Teacher on 2 Wheels

I’m a teacher at heart and I love working with kids to explore their interests, insights, and inquiries.  I’ve got a lot of time to think on my bike and I can’t help but use my trip and biking experiences to connect with kids in the classroom to promote learning and problem solving in a real life context.  I hope you can use some of the material I post here weekly in your classroom to connect what happens at school to our everyday lives.




From June 20th to September 1, 2014 The Teacher on Two Wheels is on Summer Vacation.  Please use my resources from the past 44 weeks over the summer holiday to keep you thinking!


Week 43 & 44
Problem of the Week
When it comes to the temperature outside, I’ve really experienced it all.  One day I was freezing cold in The Sequoia’s and the next I was burning up pedaling through Death Valley.  Choose a location, maybe your home town, or another place in the world that interests you and make a table plotting the average high and low temperatures throughout the year.  Then use this table to make a graph.  Which graph would represent the data the best?  Do you need to color code your information?



Inquiry & Investigation
How much do you actually know about a bicycle? I’m constantly learning new things about my bike from how it works to the different parts and how to make repairs.  Draw a bike, maybe your bike at home if you have one and label the different parts.  How many parts can you label?  Use the computer or a book to label additional parts.  If you want a challenge, write a short sentence describing the function of each part of the bike.


Writing Prompt
Narrative (Ideas & Organization): Summer vacation is right around the corner and I’m sure you are getting excited to be on vacation.  Think back to your previous summer holidays.  Is there are particular memory that sticks out in your mind, maybe a trip, summer camp, or place you visited that was your favorite.  Write about a special memory you have from the summer and think about how you could connect it with what you are looking forward to this summer.  


Week 41 & 42
Problem of the Week
At the start of the trip, I estimated I would do about 30,000 kilometers.  So far I’ve done about 23,000 kilometers and I’ve been on the road for almost 10 months, which means I have 4 to go.  How many kilometers do you think I will do total.  Use the distance I’ve traveled so far and the time I’ve been cycling to make a prediction.  Show your work so that your logic behind your prediction can be understood.



Inquiry & Investigation
I’ve seen a lot of different landscapes recently in all the National Parks in Arizona and Utah.  The most interesting to me are what is called a “Slot Canyon”.  Have a look at the photo below.  You would never know that there is a colorful world of swirls inside these walls.  How is a slot canyon different than a normal canyon, like The Grand Canyon? What makes a slot canyon so unique?  Do you know of any other slot canyons in the world?

Inside the canyon
The canyon from above

Writing Prompt
Expository(Word choice & Organization): This week has been truly delightful for me staying with my hosts because I’ve had some time to cook and make meals for myself and my hosts.  I made my favorite Brownie recipe and also blueberry pancakes.  Do you have a favorite recipe that you’d like to share?  Maybe it is your own creation and actually not a recipe that you follow.  Take some time to think about the different food items you need for the recipe.  Make a list of ingredients, then list the steps you should follow in order to make it.


Week 39 & 40

Problem of the Week
I went to Las Vegas this week on my bike.  It is an unusual place in the world and known for casinos where people gamble.  Gambling is a risky hobby because the probability of winning is very low.  If your odds of winning any money are 1 out of 8 when you play a slot machine, then how many times might you “hit the jack pot” if you play 56 rounds.

The Colorado Rive at the bottom of The Grand Canyon

Inquiry & Investigation
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been following the Colorado River through different landscapes and states.  To me, it seems to be a very long river, but I don’t know how it compares in length to other rivers in the world.  Find out what the 5 longest rivers are in the world and where they are?  Are any of them in danger due to the changing climate? If so, how would these changes affect the people who depend on this river as a water supply?

Writing Prompt
Expressions (Word Choice & Conventions): In this week’s POW I use the idiom “Hit the Jackpot”.  I didn’t literally take my hand and hit the jackpot, it is an expression that means I got lucky and was successful and won some money.  Idioms are word combinations that are used which have a different meaning than the literal meanings of each word.  See if you can brainstorm other idioms you might have heard, then think of your own idiom.  Be creative, it can be about anything!



Week 37 & 38
Problem of the Week
This week I celebrated another milestone on my trip this week: 20,00 km (12,500 miles).  I am officially two-thirds of the way through my trip.  How many more kilometers am I intending to ride?  If it took me 8 months to ride 20,000 km, how long should it take me to ride the other third?

