Journal of Be(e)utiful Pla(y)ces

Outing #22: Diaries for Extraordinary Times

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands EXPLORE This week the Adventure Whales are focusing on Social Justice Heroes & Sheroes. In particular, we’re learning about young people who found ways to share their voices in the face of injustice. Our first stop was the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands. To join our adventure, start with this online lesson introducing Anne's story created by the Anne Frank House museum. Then, tour the secret annex yourself complete with short videos and excerpts from Anne’s diaries. The museum has several other wonderful videos and resources on their website. Here are a couple that I enjoyed: Who was Anne Frank? Anne Frank, the Graphic Biography DISCUSS Ho

Outing #21: Real Life Fairy Forests

Guandera Reserve and Biological Station, Carchi, Ecuador EXPLORE Today, the Adventure Whales visited a place that is very special to me, the Guandera Reserve and Biological Station on the very northern end of the Ecuadorian Andes. I worked on the Reserve for six months in 2002 and still keep in touch with some of the lovely staff who welcomed me. The guandera forest is also special because there is so little of it (only 4% of the original forest still stands) and almost no one has ever heard of it. The guandera is a tree that grows high in the mountains where it is almost always cold and misty. In fact, it grows up to the equatorial tree line at about 3600 meters (almost 12,000 feet) above s

Outing #20: Nice Panda Suit

Wolong National Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China EXPLORE The Adventure Whales are learning the “bear necessities” of Fantastic Forests this week. The first stop was the Wolong National Nature Reserve in the mountains of Central China. The nature reserve is home to many threatened and endangered species, the most famous of which is the giant panda. But, giant pandas are not the only animal stars--check out the red pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, and many others while you’re there too. To join us, start by looking at the satellite view of the reserve to get a sense for the mountainous terrain and it's location in China. Then, watch these short National Geographic videos explaining ho

Outing #19: Boiling Rivers and Blasting Geysers

Iceland EXPLORE The Adventure Whales swam to Northern waters today to visit the crazy geology capital of the world: Iceland. I mean, they have volcanoes that you can go inside, the original geyser, a boiling river, and hot springs everywhere. To get a taste for the geologic wonders of Iceland, check out this National Geographic Next video. Then, learn more about why geysers erupt with SciShow Kids. Bonus: If you really want to go deep into geyser science, you can also learn more from geyser researchers at UC Berkeley. DISCUSS Which geologic wonders in Iceland would be at the top of your “must visit” list? People in Iceland find also sorts of uses for their abundant geothermal energy (undergr

Outing #18: It’s Gonna Blow!

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA EXPLORE It’s hard to believe that school has been out for a month! As we go into Week 5 of our Virtual Outings, we decided to spice it up a bit. So, we’re going to explore the more explosive parts of our planet with some explosions of our own. Our first stop is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. To join us, start with Google’s Hidden Worlds of the National Parks featuring Hawaii Volcanoes. PBS also has some great short volcano videos and the park recommends this cool comic about the Kilauea eruptions in 2018. DISCUSS Would you like to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park? Why or why not? Have you ever seen a volcano in pers

Outing #17: Feeling Animated

Studio Ghibli Musem, Tokyo, Japan EXPLORE To continue our week of Art & Imagination, the Adventure Whales swam across the Pacific to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo, Japan. For those of you who don't know Studio Ghibli, it is the famous animation studio that produces beautiful children's movies such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The kids were so excited to go there, but unfortunately the museum website is pretty spare and there are almost no photos online showing the inside of the museum. It is supposed to be fabulous in person, though. So, to get in the mood, I suggest watching the trailer for Spirited Away. Then, watch one of these short, amateur documentaries about Studio Gh

Outing #16: Do You Like Boring Things?

Tate, London, UK Update! With many schools starting remote learning this week, Virtual Outings will move to twice a week. The plan is to post our adventures every Monday and Wednesday. EXPLORE Our team of adventurers decided to explore Art and Imagination this week. To kick off our travels, we visited Tate--the famous art museum in the UK. They have an AMAZING collection of kids activities on their website. We focused on Pop Art, but there are lots of other topics to dive into as well. To join us, start with a sweet Tate Kids video introducing Pop Art and the movement’s most famous artists (including Andy Warhol who famously said, “I life boring things.”). Then, take the quiz to find out: Wh

Outing #15: Making Reservations at ISS

International Space Station, Orbiting Earth EXPLORE What would it be like to live in space? To find out, the Adventure Whales visited the International Space Station. The, we imagined what it would take to voyage beyond Earth’s orbit to Mars or beyond. To join us, start by watching this short introduction to ISS with SciShow Kids. Then, explore on your own using Google Earth ISS. Watch a few Space to Ground dispatches from NASA. My favorite is about the first all female space walk last year! And of course, no tour is complete without a trip to the facilities. I couldn’t find a NASA toilet tour, but luckily their colleagues at the European Space Agency were willing to share. Finally, think ab

Outing #14: Is There Life Out There?

VLT & ALMA Telescopes, Chile EXPLORE Today we decided to journey beyond our solar system with a special guest: astronomer and science journalist Kathy Kornei! We also visited the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and Atacama Large Millimiter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescopes in Chile. These telescopes, and many more around the world and in space, allow us to explore the universe, even finding other planets that could hold life. To start, get a sense of what is out there and the relative size of objects in the universe by visiting the Size of Space web app. Then, find where VLT and ALMA are located in Chile. Watch these short videos introducing the VLT and ALMA. You can also explore what discove

Outing #13: Whales on Tour

Our Solar System EXPLORE Today, we pulled a Ms. Frizzle,got on the Whale Bus, and took a tour of our solar system. To join the class, start with National Geographic’s Solar System 101. Then, ooo and ahh at these beautiful real images of our Sun and planetary neighbors. To get a feel for how large and far apart the planets really are, watch a scale model of the solar system come to life in the desert. If you can’t get enough, you can also learn about the origin of the solar system. DISCUSS What strikes you as interesting or beautiful about the planets in our solar system? If you could really visit another planet in our solar system, which one would it be? Why? If you were designing a science

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