, map skills, cultures, major landmarks, oceans, rivers, and more. For a full list of the standards addressed, click here.
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Students are encouraged to participate through class discussions using this projector- or whiteboard-ready site. Younger students will need reading assistance and will probably work best in a teacher-centered discussion of the site. Older elementary and middle school students can navigate the episodes with the teacher, on their own, or as part of a geography center in their classroom. At the conclusion of each episode, readers “vote” among options for what Geo and Meri do next. The actual vote from site visitors determines the next episode that will appear on Sunday (just in time for teachers to preview for the coming week or for curious students to read from home). See our technical information page for more about using Google Earth. See Lesson Ideas for more ways to use the Mission.back to top
At the top of each weekly episode, there is a link to a Google Earth file you can open to trace Geo and Meri’s mission so far. You will need to install the free Google Earth software on your computer to view these files. Then “fly” the route that Geo and Meri take as a recap of all that you have learned so far. A projector or interactive whiteboard will really let you “see the world” with Geo and Meri. Our technical information page shows you how.back to top
There are many creative ways to involve students with "the mission." Teachers may wish to have students compose their own "blog style" episodes about what Geo and Meri might find if they visited your town or state. If your school allows Twitter to pass through school filtering, your class can also send question messages to Geo and Meri on their new Twitter account, @geoandmeri. Of course you will want to send these using a whole-class Twitter account. You might have every student submit a possible question for a class vote to decide which one you would like to send. We wouldn't want to bury Geo and Meri in repetitious "tweets" while they are so busy on their mission! Learn more about Twitter in this TeachersFirst review of this tool for educators.
Another option is to encourage students (and their families) to read books related to the USA regions Geo and Meri visit. See a full CurriConnects list of USA Regional Books for readers of all ages. Be sure to share this link on you class web page so parents can become involved, possibly taking it to the public library.
Geo and Meri’s travels will have them traveling throughout North America from October, 2015, through the end of April, 2016. There will be additional review activities available during May, 2016. Classes who follow the entire journey will master geography skills as an ongoing endeavor, reinforcing the skills through an engaging adventure of two teens who use the newest technologies. Teachers will love the carefully scaffolded learning that takes place as Geo and Meri introduce and revisit concepts throughout the mission. If you join the mission along the way, the “blog” allows you to backtrack so students can read and learn from the Introduction and previous episodes.
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Both current and previous weeks' episodes from this mission will be on line from the start in October through the end of June, 2016. Of course, the voting for past episodes will be over, so you will want to try to catch up! This mission will go into a hidden archive at the end of June, 2016.
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Teachers and families can reinforce and enrich the experience while building better readers using this CurriConnects list of USA Regional Books for many interests and reading levels. As Geo and Meri discover North America, share reading and fun with related books. Before you know it, a child who is following Geo and Meri at school will say, “I read about that,” connecting new knowledge with personal experience.
Send this link home to parents and include it on your teacher web page for easy access to the USA Regional Books list:
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Globetracker’s Mission is a project from TeachersFirst, a free, ad-free service of The Source for Learning, a non-profit. TeachersFirst’s creative team of experienced teachers and technical staff has worked diligently to produce this one-of-a-kind way to engage your students as learners of the world. We hope you enjoy the trip!
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