Tuesday, March 18, 2008

the northern lights

This afternoon we started a little study of the northern lights.

As a light start to this study, we read this book...Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer

It was a nice, light whimsical story... however, this is the author's story, not a regional folk tale. It was a great story with beautiful illustrations though. The kids both seemed to enjoy it.

We also looked at the photos is this book from the library...
Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights by Candace Savage

I checked this book out solely for the photographs but there is a lot of good information in there also. I wasn't planning on it, but we read several sections as we browsed our way through the book. I might have to pull it out again and see what else might be fun to read aloud.

Then we come to this book...
Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights by Debbie Miller

When I requested this one from the library, I was expecting a book on the Northern Lights. I was disappointed at first to see that the Northern Lights were only mentioned once in the whole book. But then, I really took a look at the book....
This is a story about how drastically the amount of daylight changes in Fairbanks, Alaska, near the Arctic Circle. Since Alex had just covered graphing in his last math book, I saw a potential project as I looked through the book. First of all... we looked up Fairbanks and the Arctic Circle on our map of Alaska. Then, using my graph paper I mentioned in my previous post, I had Alex plot out the sunrise and sunset times.

After that, Alex and Clara connected the dots and colored the graph to reflect the amount of daylight versus night...
(the book runs from Summer Solstice to Summer Solstice)

The kids really enjoyed this and I think we may make bar graphs with the high and low temperatures next!

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