Inquiry & Investigation
The famous question for a long time has been: Why is the sky blue?  The different shades of blue I’ve observed in the ocean and seas across the world is what really fascinates me.  What makes the color of the ocean change so drastically from one corner of the world to another? Why are some oceans blue-green and other light blue, and others extremely dark? Can you explain why there are so many different shades of blue in the ocean?

Writing Prompt
Expository (Organization & Ideas): Speaking of two-thirds, the school year is also about two-thirds of the way over and you’ve been working hard.  Have a look through your writing portfolio at all the different pieces you’ve published this year.   Think about your school year and all that you’ve been learning.  What piece makes you the most proud?  Why?  How have you grown as a writer?  Write a short paragraph reflecting on this writing piece.  Do you feel as though you could still improve in a certain area of your writing?  Explain.


Week 35 & 36
Problem of the Week
Fifty states make up The United States; 48 of them are contiguous.  I’m planning on traveling to 10 of them.  What fractions of the contiguous states will I visit?  What fraction of all The United States won’t I visit?  Remember to reduce your fraction.

Inquiry & Investigation
Just like Australia, The United States is a massive country.  In fact I’ll be cycling around this country for the next 5 months and I will only see 12 or 13 of the 50 states.  Test your geography of the United States.  List as many states as you can, first without looking at a map, then find a map to reference and see if you add to your list.  How is your country divided? Do you have states or provinces? What is the difference between a state and a province?

Writing Prompt
Poetry (Word Choice & Organization) I was born and raised in The United States.  It is where I’m from, but for the last 10 years, Barcelona, Spain has been my home.  For this poem brainstorm adjectives and words from your five senses to describe your house in a In five senses poems.  You will be describing your home with one of the senses on each line.  Use the following template to help organize your poem.


Line 1:   Tell the color of the subject
Line 2:   Tell what it sounds like
Line 3:   Tell what it tastes like
Line 4:   Tell what it smells like
Line 5:   Tell what it looks like
Line 6:   Tell how it makes you feel

Week 33 & 34
Problem of the Week

I’m wrapping up my route in Oceania. Look at the chart below and calculate the distances I have cycled in each continent. From the 3 continents I’ve cycled so far, where have I cycled the most? From the end of April to the middle of October I will be in North America. Estimate how many kilometers you think I will cycle in the 6 months I’ll be there.  



Continent               Total Trip KM             Total KM in Continent

Europe                      5,612                         5,612

Asia                       13,827

Oceania                    19,600

North America              32,000


Inquiry & Investigation

Use the calculations from the Problem of the Week to make a graph representing the total distance cycled in each continent. Think about the different types of graph you’ve learned about and chose the one that would best represent the data. Make sure to include your estimated distance for my North American route. 


Writing Prompt


Expository (Ideas & Organization): After graphing the data from the Problem of the Week write a short summary stating your conclusions from the data. What does the graph tell you? Why does this type of graph best suit the data? Can you make any predictions?

Week 31 & 32
Problem of the Week

It makes me sad to say that 1 out of every 3 animals that I see in Australia is dead, on the side of the road. If I see 18 animals in one day, how many of those animals are alive? What fraction of the total are dead (reduce this fraction if possible)?


Inquiry & Investigation
Continuing with the topic of animals and wildlife in Australia, research some of the animals that wonder the forests of this vast country. What are some of the animals that you think I might be seeing alongside the road? Why do you think there is so much road kill among these animals?

A dead baby tasmanian devil on the West Coast of Tasmania


Writing Prompt
Persuasive (ideas & word choice): Speaking of animals, a lot of students I’ve had in the past love to care for animals as pets. Would you like a certain type of pet? Is it hard to convince your parents to let you have a pet? Write a letter to your parents convincing them to let you have a pet. Think of at least three strong reasons for letting you have a pet and details to support each reason. If you want an extra challenge, think of a counterargument to show that you recognize both sides of the argument, but that you still feel strongly about having a pet. You never know, you might actually end up sending this letter to your parents!

Week 29 & 30
Problem of the Week

I’ve been roughly recording the money I spend on my trip. 40% of my expenses are on food, 30% on accommodation, 20% on flights, and the remaining 10% on gear. Make a pie chart to illustrate my spending. If I’ve spent 12,000 dollars on my trip so far, how much money has been spent on each of the 4 categories? 


