Given the addictive ability to find one’s house/school/favorite donut shop in Google Earth, it was only a matter of time before the equally addictive cartoon character Waldo popped up in the virtual globe. Of course, like most good bloggers, I was tipped off by the excellent Google Earth Blog about a competition that launched today by Borders Books UK and the Daily Telegraph. The Where’s Wally competition (he made the much better change to Waldo when crossing over to the States), involves downloading a “Where’s Wally” layer to use in Google Earth.
If you’ve never used layers before, it’s fairly simple. Go to the Borders UK Where’s Wally site, download the layer, which should automagically open up in Google Earth, and then follow the daily clues on the same website to find Wally. Since we’ve reached the end of day one, and most people in the U.S. likely to be focused on the elections tomorrow, not to mention the fact that it’s a UK contest, I thought it would still make a fun way to teach about latitude and longitude. Each clue leads you to where Wally is hiding, and the website requires you to enter his location via his latitude and longitude. You need all 7 locations for the contest, but all you need to make the activity work for your class is a copy of one of the Where’s Waldo books.
Breaking out the book during an introductory lesson on latitude and longitude could be a great hook. After searching for him in the book for awhile, you could load up the layer in Google Earth, and then use the clues to practice using latitude and longitude to express locations on the globe. If you wanted to take it a step further, you could even take the students to a lab and have them create their own hidden locations for Waldo, write some clues, and then test each other. Perhaps even create their own “Where’s Waldo” wiki, complete with clues and locations from around the world.
Thanks to Frank Taylor of the Google Earth Blog for this fun find!
Image – http://www.borders.co.uk/images/competitions/wally/wallysliced_08.jpg