Super-Fun Geography Studies with Journey North’s Mystery Class

January 24, 2007 @ 8:06 am | Filed under:

As one of my little ones used to say, I’m so a-cited! It’s almost time to begin a new season of happy hunting with the Journey North Mystery Class. Ten classes of schoolchildren around the world have been chosen to be Mystery Classes, and it’s up to the rest of us to track down their location. You too can join in the fun!

Here’s how it works. Every Friday, starting this week, Journey North will release some special information about the ten mystery locations: their sunrise and sunset times. You use this data to calculate each location’s photoperiod (how many minutes of daylight it had that day). By graphing the changes in photoperiod, week after week (for eleven weeks), you’ll be able to narrow down the latitude of the Mystery Classes.

To help with the narrowing-down, you also graph your own local photoperiod every Monday. Don’t know what time the sun will rise? You can find out here.

As the project unfolds, Journey North will begin to send other clues to help you locate the Mystery Classes. One biggie will be the longitude clues. In April, participants from all over the world will share their guesses, and the big reveal is in May.

We did this last year with a group of online homeschooling friends. Each family took one Mystery Class to calculate data for, and we pooled the data for our graphs. We had such a good time! It was so exciting to hone in on the locations, make our guesses, discuss the possibilities with the other families in the group. Rilla was born near the end of the project, but that didn’t stop Jane from maniacally calculating photoperiods and drawing all those lovely colored lines on our graph.

I highly recommend this project, whether your family does it alone or with a group. So. Much. Fun!

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3 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Jennifer says:

    Oooh, I can’t wait. We dabbled in this with the monarch migration and LOVED it. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Kathryn says:

    I think we may take a crack this year. I already have a button on my blog from Weather Underground ( which gives automatically updates with daily sunrise and sunset times. Might come in hand!

  3. Karen E. says:

    I’m *so* bad at this stuff. I see words like “graph” and “chart” and my eyes glaze over and I wander off for another cup of coffee. My poor children. I really should do this for Betsy. She can handle the details — and would love them, I think, while Anne and I are glazed ….