Inquiry & Investigation 
Quite frequently students ask me how long I stay in a particular country. The truth it, it really varies, depending on the size of the country and what I want to see. For instance I was in Monaco for about an hour, but I will be in The United States for almost six months. First predict the 5 smallest and largest countries in the world, according to landmass (square kilometers). Then check your predictions, researching this information. Make a list of the 5 smallest countries in the world, and another list recording the five largest countries. 

Writing Prompt 
Persuasive (Ideas & Word Choice): Ever since I moved to Barcelona, I’ve thought of myself as a city person. I enjoy living in a city, but last week, while visiting my friends on a farm, I suddenly could see myself living on a farm. Where do you prefer to live, in the country or on a farm in a small town or in a city, an urban center? Convince your audience of your opinion. Gather as much information and evidence to support your opinion and help make your argument stronger. Suggestion: You might want to read the Aesop’s fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, or the Frog and Toad story, Country Frog, City Frog.



 


Week 27 & 28

Problem of the Week

I had to change my chain at the end of my ride in New Zealand, when I had just reached 16,800 kilometers. The bike mechanics told me a new chain should last me about 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers. If this is true, at what kilometer should I start to look at my chain to see if I should replace it again? Challenge: If I ride 100 kilometers a day, how often should I be changing my chain?


Inquiry & Investigation
I arrived in Australia and all of a sudden I’ve been exposed to a variety of different wildlife and animals. I’ve seen a koala, kangaroo, porcupine, wallabies. I’ve also seen caution signs for a platypus. Choose one of these animals and investigate some interesting facts about them. What is their habitat? Do they have any predators? Can you find these animals in other parts of the world?

Writing Prompt
Letter Writing (Voice & Ideas): Ever since I took an interest in hiking and outdoor activities, I have wanted to visit New Zealand. It is an outdoor sport paradise. Is there somewhere you dream of visiting? Write me a letter and tell me about where you would like to travel. What is it about that place that interests you? What would you do there? Who would you travel with and how long would you want to stay? Explain.

Week 25 & 26

Problem of the Week

I’ve recently started purchasing powdered milk in New Zealand because the cartons are so big and I can’t drink them entirely at one meal. A 500 ml. jug of fresh milk costs around 3 New Zealand Dollars. A bag of powered milk costs 7 New Zealand Dollars, but I can make 4 litres of liquid milk. Which is a better deal, a bag of powder milk or a jug half-litre jug of fresh milk. Explain your reasoning. 



Inquiry & Investigation
I’m sad to be leaving New Zealand. It is a beautiful country and somewhere I would like to return to explore more. However, I must say that the Sand Flys are quite annoying. They swarm you the minute you are off your bike and the bites itch worse than a mosquito. However, the people from New Zealand say they play an important role in the country’s ecosystem. Research the New Zealand Sand Fly and how this country actually benefits from this pesky insect. 

Writing Prompt
Story Writing (Ideas & Organization) As mentioned in this week’s Inquiry & Investigation question, the New Zealand Sand Fly is what I will miss the least when I leave the country. Legend has it that the goddess who created New Zealand thought that it was such a beautiful place to be, she didn’t want anyone staying around too long or ruining it’s natural beauty. Therefore, she created the Sand Fly to deter people from hanging around too long. Think of your own creation myth for why a certain animal exists or pesters humans. For instance, why do mosquitoes buzz in ears or bite? Why does a stink bug let off an awful smelling odor? 

I celebrated 15,000 kilometers this week

Week 23 & 24

Problem of the Week

In math, there are lots of ways to express and represent numbers. For instance, the number 5 can be represented using 5 one base 10 blocks, or with a mathematical expression 7-2. Do the same for the number 15,000. What are some different ways to represent this number?



Inquiry & Investigation
The theme for this week’s classroom activities is the number 15,000. It is the distance milestone that I have recently reached on The Loong Way Home. Research and find out any statistics or data that involves this 5-digit number. Is it the distance between two cities, the number of people who fit into a certain stadium? Be creative! 

Writing Prompt
Expository (Organization & Ideas): Riding 15,000 kilometers in 6 months was a huge accomplishment for myself.  I usually ride that many kilometers in a year or more.  Think of an accomplishment in your life that makes you proud. How were you able to achieve this goal? How did you feel during and after you succeeded?  Explain.   

