Friday, November 9, 2012

What It Is Really Like to Climb Mount Everest

Image Credit: Carsten.Nebel
As many long time readers of this blog know, I am fascinated by Mount Everest and the Himalayas in general. This afternoon I stumbled upon a couple of videos of fellow Mainer Ed Webster talking about his experiences on Mount Everest in the 1980's. The videos were shot as part of a Maine NBC affiliate's program that features remarkable Mainers. In the videos below you will learn a bit about what it takes to climb Mount Everest. I have intentionally embedded part two before part one because I think that the part two has more appeal to teachers and students.

Applications for Education
I have always been a fan of introducing students to life-long sports like hiking and skiing (I used to co-teach an outdoor adventure course) because they are healthy activities that students can do on their own long after they leave school. My hope is that videos like these spark a student's curiosity about hiking, climbing, and outdoor adventure in general. 

Our Growing Cars - An Infographic

Despite constantly increasing gasoline prices the average size of our vehicles continues to grow (I'm not helping decrease that average by driving a full-size pickup truck). Cool Infographics recently shared an infographic that depicts how much vehicles have grown over the last forty plus years. Click here to view it on the source page or check it out below.

Applications for Education
When I saw this infographic my first thoughts went to students in the automotive programs in the technical school in my district. The infographic will be of interest to them because of the some of the vehicles in the pictures (who doesn't like a Porsche?). But beyond that I can see this infographic being the jumping off point for a short lesson in the evolution of the technology in cars.

Outside of the technical school setting I can see this infographic being the catalyst for a conversation about the socio-economics of the United States. For example, I might ask my students to investigate the question, "why do our vehicles continue to grow in size while fuel costs continue to rise?" 

An Interactive Map and Timeline of Middle Earth

Earlier today I shared some maps of Middle Earth that are built on the Google Maps API. After I published that post Keir Clarke of Google Maps Mania added a comment with a link to the LOTR Project's Middle Earth Timeline.

The LOTR Project's Middle Earth Timeline is a combination of a timeline and a map. Each event in the timeline is directly linked to a location on the map. Click on any event in the timeline to see where it took place in Middle Earth.

Applications for Education
If you're using Tolkien's works in your language arts course, the LOTR Project's Middle Earth Timeline could be a good resource to help your students keep track of the plot in a linear format. I know that having something like the LOTR Project's Middle Earth Timeline would help me and I'm sure that it will help students too.

Maps of Middle Earth on Google Maps

Credit: Julian Nitzsche
Earlier this week I was asked if I knew of any Google Maps that displayed Middle Earth (the setting in much of Tolkien's work). I didn't have any resources in mind so I did a quick Google search for "middle earth google maps" and came up with a Google Maps Mania post about the topic.

On Google Maps Mania I found four examples of the Google Maps API being used to create maps of Middle Earth. Of the four I liked this MapLibs map the best. The map has fifteen placemarks to which you can quickly navigate through the listing in the right hand column on the screen. I do wish that the placemarks included some information about the stories.

Applications for Education
The four maps of Middle Earth that I mentioned above lack placemarks that reveal information about Tolkien's stories. While you cannot easily overlay images on Google Maps, you can overlay them in Google Earth. You could have your students create or find maps of Middle Earth and overlay them in Google Earth then add placemarks to create a Google Earth tour of Middle Earth.

A Six Minute Tour of the Known Universe

Earlier this year I shared a couple of interactive infographics that allow students to see the size of objects in the universe in comparison to each other. Those two displays are The Scale of the Universe and Magnifying the Universe. Through The Adventure Blog I recently found a short video tour of the universe that puts the scale of everything in the universe into perspective. I was struck by the part of the video that shows the true brightness of the sun in comparison to other stars. 

Applications for Education
The video combined with the infographics that I mentioned above could be excellent resources for helping students understand the true size of the universe. The video comparing objects they're familiar with to objects that they've only read about.