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Teacher Edition

Week of March 4, 2012

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Well tomorrow is the big day: finally meeting Louie in person! We arrived in St. Louis this morning. And you are all geographical geniuses; St. Louis is in the state of Missouri. The city itself has a population of around 350,000 people, although St. Louis is part of a larger metropolitan area with a large population of nearly 3 million people. The area includes both Missouri and Illinois. It is actually the largest urban area in Missouri. St. Louis is an area of about 66 square miles. The city is built on things called bluffs and terraces . Bluffs are high steep hillsides. They are usually formed by river erosion over a long period of time many years ago. Terraces are flat land (kind of like a table), also up high. So I guess the bluffs are the sides of the hillside, while the terraces are the flat tops or steps on the way up the bluffs. The bluffs and terraces rise about 100-200 feet above the western banks of the Mississippi River. Remember we took a Mississippi river cruise a few months ago? I wonder if we saw St. Louis? I don’t remember.

The area also features low hills and broad, shallow valleys. The land is fertile and has gently rolling prairies . The Missouri River also passes through St. Louis. Both of these large rivers create wide flood plains and cut large valleys .

So today we had the opportunity to explore St. Louis and even visited the Gateway Arch (see our picture). That HUGE arch rises over 630-feet overlooking the Mississippi River. We took a ride to the top. We could feel the wind up there, almost like the arch was blowing in the wind. It was kind of scary and exciting at the same time. Take a look at our pictures of this huge landmark. Don’t miss our map of this bustling city!

     - Geo

The Gateway Arch!

Another shot of the Gateway Arch



Map of St. Louis
Take a look at the map of St. Louis. Can you find the Gateway Arch? Use the map scale to determine approximately how many miles there are between the arch and St. Louis zoo.


Holy Idaho! According to our last message from Louie, we should be meeting up with him in a few hours. I can’t wait to finally meet him. Today we went out and saw more of this city. We traveled on the rail transit. Most of their rail system is at surface level, while some parts are underground (like a subway), and others are on elevated track. The railway covers about 73 miles of track! It is known as one of the finest rail systems in the ENTIRE United States. It also has one of the largest ridership. (I guess that means considering the size of the railway, a lot of people travel on it every day).

The climate here is very unique, since there are no large bodies of water or large mountains to moderate the temperature. It is classified as the humid continental climate and humid subtropical climate . Interestingly, St. Louis experiences cold Arctic air in the winter and hot, humid, tropical air during the summer. The city has four distinct seasons.

Springtime brings the most rainfall and changeable weather ranging from late winter storms to severe storms with large hail, high winds, and even tornadoes . This city has experienced many damaging tornadoes . Fall is typically mild with lower humidity and less rain. I don’t know much about humidity because Phoenix does not have it.

     - Meri

The rail transit in St. Louis. Photo by Matthew Black, licensed under Creative Commons. See full photo credit here.

Inside the train. Photo by Matthew Black, licensed under Creative Commons. See full photo credit here.

The Mississippi river and a beautiful bridge in St. Louis.


Monday Night

On our way to meet Louie, we received an odd text message from him:

Missed my conx flight – running a few hours behind. B there by

Holy Idaho! He never finished his text message. So we wondered how we were going to know when or where to meet him? This was all so strange. And about 15 minutes later, we received another text message from Louie (even stranger).

Who R U? Entering the fish market

This was all getting too weird and a little scary, so we called Uncle GT. He told us to head back to the hotel and stay put until he gave us a call. While we were still on his office phone with him, Uncle GT received a text message from Louie asking him the same question, “Who R U?” So then GT got even more concerned. We are now back in the hotel room waiting to hear from either GT or Louie. Uncle GT is afraid that several things may have happened: Louie may be in trouble and had his phone stolen or maybe he was captured by bad guys who wanted to use his map and geography skills. We just aren’t sure. We will write more when we know what in the world is going on. I hope Louie is OK.

To keep our minds off of the possibilities, Geo has been researching the various sports team in St. Louis. The most popular team seems to be the baseball team. Maybe that is because baseball season starts soon. Do you know the name of the baseball team in St. Louis?

     - Meri

Beautiful St. Louis


Vocabulary Terms:

banks - the land along the edge of a river.

bluffs - high steep hillsides.

humid continental climate - a climate found in the temperate regions marked by variable weather patterns and a large seasonal temperature variance. This climate experiences all four seasons.

humid subtropical climate - a climate with hot, humid summers and cool winters.

metropolitan area - an area with a large population center (a lot of people).

plains - level (or nearly level) treeless countryside.

prairies - large, flat, rolling areas with grassland that is mainly treeless.

river erosion - the gradual removal of rock and other materials from the bed and banks of a river.

terraces - flat land at a high elevation.

tornadoes - violent and dangerous storms producing extreme winds.

valleys - lowlands between mountains or hills

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Standards for this episode:

Understands the characteristics and uses of maps, globes, and other geographical tools and technologies.

Grade 3-5: Knows the basic elements of maps and globes (title, legend, cardinal, scale, grid, meridians, time zones, etc..).

Grade 6-8: Understands concepts such as axis, seasons, rotation, and revolution.

Knows the location of places, geographical features, and patterns of the environment.

Grade 3-5: Knows major physical and human features of places as they are represented on maps and globes. Knows how to read different maps: road, relief, globe, etc..

Grade 3-5: Knows the location of major cities in North America.

Grade 3-5: Knows the approximate location of major continents, mountain ranges, and bodies of water on Earth.

Grade 6-8: Knows the relative location of, size of, and distances between places.

Understands the characteristics and uses of spatial organization of Earth’s surface.

Grade 3-5: Knows different methods to measure data (miles, kilometers, time, etc..).

Understands the concept of regions.

Grade 3-5: Knows the characteristics of a variety of regions (climate, housing, religion, language, etc..).

Understands that culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions.

Grade 6-8: Knows how places and regions serve as cultural symbols (Opera House in Sydney or Tower Bridge in London).

Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth’s surface.

Grade 3-5: Knows how and why people divide Earth's surface into political and/or economic units (e.g., states in the United States and Mexico; provinces in Canada; countries in North and South America; countries linked in cooperative relationships, such as the European Union).

Understands how physical systems affect human systems.

Grade 3-5: Knows natural hazards that occur in the physical environment (floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc..).

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