Week 21 & 22
Problem of the Week
My SE Asia route has come to an end.  I have cycled 14, 253 kilometers in 167 days.  I visited a total of 22 countries so far, 8 of those in Asia.   According to my statistics, I sleep in hotels the most, take more warm showers than cold, and have had great luck with sunny days of biking.  Have a look at my statistics http://www.theloongwayhome.com/#!statistics/c1g09 and choose two tables to graph.  What type of graph best fits the data?  Carefully label your x and y-axis don’t forget to add color.

Chinese New Year decorations in Singapore

Inquiry & Investigation
The further south I went in SE Asia, the more decorations for the Chinese New Year I saw.  I arrived in Singapore on the 31st of January, Chinese New Year.  This year, 2013, is the year of the Horse.  People born in the year of the horse are known to energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.  What is your Chinese Zodiac? Research your zodiac and the characteristics that go along with the animal.

Writing Prompt
Persuasive (Ideas & Voice): I had a fabulous time riding through SE Asia.  The food is delicious and cheap, the weather was beautiful, and the people were incredibly friendly.   It is hard for me to choose my favorite country, because I enjoyed them all for different reasons. However, I would argue that Vietnam was the best country in SE Asia for cycling.  Think about the places you’ve been, whether it be a park or somewhere special close to your home, or somewhere in another country, and convince me to visit to ride my bike. Why would I like it?  What could I see?  Are there places to eat and sleep close by?  Who knows, maybe I’ll be so convinced I might just have to come and ride my bike!


Week 19 & 20
Problem of the Week
On the restaurant menu’s in Malaysia there is always a variety of food representing the cultural diversity of the country.  1/4 of the menu is made up of drinks, 6/16 of the menu is made up of rice dishes, and 3/16 of the menu usually has their noodle selection.   The remaining dishes are usually fish options.  What fraction of a Malay menu has fish options?

A typical menu in Malaysia

Inquiry & Investigation
Recently I visited the 5th graders at The Fairview International School in Penang, Malaysia.  They were studying all about energy and so we looked out the energy that a cyclists needs on a bike and also how the bike works in order to move and produce energy.  Research the bike as a simple machine and how the wheels, pedals, brakes, and gears work together to make it move. How can a bike produce energy?  What energy goes into a bike and what energy is released by pedaling?

Writing Prompt

Expository (Organization & Word Choice): Now that you’ve researched how the bike works as a simple machine, write about it.  Organize your ideas in order to briefly explain how this simple machine works.  Make sure you mention the energy that goes into a bike and what energy is released by pedaling?  Although it should be an informative paragraph, carefully choose your words to make it entertaining and catch your reader’s attention.


Week 17 & 18

Problem of the Week

Before coming to SE Asia, I had never tried jackfruit before. I absolutely love it! However, many people don’t because it is such a sticky fruit and you have to work hard at getting the edible fruit out of all the fibers on the inside of a thick bumpy skin. It is a quite expensive fruit in Cambodia and Laos, but cheaper in Vietnam. A kilo of jackfruit is about 40 cents in Vietnam and up to 3 dollars in Cambodia. Out of a kilo, only about 40% of the fruit is edible. What fraction of the jack fruit is edible (Reduce your fraction to the simplest form). 



Challenge: What is the real price of only the edible parts of the jack fruit in Cambodia? 








Inquiry & Investigation
Vendors sell anything you can imagine on a motorbike. People in Southeast Asia convert their motorbike into a taxi, coffee drink stand, Barbeque, animal transporter, juice maker, and ice cream vendor. If you were to convert a motor scooter into a stand or stall to sell something, what would it look like? What would you sell? (Remember the motor scooter still works and drives perfectly.)



Writing Prompt
Expository/List (Ideas): About a week ago, people all over the world celebrated the New Year. During this time of the year, people often reflect on the past year and think about goals and qualities they would like to improve for the coming year. Make a like of your most memorable moments in 2013. What were you most proud of during the past year? What are some goals or “resolutions” that you would like to work on for 2014. How do you plan to achieve them?


Week 15 & 16
Problem of the Week

Laos has been a delightful surprise for cycling. There are great roads and few cars using them. I’ve been noticing the cars that pass me and it seems there are two popular car companies in Laos. Yesterday, I observed twenty cars that passed me. Of those twenty cars, 10 were Hyundai, 8 were Toyota, and 2 were other companies. What fraction of the cars that passed me were Hyundai? Toyota? And other companies? Write your fraction in simplest form.

