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Teacher Edition

Week of October 29, 2017

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We are now in Portland, Oregon. You are all probably wondering how/why we are in Portland, Oregon. Here is the shortened version of the story: We received an email on our cell phone saying:

Hey Guys! I am doing well, in a city that Lewis and Clark visited towards the end of their journey. I just visited Mt. Hood. I am ENJOYING my break from DC. Please tell the government that I am fine, there is no need to worry. But I am not working on their project right now.

So, since I am pretty familiar with Lewis and Clark's famous expedition, I knew that we had to head to Portland, since he mentioned Mt. Hood. Did you ever hear of Mt. Hood? It is actually a volcano (currently dormant, but could become active again). I hope we get to visit! So that is how we ended up in this unique city, often called the "greenest" city in the US? What do you think it means if a city is "green?" I wonder if Phoenix is green. Do you think the city that you live in is green?

I have never been here before and am SO excited to explore! We have traveled ENTIRELY across the United States. Washington, DC is on the East Coast (closer to the Atlantic Ocean), while Portland, Oregon is on the West Coast (closer to the Pacific Ocean). We took an airplane from Washington-Dulles Airport. It was a straight flight, but a LONG flight. When you have a minute, take a look at the map of the United States. Can you figure out which cardinal direction we traveled going from DC to Portland, Oregon? Can you figure out how many miles it is to travel from DC to Oregon (hint: use the map scale). We are now in another time zone: Pacific. The Pacific time zone is 3-hours behind DC. Right now in Portland it is 7pm, and in DC it is 10pm already. No wonder I am starting to get tired.

     - Geo

Here is the view of the city of Portland, as we landed.

Up in the clouds!

A beautiful waterfall we saw driving to our hotel.


Map of the United States
Which cardinal direction did we travel going from Washington, D.C. to Portland, Oregon? Can you figure out how many miles it is to travel from DC to Oregon (hint: use the map scale).

Monday Night

Well, we got another email from Pandora and wanted to share:

Hey guys, guess who??? I can't believe you are on the west coast. Seriously, why didn't I get invited? I AM 13 years old! I am not a child anymore. Oh well, whatever. I told mom and dad that I found your blog. I was given some "direct" instruction that if I left this house, I would be grounded until the New Year (doesn't sound fun to me).

PS I have one question for Geo: how many time zones are there in the USA? Pandora

Well, I certainly am NOT giving her my password. So I guess we are stuck answering her questions. Little sisters!!! Anyway, Pandora, to answer your question: in the continental United States (not including Alaska and Hawaii), there are four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. If you include Alaska and Hawaii there are additional time zones (called Alaskan Time Zone and Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone). I pasted a link with a map of the time zones to help you visualize where one time zone ends and another begins.

     - Geo

Pandora (and other readers) - here is a photo of a mansion we saw today. We didn't get to go inside.

This picture shows the beautiful sunset we saw tonight!


Map of United States Time Zones
Check out this map of the United States time zones. Did you notice that part of Alaska (the Aleutian Islands) and Hawaii are in the SAME time zone?


Here is more information about time zones


Holy Idaho! Yesterday Geo and I went out to explore the city. During the day, we visited all of the local large hotels in Portland (not easy, considering how many hotels there are). We got through about fifteen total - NO LUCK. Once we got frustrated (and tired), we went back to our hotel room to investigate Portland and the case of the missing mapmaker by phone and computer. We called a few hotels, but it was hard to give a description, since Louie really just looks like your average guy (tall, dark hair, dark eyes, and average build). A few thought they might have seen someone with that description, but none of the hotels had people staying there (fitting our description) that didn't have a family with them. We were led to believe that Louie was alone, so we didn't investigate any of these leads.

Today, I found out the most fascinating fact about Portland. You might not realize this, but I have a thing for roses. I LOVE THEM! You see Portland is located in the Marine west coast climate region. This region has warm and dry summers and rainy, temperate winters. Do you remember what temperate means? Spring is unpredictable: warm weather, thunderstorms, and rain. The average rainfall is 37.5 inches per year! Portland averages 155 days of rain each year. Holy Idaho! That is nearly half of the days! This climate is perfect for growing......ROSES. In fact, Portland has been called "The City of Roses" because of the many rose gardens. And yes, I did make Geo go visit the beautiful gardens; I think he secretly liked them almost as much as I did. While we were out, we mainly traveled on either the MAX Light Rail or the ultra-cool Portland Aerial Tram. We posted links and pictures, check them out! Do you think these could have anything to do with Portland being called a "green" city?

