I had grand ideas on how my vocational study in Australia might be integrated into our local 4-H program.
While those ideas are still on my list, I've decided that I'd most like to be sure kids and adults understand that the world isn't flat.
Theoretically, we all know the world is round, but do we think like that?
Imagine a world map.
Where is the United States? Where is Australia?
Chances are you just imagined a map with the United States on the left and Australia on the far right. When I tell you I'm flying west to Australia on the Rotary Group Study Exchange, it seems like I'm flying off the map!
While talking to fifth graders, I realized that few classrooms have globes. Globes are expensive. With the world constantly changing, it has become easier and more economical to rely on printed or digital maps.
Three-dimensional maps on a computer screen may show the concept of the world as sphere, but they don't make the impact that an actual globe can have in your mind.
I reminded the students that if you dig a hole straight through the earth, you'd actually come out in the Pacific Ocean just west of Perth, Australia.
Perth is on the southwestern coast of Australia.
One student looked troubled. When I asked if he had a question, he said he wanted to know if we'd be safe digging a hole to Australia!
I must remember that kids are sometimes very literal.
I can't buy a globe for every 4-H member, but I can help stitch together the two halves of the Pacific Ocean on our mental map using Google maps.
Rotary District 6910 will visit Perth from April 13 to May 16. Check out www.tinyurl.com/georgia2australia to see a virtual map of our trip.
This is a work in progress and I will continue to add and change details as known.
At the top of the list on the left, you can see where each team member lives and which Rotary Clubs sponsored participants.
Next, you'll find information on our flights to and from Australia across the Pacific Ocean.
The remaining links are organized by date. Each day, you can click on the links to see where we should be on that day.
If you are not familiar with Google maps, take some time to play with the options.
At the right of the map, you have an option to change to a "satellite" setting. This shows an aerial photo of the area. You can usually zoom in pretty close.
On the top left corner of the map, look for the orange stick figure person. Click and drag this little guy onto the map. If any of the roads light up in blue, you can drop him onto the map to see a "street view" of the location.
Each time you click on one of the events, you'll also see any details, links or comments I have discovered about the location.
As the trip progresses, I will also update the map with photos and comments about our experience.
The second link you can bookmark is http://georgia2australia.wordpress.com.
This is the team blog used to update everyone on our experiences.
Go ahead and check out the map. Have a question about something? Can you think of a good way to turn an activity into a learning experience for kids back home?
E-mail me! I'd love to hear your ideas and comments.
I'm also collecting 8x8 inch pages with photos and text about our community's "favorites." What's your favorite food? Favorite holiday? Favorite sport? Favorite vacation spot?
I'll share these pages with Australian youth and adults. Hopefully, I will bring back some of their favorites to share here as well.
Finally, if you have a question you'd like to ask on video, give me a call to set up the video camera. I'll record the answers by Australians while on the trip.
Just be sure to come see me before April 12 and after that look down at your feet and wave across the world!
Terri Kimble is the Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at (770) 784-2010 or email@example.com.