Challenge: According to my observations, if 100 cars passed me, how many would be Toyota?

Inquiry & Investigation

I’m loving all the fresh delicious, and exotic fruit in South East Asia. I find there to be more variety than in Europe. Yet much of it remains a mystery as to the name, where it is grown, and what sort of special and/or nutritional qualities it has. Here are a few pictures of some of my favorite fruit here. Can you…












  1. Identify the fruit
  2. Describe where it grows or what special conditions it might need
  3. Share an interesting fact you learned about it while researching


Writing Prompt
Personal Narrative (Ideas & Organization): After being on my own for so long in the mountains of Northern Vietnam and Laos, I’m back in bigger towns. I’ve encountered a lot of people who have helped me recently and made my trip more enjoyable and memorable. When is the last time you helped someone? Describe the situation and context. Who did you help and how do you know they appreciated your gesture? How did it make you (and them) feel?


Week 13 & 14
Problem of the Week
I’ve been doing a lot of climbing ever since I hit the mountains in Northern Vietnam.  Use my elevation gain data below to first round the elevation gain to the nearest ten, then use the rounded value to graph the different elevation gains.  Which type of graph would make the most sense?  What will be your x and y values.

 

Date 
Actual
Elevation Gain (m)
Rounded Elevation Gain (m)
November 30
1,491

November 29
1,469

November 28
1,425

November 27
1,462

November 26
1,704

November 25
1,566

November 24
1,840

November 23
1,216



Inquiry & Investigation
On my trip, I’ve rode through, around, and near may types of bodies of water.  Research the different bodies of water and make a small illustration to help you remember each. Which would be the most challenging for a cyclist?

Bodies of Water: ocean, sea, bay, isthmus, delta, river, gulf, peninsula, lake

H'mong tribe selling their goods in Bac Ha, Vietnam

Writing Prompts

Today I visited the Bac Ha market in Vietnam.  It is famous for the H’mong tribes who come from their surrounding villages to sell handmade goods, food, and produce.  Think about something you do really well, whether it be something you make, a talent that you have, or a service that you could provide. Write a short paragraph selling what ever it is that you do.  Keep in mind your audience, who would buy this? Why do they need or have to have your product?  What makes it special?  How would it improve their life?  


Week 11 & 12
Problem of the Week
I’m blown away by how cheap things cost in China, especially food!  Use the exchange rate of 1 Euro to 8 Chinese Yuan Renminbi to figure out some of the prices of the items I buy on a daily basis.

Item                         
Price (Euro)
Price(Chinese Yuan)
Water

3
Stir Fry Lunch

6
Big Bowl of Soup

4
Hotel Room

80


Inquiry & Investigation
I ended up flying to Hong Kong from Turkey rather than riding my bike.  Look at a globe and come up with a route that I could have taken if I would have been on my bike from Turkey to Hong Kong.  Through which countries would I have passed?  What major landmarks or sights did I miss by flying on a plane?

Writing Prompt
Persuasive (Ideas & Word Choice): Since I arrived in Asia, I’ve had a really difficult time communicating with people.  In China, very few people speak English in the rural areas that I have visited and I don’t speak Chinese.  I’m constantly reminded why it is important to speak a second or third language.  Do you agree with me?  Persuade me of your opinion about learning a second language and use examples and facts to back up your opinion.


Week 10
Problem of the Week
On the road, I get a lot of cars honking at me. Usually, about 2 out of every 8 cars that pass me, honk. In Turkey, however, even more cars honk, about 4 out of every 6. If 40 cars pass me, how many honks would that be typically? If I were riding in Turkey, how many cars of those 40 would honk?

Inquiry & Investigation
Turkey is a unique country because part of it lies in the continent of Asia and the other part is in Europe. I entered from Greece and road through the European part as well as the Asian side. Turkey’s strategic geographical location has been significant throughout history. Look at a map and determine how many countries border Turkey. Which of those are in Europe and which belong to Asia? What countries border where you live?

Writing Prompt
Persuasive (Word Choice & Voice) I’ve been in contact with a lot of schools to plan my upcoming visits as I head to Asia. Surprisingly I’ve had a lot of invitations to visit schools both on my route and in other places. I wish I could visit them all but I just can’t pedal that much, at least not this year! Write me a letter to convince me to visit your school? Why do you want me to come? What makes your school special or different than others? Who knows, you might just convince me after all!


