Posts Tagged ‘North Pole’

Track Santa’s Sleigh!

December 18th, 2010

Hi!  It’s Saturday, December 18, 2010 and time for Electives at ClickSchooling!

Recommended Website:
NORAD: Tracks Santa

Age Range:  All

Track Santa’s Sleigh on Christmas Eve! Those wacky scientists at North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) use four high-tech systems to track Santa – radar, satellites, Santa Cams and jet fighter aircraft. Not only that, they provide lots of pre-Christmas Eve activities just for kids including:

*Visit Santa’s Kids’ Countdown Village – Visit this website each day in December to receive updates from the North Pole and discover surprises (activities like wordsearches and crossword puzzles).

*Watch Holiday Cheer Videos – Watch videos created by students to celebrate Santa. And on December 24th visit NORAD’s site to see the video feed from Santa Cams positioned around the world.

*Track Santa with Your Mobile Phone – On December 24th use “Google Maps for Mobile” to track Santa’s location worldwide.

*Track Santa Through Google Earth – On Christmas Eve head to the NORAD site to track Santa’s flight in Google Earth.

*About Santa – Watch a video of Santa reciting, The Night Before Christmas. Read FAQs about Santa and NORAD. Find out how many cookies Santa eats on Christmas Eve.

*About NORAD – Find out why NORAD tracks Santa and how they do it!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas, a joyful holiday season, and a happy New year!

The Polar Express

December 16th, 2009

Hi!  It’s Wednesday, December 16, 2009 and time for Language Arts at ClickSchooling!

One of the best-loved holiday books is The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. The timeless story captures the imagination of children everywhere. I thought it would be fun to explore some sites that encourage learning language arts through this magical tale of a boy who takes a night-time train ride to the North Pole.

Recommended Websites:

Age Range: 6-10 (give or take a year or two)

Chris Van Allsburg

The author’s website offers an overview of the book and samples of the outstanding illustrations that earned a Caldecott Medal. You can also read the author’s bio, see a timeline of his work, and access resources and interactives themed around his books.

A Teacher’s Guide: The Polar Express

This site provides ideas to extend learning using the book. It includes guided questions for a book discussion and explores similes and metaphors in the story. It also includes some “just for fun” story starters that could be used to spark creative writing.

Polar Express: Games, Activities & Recipes

This website offers coloring pages and craft ideas along with a downloadable/printable crossword, word search, and maze. Try the recipes for cookies and enjoy them with hot cocoa.

~ Click’n’Learn ~

Gingerbread Math

December 10th, 2007

Continuing with our Holiday Theme, we start off the week with Gingerbread

Recommended Websites:

Age Range: Varies (I think most of these sites have activities that will please everyone in the family.) Gingerbread Man Math

At this website, you’ll find all kinds of wonderful gingerbread man math activities with ingenious ideas for learning about measurement, symmetry, probability, graphs, geometry, perimeter, area, and more. There are lots of links to other gingerbread math activities here too.

For more incredible gingerbread-themed lessons in perimeter and area, don’t miss…

Gingerbread Goodies

This site has a full-scale gingerbread curriculum, with some of the most creative activities and ideas we’ve seen. Scroll half way down the page to see the fun and simple math ideas that include area, perimeter, measurement, glyphs, a homemade gingerbread math game, and lots more!

Gingerbread Lane: Bake & Build a Gingerbread House

You only need basic math skills to build a Gingerbread House! Learn a little about geometry (and architecture!) as you determine what size to cut the
squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, archways and other parts needed for the structure. This site has recipes for gingerbread and the all-important
mortar-icing! There are also construction tips, and plans for making simple gingerbread houses too. You’ll discover the best decorative candy to use —
and you will find tips for how to preserve your gingerbread masterpiece. Finally, there are links to many other sites all about gingerbread! Don’t
miss the photo archive of incredible gingerbread houses that have won prizes in various gingerbread house contests. You can even see an Eiffel Tower made
out or Gingerbread!

Make Easy & Simple Gingerbread Houses

At this website you can follow very easy plans to make mini faux gingerbread houses out of graham crackers. This is an especially good choice if you are
pressed for time — or if you have young children who would get frustrated with building more complex or real gingerbread structures.

Note: I gave a Gingerbread House Building Party for our homeschool support group one year. Guests brought single-serving milk cartons that we used for
bases for the houses. Then we just used royal icing to “glue” the graham crackers to the milk cartons. Construction is simple using this method. Once
you cover the milk carton in graham crackers — you can fill in spaces with icing. Then decorate the whole thing as usual with candy. We supplied icing and graham crackers for building. Guests brought their own milk cartons and candy to decorate (we shared the candy). It was great fun and the results were spectacular. If you do this be sure that every adult has their own
materials — as parents like this project as much as their kids do! This also prevents the kids from saying to mom and dad in total exasperation, “I’d
rather do it myself!” :-)

Gingerbread-Themed Math Worksheets

This website offers free, printable gingerbread-themed math worksheets in addition, subtraction and multiplication.

