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Archive for September, 2013

Promoting Geography in Schools

Because the earth bulges at the equator, which mountain peak on the earth is farthest from the earth’s center?

Don’t know the answer? Well, 12-year-old Sathwik Karnik from Massachusetts answered correctly at the 25th annual National Geographic Bee on May 22, 2013. Karnik walked away with a $25,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

Photo courtesy National Geographic

GeoBee winner Sathwik Karnik celebrates with family.
Photo courtesy National Geographic

According to National Geographic’s website, the National Geographic Bee, hosted by Alex Trebeck of Jeopardy!,  is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject, and increase public awareness about geography.

According to a 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress report in USA Today, fewer than 1 in 3 U.S. students are proficient in geography. Just 20 percent of high school seniors were found to be proficient or better, compared with 27% of eighth-graders and 21% of fourth-graders.

The GeoBee is one of National Geographic’s ways to help students become more “geo-literate.” Geo-literacy is a term adopted by National Geographic, which describe the understanding of how our world works that all members of modern society require.

To promote geography among students, elementary and middle schools from all across the country participate in Geo Bees at the primary level before the winners move onto primaries in Washington, D.C. The top ten winners at primaries compete in finals, which is filmed and aired on National Geographic Channel.

This year, the top ten finalists were:

  • Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California
  • Pranit Nanda, Colorado
  • Ricky Uppaluri, Georgia
  • Conrad Oberhaus, Illinois
  • Sathwik Karnik, Massachusetts
  • Neha Middela, Michigan
  • Neelam Sandhu, New Hampshire
  • Harish Palani, Oregon
  • Akhil Rekulapelli, Virginia
  • Asha Jain, Wisconsin

National Geographic also hosts the National Geographic World Championship every other year. This year, the championship was in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Out of the eighteen countries that competed in the championship, the United States came out on top.

Think you have what it takes to compete in the National Geographic Bee 2014? Try answering these questions

Glimpse Into Wildlife With Crittercams

Have you ever thought about what goes on in the forest when humans are not around? What about what happens at the bottom of the dark ocean floor? Have you ever even thought about what your pets do when you are not home? Well, now is your chance to find out the answer to all of those questions.

Photo courtesy National Geographic

Photo courtesy National Geographic

Crittercams allow people to get an inside look into the world of animals. A Crittercam is a small video camera that scientists attach to the backs of animals. The cameras are so small that the animals are not disturbed. Once the Crittercam is securely attached to the back of the animal, the animal is released to continue with their usual activities.

The National Geographic Society has been involved with the Crittercam project for decades. According to National Geographic’s website, Crittercams combine video and audio recording with a collection of environmental data such as depth, temperature and acceleration. The purpose of Crittercams is for scientists to study animal behavior without human interference. Crittercams are different than placing cameras in trees or caves because the animal wearing the camera travels into places humans would be unable to set up cameras. Instead, the animal becomes the videographer, taking us into their most intimate habitats.

The video below explains how the Crittercam works on lions in Africa.

Another live streaming video project is WildCam. WildCam is another National Geographic funded program. However, instead of being attached to animals’ bodies, the WildCam uses the internet to connect people from all over the world with Earth’s last remaining wild places. National Geographic created WildCam as a conservation initiative to raise money to protect wildlife and their homes.

While Crittercams and WildCams are mainly for scientific research and innovation, other live video feeds provide entertainment and education to National Geographic’s younger audience. On the Nat Geo Kids website, kids can choose from a number of different live feeds that range from bees to panda bears. These live video feeds allow kids to see what their favorite animals are like in their natural habitats.  By clicking video on Nat Geo Kid’s website, users are brought to an outside page, explore.com. The video below is explore.com’s live footage of Alaskan bears.

Combining technology and conservation initiatives allows National Geographic and National Geographic Kids to educate and entertain fans.

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