Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Mystery of What Happened to Amelia Earhart. Might Clues be Shedding Light on the Mystery?

I have always been fascinated in Amelia Earhart. Earhart was one of the first biographies I remember reading in grade school. She was such a role model as I was growing up. She showed that a woman was capable of doing anything she set her mind to doing!

Over the years I have been following Richard Gillespie’s TIGHAR(International Group for Historic Aircraft)attempts to discover what happened to Earhart and her co pilot, Fred Noonan, when they disappeared somewhere over the Pacific in an attempt to circumnavigate the earth. Gillespie believes he has solved the mystery. He says Earhart and Noonan were forced to land on a remote island in the Pacific called Nikumaroro, as they didn’t have enough fuel to make it to the Howland Islands.  A number of artifacts have been found on the uninhabited island including a size 9 shoe of the style worn by Amelia Earhart. Additionally, an aluminum navigator’s book case was discovered, similar to that which would have been on the type of plane(Electra) flown by Earhart.  An empty jar similar to a Freckle Ointment which Earhart used, a zipper from a flight jacket, a woman’s mirror and fragments from a plane,have also been unearthed. The U.S. Navy that conducted a search for the missing aviator and her navigator recorded that campfires were spotted on the island but no search was done as it was thought to be made by natives living on the island. Now, Amelia Earhart is once again in the news. Human remains which were found on the island back in the 1940s and thought to be male have been studied and scientists have discovered the remains belong to a woman! Comparing the arm bone to a photograph of Earhart, the humerus is similar in size. The mystery isn’t solved as to what happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan but evidence continues to suggests that they survived a forced landing on the island of Nikumaroro but without food and drinking water, eventually died.

Did You Know?
Earhart was the first woman passenger to fly across the Atlantic. (1928)
Earhart set an altitude record at the time for female pilots. She flew to a level of 14,000 ft.
Earhart was the woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (1932)
To date, Earhart is the first and only woman to receive the Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross.
A friend of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Earhart convinced Eleanor to take flying lessons!
Earhart was the first woman to fly from California to Hawaii.

1. Who is someone you think is a hero and why?
2. Did you know that 200,000 people submitted an application to be considered to go on a one way trip to Mars (tentatively scheduled for 2024) knowing they will never come back home? Why do you think people would be willing to do this? What would be 7 things you'd pack for such a one-way trip? Do you see a similarity with early sailors during the Age of Discovery?
3. Write a diary pretending to be Amelia Earhart stranded on the island of Nikumaroro. What would you wish to tell people, how are you feeling(especially if you noticed U.S. Navy aircraft flying overhead,etc.

Check out my Reader’s Theater Script on Amelia Earhart: Students will have fun acting out their parts and learning some interesting facts about Amelia Earhart. Comprehension questions, discussion questions and extension activities and links are also listed. The biographical play addresses several common core standards in social studies, speech and listening and language arts.


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