Jim Gilbert
Mystery Class Mystery Class

Tracking Changes in Photoperiod Around the Globe

  • Challenge Questions
  • Journey North News
  • Related Resources

    Today's News
    Today's News

    Migrations and Signs of Spring
    Migrations and
    Signs of Spring

    Report Your Sightings
    Report Your Sightings

    Teacher Discussion
    Teacher Discussion

    Search Journey North
    Search Journey North

    return to:
    JNorth Home Page

    A/CPB Home A/CPB

  • Mystery Class Challenge

    Tony Ward (tward@visionol.net)
    Sun, 11 May 1997 22:13:10 -0400

    Dear folks: I hope this is the correct address for discussion. My Grade 11
    GNS Outdoor Geography Class and I were delighted to be among the winners,
    and we certainly congratulate the other successful teams. As I noted in
    our successful entry I ran the contest competitively among 5 groups within
    the class, and then we combined best answers at the end of the contest and
    submitted our entry.

    The two sites that we missed --- Zalaegerszeg Hungary and Secunda South
    Africa --- were pretty obscure. I would be interested to know if anybody in
    fact worked them out. We went with nearby Szombathely Hungary, but in the
    absence of any clues that differentiated between these fairly small places
    were unable to narrow it down further.

    There appears to be a larger problem with Secunda however, as you show in
    the final listing a longitude/latitude of 28.00E and 27.83S for this town.
    Secunda appears in neither the Times Atlas of the World (9th edition) or
    the National Geographic Atlas, and is visible as a tiny village at the
    largest zoom only on Encarta Atlas '97. Unfortunately it shows at 26d33m S
    and 29d10mE on this admirable resource rather than the listed co-ordinates.
    Re-checking the sunrise data indicates that the incorrect co-ordinates were
    used to generate the SR times, since the match is exact. But the town is
    many kilometers from this site. We went with Johannesburg, which is correct
    in longitude, but a little North in latitude. Again; for this site it was
    easy to arrive at South Africa as the country, but the always interesting
    geographic clues which my students had so much fun tracking down were not
    sufficiently precise to lead one to a definitive conclusion, and there
    appears to have been a major flaw in the data.

    We were lucky in going with Walvis Bay rather than Swakupmund (which fitted
    the clues also) but all other sites allowed teams to arrive at a pretty
    definitive answer. The Russian site was a classic sleuthing endevour in
    particular, and the clues for McMurdo gave rise to excellent learning

    I *love* this activity. It seems relatively few are involved in it at the
    High School level at present but I am working towards changing this with an
    invited presentation for my Durham Board's summer Professional Teaching
    Session. As we won the Bertelsmann award from Germany last year as the
    finest Public School Board in the World --- we may have been surprised at
    this but we are also darn proud of it --- we are anticipating quite a few
    outsiders dropping by. I am also presenting again at the OAGEE conference
    in the fall, and I know some other teachers got infected after last year's
    effort and have followed some of the activities this season.

    Pleas let me know if there is another site to which I should forward this
    note. Once again, we had a wonderful time, in this and in many other of the
    activities. But this Mystery Class is our speciality, and we would like to
    help make it even better. As I said last year there is nothing else I know
    of that so intrigues the type of student with the calibre to do well in
    Math contests for example. Keep up the good work...

    Tony Ward VE3NO NYAA StarFest On-Line
    tward@visionol.net, tward@spanit.com
    71520.1520@CompuServe.com ComputerViz
    There are three kinds of people. Those who can count, and those who can't...