Completing our Holiday Curriculum theme….
You are in for a treat! This website is sponsored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) which is the joint American and Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the United States and Canada that was created in 1958. Every year NORAD tracks Santa’s whereabouts so that children throughout the world can determine his location and how close he is to delivering goodies to their house on Christmas Eve.
When you get to the site you can choose what language you would like to review the site in — English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, or Chinese. Once you choose the language, a new screen appears with several choices:
- Tracking Santa — If you click on this link a new screen appears explaining that the tracking doesn’t begin until Christmas Eve Day. You are given the opportunity to download Real Player for free — as you will need it to track Santa on December 24th (so you will have to return to the site then). In the meantime, you are given the opportunity to click on links to read about some of Santa’s past escapades that have been tracked by NORAD. See past pictures of Santa near the Mir Space Station, or flying by the pyramids in Egypt, or buzzing the Washington Monument!
- History of Santa — Click on this link and a new screen appears with a menu that offers the opportunity to read many stories about whether or not Santa is real, how he fits down the chimney, what snacks he prefers, how many children he visits in the space-time continuum, and much more.
- Christmas Music — Click on this link to hear renditions of familiar Christmas tunes performed by the USAF Band of the Rockies and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band.
Because this site combines the concepts of Santa and Science, I thought older students and adults might be interested in the following information as well….
The Physics of Santa Claus
Consider this from the National Association of Scholars:
To appreciate what Santa accomplishes, understand that he travels 75.5 million miles all in 31 hours, thanks to the many time zones and Earths rotation. There are 2 billion children under 18 in the world and if you assume (as NAS does) that Santa does not deliver to those who are Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist — that leaves 378 million who may expect a visit from Santa. The world census figures place 3.5 children in each household. So Santa must visit 91.8 million homes — that’s 822.6 houses per second. That gives him 1/1,000th of a second to land the reindeer on a roof, jump down the chimney, distribute the goodies, chomp on some cookies, and move on. His sleigh must move 650 miles per second, or 3,000 times the speed of sound. NAS says the average Christmas gift (say, Legos or a Barbie Doll) weighs 2 pounds — that means the sleigh leaves Santa’s Workshop at the North Pole carrying 321,300 tons of gifts. NAS estimates a normal reindeer can pull 300 pounds — but assumes Santa’s Super-Reindeer can pull 10 times that amount. Even so, Santa will need 214,200 reindeer to do the job. That herd of deer increases the weight on your roof to 353,430 tons (better reinforce if you’re expecting the Jolly One). Not only that, but air resistance from 353,430 tons traveling 650 miles per second generates terrific heat, so the two lead reindeer absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second which causes them to spontaneously combust. They burst into flames as do the next 214,198 reindeer in 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa probably doesn’t notice as the deafening sonic booms and centrifugal forces that are 17,500 times the force of gravity have probably disoriented him. Santa is thrust into the back of his sleigh with 4,315,015 pounds of force. NAS isn’t sure anyone could survive, much less deliver gifts, in such conditions. Interestingly, children throughout the world could care less about NAS scientific speculation — because they believe in magic — which is another discussion entirely. See how one topic springboards to another when you homeschool?
I would like to leave you with another thought at this wonderful time of year. The most precious present that passes between child and parent is the simplest. It is the gift of time and attention freely given to one another. In that regard, homeschooling is the one gift that will keep on giving long after the toys and games have lost their appeal.
Have a joyous holiday with your family!