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.
Fourth-grader Ben Captain said he was surprised to learn that Singapore has a stray monkey problem, just like the United States has a stray cat and dog problem.
They’ve also studied weather patterns, letter writing and time differences.
Epps said he’s enjoyed keeping track of Jessica’s whereabouts.
“It’s like you’re on a trip, but you never leave the room.”
The boy said he’d like to travel, but would miss seeing his family.
Heron said she enjoyed hearing about Jessica’s camel ride at Cairo, Egypt, and that she would like to go there one day.
“I’d love going on camels and seeing the pyramids,” she said.
Savannah’s only hesitation about world travel?
“She had to get a lot of shots.”
Several of the girls in the class said Barcelona, Spain, was their favorite of Jessica’s destinations, because their favorite movie, “The Cheetah Girls,” was filmed there. Other students, both boys and girls, liked Barcelona because she attended a professional soccer match and they like soccer.
Several also were surprised Jessica and other women in her group had to put on robes and head scarves to enter some of the places they visited in Turkey.
“In Turkey, the girls aren’t treated like the boys. I didn’t know that,” Jeremy Caylor said.
Klayton Peters was surprised there was a rainstorm in the desert when Jessica visited the pyramids in Egypt.
Cyndi Day said she and her pupils have been surprised how many places have not had Internet access available. She’s used to talking to her daughter regularly, and now has to deal with five- or six-day intervals between communications.
“We assume everyone is on the same technology we are — Internet access, phone systems — and they’re not,” the teacher said.
After Vietnam, the Ball State students will visit Hong Kong, China, Mongolia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain.
She and Jessica’s father, Ken Day, look forward to meeting their daughter in Paris during the Tipton spring break. They’ll also meet an exchange student from Norway their family hosted years ago.
She hopes in addition to learning about the world, the children are learning that it is possible for someone like them, who went to school in Tipton, to travel the world and achieve their dreams.
“You can set your goals, you can dream big, these things do happen.”
Danielle Rush may be reached at (765) 454-8585 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
TIPTON — Where in the world is Jessica Day?
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