Week 9
Problem of the Week
I’ve been through 12 different European countries and drank a lot of coffee out at restaurants and cafes! What can I say, I like a warm drink in the morning! Have a look at the table on my statistics page on my website http://www.theloongwayhome.com/#!statistics/c1g09 and put the price of coffee in order from cheapest to most expensive.

Inquiry & Investigation
I recently update the total kilometers I plan to ride during The Loong Way Home. I now think that I will ride approximately 30,000 kilometers in a total of 14 months. I’m curious if this is more or less than the distance around the Earth? If my total kilometers went in a straight line, would they be more or less than the Earth’s circumference?

Writing Prompt
Expository (Ideas & Voice) Last week I had a lot of difficult riding, probably my hardest week of my entire trip. I had some long days both in distance and hours, not to mention there were a lot of hills. Now I can look back now and be proud of what I accomplished, but in the moment it was hard. What is one of the hardest things you’ve done in your life? Were you able to make it through this difficult moment? How? Explain this experience trying to make the reader empathize.

Week 8
Problem of the Week
It’s my birthday this week, in fact today, Monday the 14th. Here’s a number sense riddle to try and guess my age.

It’s a two digit number. The digit in the tens place is smaller than the digit in the ones place. The sum of the digits is an odd number. The ones digit is an even number. The product of my digits is 12. How old am I? 

Inquiry & Investigation
I was born in 1979. During this year, some important historical events include McDonald’s introducing the Happy Meal, the Iranian hostage crisis, and the One Child Policy in China was introduced. What year were you born? Research some important historical events that occurred during this year.

Writing Prompt
Although you might not think of it as a writing prompt, timelines are a visual and written form of communicating information. Make a timeline of your life, including any major events that have occurred in your life from birth to present. Events that you might want to include are moving to a different school or country, starting school, loosing your first tooth, the birth of a brother or sister, and interesting trips. Next week you will use this timeline for a writing prompt.

Week 7
Problem of the Week
I’ve realized that in order to pedal 100 km a day, one of the ways to take care of myself is resting plenty at night.  I need at least 8 hours of sleep a day.  If I wake up at 6:30 in the morning, what time do I need to be in bed in order to get eight hours of sleep?

Inquiry & Investigation
In 1984, Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics.  There are still many signs of the Olympics around the city today.  Research the cities after Sarajevo that have hosted the Winter Olympics.  Where will the Winter Olympics be held in 2014?

Writing Prompt
Poetry Writing: Haiku (Writing Trait: Word Choice) Haiku are short poems that use adjectives and sensory words to express a feeling or describe and image.  They are often inspired by nature and were originally developed by Japanese poets.  When taught to students in school, they follow the rules of being 3 phrases, made up of 5 syllables, 7 syllables, and 5 syllables.  Can you write a Haiku poem about the season autumn?

Week 6
Problem of the Week
This weekend grape picking, I was told the small vineyard had about 600 kg of grapes.  From the 600 kg of grapes, they could make 400L of wine.  If we only picked half of the grapes on the vineyard, how much wine could we make?  Challenge: How many kilograms of grapes would they need to make 1000L of wine?



Inquiry & Investigation
I just crossed the border into Bosnia & Herzegovina.  It is one of the countries in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.  On my trip I have passed through 2 other countries that used to form part of Yugoslavia? Can you name them? What other countries were once parts of the former Republic of Yugoslavia?

Writing Prompt
Letter Writing (Writing Traits: Organization & Conventions) Use the list of questions from week 5 to help prepare a letter to a pen pal in another country.  First introduce yourself and then find out information about them.  Don’t forget the 5 components of a friendly letter.

Week 5
Problem of the Week
In Slovenia, the kilometer markers on the roads are different. It is hard to tell total kilometers because they only record distances starting from the last village you passed. Therefore I’m constantly adding and subtracting numbers in my head as I ride. Today I went from Kranj to Skofja Loka, and then to Ljubjana. I calculated about 35 km total. If there are 11 km from Kranj to Skofja Loka, how many km are there from Skofja Loka to Ljubjana?

Inquiry & Investigation
This week I’ve been visiting a lot of school and trying to figure out how to make my way around cities from where I stay to the school. It isn’t always easy to find your way around a city. Draw a map of your city or town and show the route to get from your house to school.



