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Straight Ahead
Ages 9 to 12
See the world by having a friendly race across the globe.

What You Need

  • World Map (PDF file) (print one for each person)
  • An atlas (have two, if possible)
  • Dot stickers
  • 8 inch piece of string
  • Transportation Chart (print one for each person, and cut along dashed lines)

What to Do

  1. Think about the expression "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line." Do you think this expresson is true? Do you think following a straight line is the best way to travel? You'll find out after you do this activity.
  2. Choose ten places in the world that you would like to visit. Use an atlas to label those places on your World Map.
  3. Put a dot sticker on one place you would like to visit (on the World Map) and another dot on the place where you live. Then tape one end of a piece of string to one dot, and the other end to the other dot.
  4. Now it's time to see how well you can travel in a straight line. Use the atlas to locate all the areas and water you must cross, such as oceans, mountain ranges, deserts, rivers, and forests.
  5. Choose pictures for three modes of transportation. (If more than four people are involved, print a second Transportation Chart.) You will use these three modes to travel from your home to the places you decided to visit.
  6. Study your straight line. Then decide which mode of transportation you will use for each part of the journey. (You can use a mode of transportation more than once.)
  7. Describe your trips to each other, adding as much believable detail as you like. Decide whose trip was easiest, hardest, fastest, and the most fun.

What Else You Can Do

  • Add other modes of transportation. Write their names on pieces of paper and add them to the original pile. Think of unusual ways of traveling, such as stagecoach, camel, and mule train.

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