Monday, April 4, 2011

21 Times to the Top of the World - Lessons About Mount Everest

The spring Himalaya climbing season is starting to get underway. This evening the Adventure Blog had a story about Apa Sherpa attempting to summit Mount Everest for the 21st time. I'm sharing this story because it reminded me of some good resources for teaching about Mount Everest that I've found over the years.

The Rest of Everest is a video podcast series for learning about the Mount Everest region. For their fifth season The Rest of Everest is releasing all of their episodes in 3D video. According to their site, this is the first 3D footage recorded in Tibet.  And unlike a lot of documentaries about Mount Everest, this season of 3D footage was recorded on the infrequently visited east or Kangshung face of Mount Everest. You need nothing more than a cheap pair of red and green 3D glasses to view the footage.

Google Earth has an excellent Google Earth tour of the South Col climbing route. The South Col route is the route that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay used on the first successful summit climb. The South Col route is also the most commonly used route and the route used in the third season of Discovery's Everest: Beyond the Limit.

To accompany Everest: Beyond the Limit, Discovery has developed a number of interesting and educational web resources. On the Everest: Beyond the Limit website you will find interactive Sherpa-cams, puzzles, games, and climbers' blogs. The Sherpa-cams give you perspective of what a climber sees has he or she ascends Mount Everest.

National Geographic Expeditions has a lesson plan for middle school students about the history and development of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan also touches on the physical challenges posed by high altitude mountaineering.

A physical education teacher at the River Valley Middle School in Grand Bay Westfield, New Brunswick developed an extensive lesson plan about the physiological demands of climbing Mount Everest. The lesson plan is titled the Mount Everest Challenge. This lesson would be a great way to incorporate science, physical education, geography, and history into an interdisciplinary project.

If you're looking for an inspirational story to watch for yourself and or to share with your students, they don't get much better than this one. In 2001, Erik Weihenmeyer became the first blind person to summit Mount Everest. His book Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Storywas a bestseller.
The story of his climb is told in the one hour movie embedded below.
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National Archives Today's Document

The US National Archives is an all around good resource for history teachers to have bookmarked. I've written about some of their services in the past (here and here) and today I'd like to remind you of the National Archives Today's Document feed. Everyday Today's Document features a new image or document from the archives. The documents are usually accompanied by some additional research links and lesson plan resources.

One of the documents recently featured in the Today's Document feed was a petition to the US Government signed by Hopi (Moqui) Chiefs. One of the interesting things about this document is the way that the document was signed with the symbol of each family in the tribe.

Applications for Education
This document could be used with a wide range of grade levels. At the middle school or high school level the petition could be part of a lesson on the way the US Government redistributed land to Native Americans following the Dawes Act. The symbol-signature aspect of the document could be used in an elementary school lesson about cultural differences between European-Americans and Native Americans.

Create Useful Charts on the Visual Support Engine

Visuals Engine is a useful free resource from ConnectABILITY. The Visuals Engine provides six customizable templates for creating choice boards, story boards, schedules, and achievement charts. To use the Visuals Engine just choose a template then choose images or upload images for each box on your chart. You can type text to accompany each image on your charts. When you've finished editing you can print your chart or save it as a PDF.

Applications for Education
ConnectABILITY provides suggestions for using each type of visual chart for which they offer a template. One of their suggestions is to create "I want boards" to assist children in articulating their choices between two or more options. Another of their suggestions is to create a "token economy" board that contains images of the rewards students can earn for completing tasks.

Making Videos on the Web - Updated for 2011

Eleven months ago I published a free ebook titled Making Videos on the Web. In that time a couple of the resources featured in that guide have changed. One, Memmov, has gone offline and the other JayCut has matured. In this updated version of Making Videos on the Web I've included forty step-by-step directions for creating videos using JayCut.

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Making Videos on the Web

I Love Trash - Snag Learning Film of the Week

This week's Snag Learning film of the week is I Love Trash. I Love Trash is an interesting story about two friends who decide to live off of trash. For three months the pair gets all that they need through dumpster diving. Through their resourcefulness they furnish an apartment, dress respectably, and find plenty of good food. I saw this story on Current TV a couple of years ago and was struck by just how much good stuff gets thrown out everyday. Watch the film and find discussion questions here.

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