Want More Christmas Math Activities?

Googol Learning

You won’t believe the array of holiday math activities that are archived at the website. From calorie counting to budgeting to snowflake
symmetry to finding the magnetic north pole — it’s all here.

Northern Lights!

January 2nd, 2007

Recommended Website:

Northern Lights

Santa has come and gone, but you can give your children an idea of what’s happening at the North Pole right now. The heavens are performing a spectacular light show! MaryAnna discovered this terrific website all about the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights…

When you get to the site, for an instant and awesome display of the Northern Lights simply click on the small strip of beautifully colored panels near the upper right of the screen to start viewing a slideshow of about 1,700 aurora photos! These are some of the best to be found anywhere, and with good reason.

This website runs a monthly and an annual aurora photo competition, and all the winners are posted here! (If your contribution wins, you get an all-expense-paid trip to Norway! The catch is, you would have to be somewhere near an aurora first in order to snap a winning photo! :)

The northern lights have been especially active at the North Pole lately due to recent strong sunspot activity. The little Magnetometer icon in the upper right corner of this website is updated every thirty seconds to show you what’s going on in the earth’s magnetic field right this minute! More information about current conditions is located in the right-hand column of the main page of this site. (You can easily return to the main page from anywhere on the site by clicking the logo centered at the top of your screen.)

What do sunspots and the earth’s magnetic field have to do with auroras? And what do auroras have to do with the northern lights? You can read all about the science behind the Northern Lights and more by using the menu located in the upper left corner of the main page. It includes:

  • What Are Northern Lights? — Find out the physics behind a northern lights display, the frequency of occurrence, the colors, form and structure, the sounds they make, and discover auroras on other planets! Be sure to watch the aurora video clips in the right hand columns located in the “What Are Northern Lights” subcategory, “Colours”. Some of them are just too awe-inspiring for words.
  • Aurora in Science — Meet the auroral research pioneers. Then explore modern research including magnetic, radiowave, and Rocket Range observations.
  • Realtime Measurements — Check out the gadgets and gizmos (auroral instruments) that stream their up-to-the-minute animations and cams of current aurora activity!
  • Auroral Mythology — Find out how Vikings, Native Americans, and people in olden times explained the strange lights in the sky.
  • User’s Corner — Did you know there was once a man-made, artificial aurora? Download a photo of it here, along with a few other wallpapers (computer screen backgrounds), or read the FAQ’s and join a discussion with other aurora fans. Find a list of links to other websites where you can “ooh” and “aaaah” all day to your heart’s content! :)

If after viewing all of these incredible aurora photos, video clips, and cams you simply must go see the northern lights, you can get information here to help you plan your next vacation. There’s nothing quite like seeing
them in person. Pack warmly, and bon voyage! :)

Tracking Santa

December 22nd, 2001

Completing our Holiday Curriculum theme….

Recommended Website:

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!

Virtual Trip to See Reindeer!

December 21st, 2001

Continuing with our Holiday Curriculum…

This virtual field trip involves visiting several sites to learn about the elusive reindeer. Our journey starts with a site where you can learn facts about reindeer — and even take a reindeer quiz! Then you can visit a site to see pictures of real reindeer. We also discovered a reindeer lesson plan and a site where you can see animated reindeer too! Enjoy!

Recommended Websites:

Reindeer Facts & Quiz

When you get to this site you can take the reindeer quiz right away — or click on the “facts” link to read about reindeer before taking the quiz. The site uses the artwork of second-graders along with text to provide good basic information about reindeer. It’s easy to use, appealing to look at, and is accompanied by an instrumental version of the song, “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Pictures of Real Reindeer — Page 1
Pictures of Real Reindeer — Page 2

At this site you will find a Picture Gallery from the Reindeer Farm, a real working farm that raises reindeer. You will see adults and calves, as well as a Christmas sled team.

Reindeer Lesson Plan

This site offers a complete lesson plan about reindeer. It uses the book, “The Wild Christmas Reindeer” by Jan Brett as a starting place, and then provides three links to websites with more information about Reindeer and the climate where they live. (The “Weather” link doesn’t go directly to the page you will need; type in “North Pole” into the search box to get there.) Click on the “All About Nature” link and find a diagram of a reindeer that identifies it’s parts — you could print this out and let the kids color it.

Animated (Cartoon-Style) Reindeer

This site is just for fun. You will see pictures of Santa’s reindeer. Click on each one and read the silly stories about how the reindeer got their names, what they like to do in their spare time, and what some of their funniest moments were delivering gifts on Christmas Eve. (Note: At last visit, this site was under maintenance. If the link doesn’t work, try going to the main site: — and looking for the reindeer from there.)