Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Googling the Earth With Lucy´s Kids

On Father´s Day weekend I went to Lurín with Lucy and Walter (and Marcos and Lourdes, two other volunteers) to help them with their educational program for kids. They always have a planned lesson for each of the workshops that they teach to the kids and their parents, on themes such as leadership, assertiveness, surviving adolescence, etc. But there´s a two-hour slot with each group of kids called ¨Game Club¨, during which they usually play games that have been donated by volunteers and visitors. (Twister was a very popular one while it lasted, but the floor mat quickly disintegrated because of the rough dirt floor).

So when I visit the group, I usually take charge of Game Club time to teach the kids something new and interesting that they would not otherwise have an opportunity to learn. In the past I´ve taught them Sudoku, some magic tricks, how to make balloon animals, etc. This time I brought my laptop with me and showed them Google Earth. First we talked about satellites and the different purposes they serve. Then we turned on the computer and began our descent into South America, Peru, Lima and then Lurín, with the kids helping me to identify landmarks along the way. They were awed by the fact that they could see their own individual houses, and ¨fly¨ over the dunes that stand nearby. Some noticed that the photographs were several years old, and pointed out changes that had taken place in their neighborhood since they were taken.

Afterwards the kids presented Walter and Marcos and me with a cake that they had baked for us. Later we went to one of the internet cafes down the street and installed Google Earth on two of the computers there so that they could continue to explore.

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