After reading Sarah's comment from this post, and answering her in an e-mail, I decided to share my answer here with you. We participate in Mystery Class and love it, but we do our graphs a little differently.
I also thought that explaining how to get started with Mystery Class might be helpful. I hope my explanations will be clear enough! Mystery Class started this week, and I am not sure if it's too late to register, but you might enjoy doing it on your own as well...
The first thing you need to do is to print the two different charts. They are both on this page. The first one is the DATA SHEET. You need to have 11 of these (1 for your home location and 1 for each of the 10 mystery locations), then you will need to print the GRAPH. You will also need 11 copies of that one. You could photocopy or just print all of it, that's up to you!
Once you have all these printed, label them 1 to 10 and "home", the charts and the graphs. We like to use some tape and attach the graphs together. If you tape them together on the back and a bit of the sides of the graph, then you won't have trouble when you're coloring.
We also colour-code each location. We then keep those pencils tied with an elastic and with the charts and graphs for the whole duration of Mystery Class.
Below you can see our graph for our Home location. On Monday, we recorded the sunrise and sunset using the Weather Network. In the USA, you could use this site.
Once you have recorded the photoperiod (the amount of daylight) on your data sheet, you can record it on your graph. The numbers on the left side of the graph represent the hours. We colour the night in black and the daylight hours in whatever colour we chose for that location.
After a few weeks, this graph will be a very visual way to determine if the location is in the Northern Hemisphere (gaining daylight) or in the Southern Hemisphere (loosing daylight), along with some other clues. You can see on the photo below. This is the graph showing our home location from last year, the shift half way through shows the Daylight Savings Time:
Every monday, you record your own sunrise/sunset times and calculate the photoperiod on the chart and then graph it.
On Fridays, you can visit the Mystery Class Updates Page or if you signed up, you will receive an e-mail from Journey North with a link giving you the sunrise and sunset information for the 10 mystery classes. You calculate their photoperiod (amount of daylight hours) and you graph it for each location. After only a couple of weeks, you will be able to tell a few facts about these classes, and Journey North will begin sending more clues as well.
Journey North has journal pages that you can print out. These are a great starting point for talking about your discoveries. There is also a treasure of resources on this page, and on the Kids Page, there are many slideshows and more explanations.
If you want to tie in some reading with this activity, you can search for books that talk about the seasons, time zones, and longitude and latitude (here is a Book Sharing Monday about 2).
You can find great links on this post at my friend Carol's blog.
There are many more resources. Mystery Class can be built up into a wonderful learning activity!
Fun home learning book sharing monday family books wordless wednesday nature journey north art wrap-up weekly report Reading nature study holidays photography science geography sketch tuesday canada homeschool report Me pets quilting cooking for our earth DPP Movies outdoor challenge sewing exploring get outdoors Fairy outdoor hour Iditarod birthday challenge math summer celeste journey north 2009 100books Dragon Lego music Princess animals halloween home journey north 2010 lapbook NaNoWriMo author fiesta field trip public school wreck this journal poetry 12 secrets baking birds blogs journey north 2011 spring city curriculum fitness gardening moving black history month bugs earth hour journey north 2012 planning reading my library shutter sisters sled dogs this moment travel unschooling December board games calendar quilt lego quest swap air cadets feeding my family food revolution hockey library recipes what works air show author study award backyard bird count camping dr seuss father's day pirates roald dahl space sports what my children are reading year 5 Ballet DQS6 St Patrick's Day TED talks arnosky basketball biographies eating clean for others geocaching happiness mail medical memory monday orion poems science rendezvous scree-free week 2011 skating spelling winter solstice winterfest youtube 2010 olympics Charlottetown PEI Patricia Polacco Rant appreciation book collecting good deeds helping others hooping hunger games jamie oliver maze nat orchestra peace quilt-along screen-free week snail stamps the next chapter book club video games wilderness wednesday wish wednesday world news writing