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February 20, 2007

Tipton pupils learning about the world

TIPTON — Where in the world is Jessica Day?

On most days, pupils in her mother’s Tipton Elementary School class cannot only tell you where Jessica is, but give you some information about her location, somewhere in Europe, Africa or Asia.

Day, 21, is one of 33 Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning students on a four-month tour of the world that includes stops in 23 countries. Her mother, Cyndi, is incorporating the trip into her fourth-grade gifted and talented class curriculum.

On a world map near the door, pushpins mark where she’s been, with yarn showing her path from Chicago to Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, and her current location, Vietnam.

They follow the travel itinerary provided by Ball State University and track the students’ progress online, where Ball State students post pictures, drawings, architectural analyses and journals.

After the class marks Vietnam on the map, Cyndi Day reads her daughter’s most recent e-mail, which was written after visiting Thailand. Jessica went to a snake show and touched a king cobra, so the students use their wireless laptops to look at a National Geographic site to learn about king cobras.

“Ewww,” both Savannah Heron and Julian Epps say when they view a picture of a king cobra eating another animal.

Cyndi Day said this is one way she is incorporating her daughter’s trip with the Indiana standards.

“We talk about different cultures in social studies. That has been just perfect,” she said. “I just thought it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I want to bring my class into it. It has made the whole world come alive for them.”

They’re also learning map skills, such as latitude and longitude, and in science, they’ve studied biomes, so Jessica has been sure to tell the students about the animals she sees, and they study those animals.

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