Writing Prompt
Letter Writing (Writing Trait:Ideas) This past week while visiting the Udine International School, their students gave me letters to give to other students at different schools around the world. In their letters they asked the students a handful of questions. Choose a country and make a list of questions you would ask another student at a school in that country. (This is a brainstorm activity for next week’s writing prompt!)



Week 4
Problem of the Week
In France, Ms. Melissa paid about 2,40 € for a double scoop ice cream cone. When she got to Italy, the land of gelato, a double scoop of ice cream was normally 1,50€. How much cheaper is ice cream in Italy then France? 

Inquiry & Investigation
Big cities aren't fun on a bike because of the traffic, complicated roads, sprawling development. Arriving and navigating Milan was a little stressful on a bike, similar to riding through Genoa.  I'm wondering what are the 3 largest cities in Italy? What are the 3 largest cities in your country. Guess first, then compare your list to a friend, and then do your research.  

Writing Prompt
Expository Writing: Research Report (Writing Trait: Ideas & Organization) There are many fascinating mountains in the world. Mt. Everest and Mt. Fuji in Asia, Mt. Kilamanjaro in Africa, Mt. Blanc in Europe, and Mt. McKinnley in North America. Choose a mountain to reaserch. Where is it located and what is so special about this mountain? Describe it’s characteristics. How was it formed? Is it a volcano? Inform your readers as much as you can about this mountain.



Week 3
Problem of the Week
When planning her route, Ms. Melissa estimated riding about 80 kilometers a day. Every sixth day is a rest day. About how many kilometers can Ms. Melissa ride in a week? In a month? Challenge: How many kilometers does Ms. Melissa plan to ride by the end of her 14 months?

Inquiry & Investigation
This week I’m cycling in the Dolomites. They are a mountain range in the Northern part of Italy, close to the Austrian border. They look dramatically different than other mountain ranges in Europe because they shoot straight up and are considerably vertical rather than cone-shaped or rolling. Why is this? How and when were the Dolomites formed? How does this mountain range compare to the mountains in your region?

Writing Prompt
Expository Writing (Writing Trait: Voice & Ideas): In school you are always learning about ways to save the Earth. We learn about recycling, conserving water and electricity, and pollution. How can riding your bike help save the Earth? Research and describe the benefits of riding your bike vs. riding in a car.


Week 2

Problem of the Week
Ms. Melissa has 2 different bike shorts, one short and the other long. She also has four different cycling tops, 2 tank tops, green and blue, and 2 short sleeve shirts, pink and purple. Everyday she wears the same shoes. How many different cycling outfits can Ms. Melissa wear? Explain your thinking with a drawing or written explanation.

Inquiry & Investigation
When we think of Italy, pasta and pizza are usually the first things that come to our mind, foods most everyone loves to eat!  As I cycled through the north central part of Italy, I was fascinated by the amount of corn fields.  I also saw tomato crops, grape vines, apple trees, and even kiwi trees.  I’m curious what are the major agricultural crops in Italy?  What are the top agricultural products grown in your native country or region?

Writing Prompt
Descriptive Writing (Writing Trait: Word Choice & Ideas): Do you enjoy riding your bike? Where do you ride? Describe one of your favorite bike rides or most frequent rides you enjoy on your bike.  What makes it stick out in your mind?  Describe what you see and smell or how you feel as your are pedaling.


Week 1
Problem of the Week 
In her first week of cycling, Ms. Melissa recorded the following distances:
Day 1: 107 km
Day 2: 120 km
Day 3: 116 km
Day 4: 144 km
Day 5:  95 km
Day 6:  120 km
Day 7:  98 km

How many total kilometers did Ms. Melissa ride after her first week?
Challenge: If she planned on riding 80 kilometers every day, did she ride more or less kilometers than she has planned?

Inquiry & Investigation 


In Southern France there were an amazing amount of white snails covering the plant and week stems along the side of the highway.  From a distance, they looked like tiny blossoms, but up close you could see hundreds and hundreds of snails stuck to the stems of weeds and stalks.  They also covered the top of street sign posts.  These snails were completely white with a shell no larger than 2 cm in diameter.  Why do you think the snails covered the top of sign posts and plant stems?  

Writing Prompt
Personal Narrative (Writing Trait: Ideas & Organization):  Do you remember when you first learned to ride a bike?  Who helped you learn to ride without training wheels and how did it happen?  Describe how you felt when you could first ride on your own.  Draw a picture or make a timeline to help plan your writing.




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