     - Meri

The entrance to the BEAUTIFUL rose garden. Holy Idaho!

Another beautiful rose garden.

Here is a photo of the city taken today. Do you see the tower in the background?


MAX (Metroplitan Area Express)
Learn more about the MAX in Portland.


YouTube Video of the Portland Aerial Tram
Take a virtual trip on the Portland Aerial Tram.


We have been searching and searching for Louie. Did you know that Portland has volcanoes? Holy Idaho! There is the Boring Lava Field (with Mount Tabor) and Mount Hood. I included some links about the Ring of Fire: over 400 volcanoes circling around the Pacific Ocean.

Although we had an amazing day, there was no sign of Louie. I wish his email would have been more specific.

     - Meri

The amazing mountains of Portland!

Check out this cliff and the waterfront - beautiful!

Here is a unique bridge that we saw today.


Map of the Ring of Fire
Check out this map to see all of the volcanoes in the Ring of Fire!


Holy Idaho! Guess where we are going now? Here is a clue - it is a state in the USA, connected only to Canada, not to the mainland of the United States. Any ideas yet? If you guessed Alaska, you are truly geographical geniuses! We are heading to Alaska because Louie is scheduled to speak at a town meeting in Barrow, Alaska. I have never heard of Barrow, have you? Of course Geo knows. Why do you think we are going to Barrow, Alaska? Why is this place so famous?

     - Meri

A beautiful garden/park area that we visited today.

One final picture of Portland. We loved this city! Hope to make it back someday.

Vocabulary Terms:

Atlantic Ocean - the second largest ocean in the world. It separates North and South America on the west from Europe and Africa on the east.

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

dormant - inactive, but not extinct (used to describe volcanoes)

East Coast - the coast that borders the Atlantic Ocean.

green - environmentally aware, interested in preserving and protecting the environment

map scale - a graphic or line that shows the relationship between the distance on a map and the corresponding distance on the earth. For example, 1 inch may equal 500 miles. This allows users to calculate the approximate distance between two locations on a map.

Marine west coast - the climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of all the world's continents, and in southeastern Australia. These areas have somewhat cool summers and comparatively cool winters.

Pacific Ocean - the largest ocean in the world.

ring of fire - a circle that encompasses the Pacific Ocean. In that circle, many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. There are over 450 volcanoes in the ring of fire. Sometimes even tsunamis occur in the ring of fire.

temperate - a climate that provides warm summers and mild winters. The temperatures do not typically get extremely hot or cold.

time zone - how the time of day is determined throughout the world. There are 24 regions on the globe (loosely divided by longitude).

west coast - the coast that borders the Pacific Ocean.

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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).

Grade 6-8: Knows the relative location of, size of, and distances between places.

Understands the characteristics and uses of spatial organization of Earth's surface.

Grade 3-5: Understands how changing transportation and communication technology has affected relationships between locations. Ease of travel between some and difficulty getting to some others because of transportation and how people move and shop from one to the other because of the ease (trains, road systems, ferries, etc...).

Grade 3-5: Knows different methods to measure data (miles, kilometers, time, etc..).

Understands the physical and human characteristics of a place.

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

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).

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

Grade 3-5: Knows the physical components of Earth's atmosphere (weather and climate), lithosphere (land forms such as mountains), hydrosphere (oceans, lakes and rivers), and biosphere (vegetation and biomes).

Grade 6-8: Knows the consequences of a specific physical process operating on Earth's surface (e.g., effects of an extreme weather phenomenon such as a hurricane's impact on a coastal ecosystem, effects of heavy rainfall on hill slopes, effects of the continued movement of Earth's tectonic plates).

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).

Understands how physical systems affect human systems.

Grade 3-5: Knows how humans adapt to variations in the physical environment (e.g. choices of clothing, housing styles, agricultural practices, recreational activities, food, daily and seasonal patterns of life).

Grade 3-5: Knows how communities benefit from the physical environment (e.g., people make their living by farming on fertile land, fishing in local water, working in mines; the community is a port located on a natural harbor, a tourist center located in a scenic or historic area, an industrial center with good access to natural resources).

Grade 3-5: Knows natural hazards that occur in the physical environment (floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc..).

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