Learning geography is expected in sixth grade, but learning geography by following a world cruise being shared by the teacher’s daughter is an unusual opportunity to find out about the world with more than maps and globes.

Students at Corry Area Middle School in Pennsylvania have the opportunity to follow the world cruise of their teacher’s daughter, Carilyn White, as she shares her findings with her mother’s classes.  White’s mother is social studies teacher Diane White. She is cruising around the world in a Semester at Sea program, part of her studies at Mercyhurst University.

Ghana was the first port.

“She saw a place in Ghana where slaves used to be stuffed into a room half the size of our classroom,” said 11 year old Peyton Earls. “The people who were still alive would be sent overseas to be slaves.”

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In a weekly email to the sixth graders, Carilyn told of the sights at the first African port in Ghana.  “There are goats, chickens and pigs roaming freely everywhere,” she said. “There were mounds of garbage and trash that littered every square foot of the ground.” She added that the people are very friendly and have only 14 first names, the male and female versions of the days of the week.

“The Ghanaians name their children based on the day … they were born,” she said.

Sharing her daughter’s emailed letters on a white board, Diane White supplements the lessons. The class has been thrilled by Carilyn’s experiences, especially bungee jumping, sky diving, and cage diving among sharks in South Africa.  They also marvel at the different foods she has tried, including octopus tentacles.

“Around the World in 108 Days” brings geography alive, says White. “They gain a global awareness and know there’s so much more to the world.”

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