Grade: Middle
Subject: Geography

#3226. Extraordinary Explorers

Geography, level: Middle
Posted Wed Oct 6 08:11:49 PDT 2004 by Steve O'Keefe (
Ripley's Freaky Fridays, New Orleans
Materials Required: Computer and Internet access
Activity Time: 1-hour chats
Concepts Taught: Learning about amzing feats by famous explorers and travellers.

Teacher's Guide: Week #1
Friday, September 17, 2004
Chat at ePALS from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time
Chatroom URL:
Log-in with your ePALS username and password
Chatroom Name: ClassroomCompanion
Chatroom Password: CHATNOW

Extraordinary Explorers


Robert Ripley began work on "Ripley's Believe It or Not!"
in 1918, while working as a sports columnist for the New
York Globe. His passion was to travel, and by 1940 he had
visited more than 200 countries.

During one trip, Ripley crossed two continents, covering
24,000 miles (39,000 km), on a trip from New York to Cairo
and back. That trip included traveling 15,000 miles (24,000
km) by air, 8,000 miles (13,000 km) by ship, and more than
1,000 miles (1,600 km) by camel, horse, and donkey!

Wherever he went, Ripley searched for bizarre stories and
incredible human feats to include in his syndicated columns
and radio and television broadcasts. His writings have been
translated into 17 languages with a readership of 80
million people.

Robert Ripley died in 1949 after collapsing on the set of
his weekly television show. His legacy is Ripley
Entertainment, which includes a television show, "Believe
it or Not!" museums, haunted houses, wax museums, miniature
golf courses, the world's oldest syndicated daily cartoon,
two world-class aquariums, books, and a team of researchers
who continue to scour the world for incredible phenomena.


1. The first man in outer space was what nationality?
A) American B) Russian C) Chinese D) African

Answer: B. Russian Yuri Gagarin was the first man in outer
space. He made his famous flight aboard the vessel Vostok 1
on April 12, 1961, circling the Earth in 89 minutes. He
didn't fly on an empty stomach: for breakfast, he had
chopped meat, blackberry jam, and coffee.

2. The first woman in outer space was what nationality?
A) American B) Russian C) Chinese D) African

Answer: B. Russian Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was
the first woman in outer space. A former tire factory
worker who took up parachuting, she made her historic
flight on June 16, 1963, aboard the Vostok 5. The first
American woman in outer space was astronaut Sally Ride, who
first left the Earth in 1983.

3. True or False: Famous aviator Charles Lindberg had a
fear of heights?

Answer: True! Lindberg was the first person to fly solo
over the Atlantic Ocean. He had a slight fear of heights,
known as "acrophobia." He completed the flight from New
York to Paris in May of 1927. The flight lasted 30 hours
and 30 minutes. He took only four sandwiches with him for

4. How many times did explorer Ernest Shackleton attempt to
cross Antarctica?
A) two times B) three times C) four times D) twenty-
five times

Answer: C. Shackleton was involved in four expeditions
across the South Pole. He never completed the crossing,
though he is credited with many important discoveries. He
died in his last attempt to cross Antarctica in 1922. The
first successful crossing of Antarctica was completed in
1958 by Edmund Hillary and Vivian Fuchs.

5. True or False: Christopher Columbus might never have
been credited for discovering America were it not for a
lunar eclipse.

Answer: True. Hostile natives threatened to block his
return to Europe until Columbus predicted the Moon would
"lose her light," knowing an eclipse was due. Incidentally,
Columbus claimed to see a UFO the night before he
discovered the New World.


Tell us about some place that you have explored. It might
be in your house, your yard, your neighborhood, your

Have you found anything unusual while exploring? What did
you find?

Have you ever given a name to something you found or a
place you explored? What did you call it?

What's the longest distance you have traveled in one trip?

How many different types of transportation have you used in
one day? What were they?

How have you overcome obstacles that could have blocked you
from reaching a destination or goal?

Copyright (c)2004 by Ripley Entertainment. All rights