Weekly Challenge

Being a middle school teacher, I have included this section for students, and anyone who wants to interact with us on our journey. We will include ideas to explore, questions to ponder and bits to spark your imagination.

We look forward to reading your thoughts!

Student Weekly Challenge #13:

On the blog, review the pictures under the pictures tab.  Which country would you most like to visit?   Is there a country that we did not visit that you have always dreamed of visiting?

Internet Scavenger Hunt –  Travel

Look up tourist information on the country of your choice.  What are some of the sights that you don’t want to miss?  Look up a brief history of the chosen country.

Questions to contemplate:

Travelers often use brochures to help them decide what to see in a country (If you are unsure what a brochure is, ask your teacher for an example or look on the internet.).  Design a brochure describing the various towns, historical artifacts, art, architecture, and activities that you think a tourist should not miss.  You may make the brochure either on paper or on the computer.  *(see examples below, although yours will be on a country).




Student Weekly Challenge #12:

Watch the video compilation below noticing how the actor John Wayne uses the word pilgrim in the various scenes.

Internet Scavenger Hunt – What is a pilgrim?  

The word “pilgrim” was used in our Welcome to Friendly Spain post, as well as the current post.  Using an online dictionary, look up the formal definition.  What is the origins of the word?  Where else have you heard this word used?

To you, in your own words, what is a pilgrim?

Questions to contemplate:

Do you know anyone who is a pilgrim?  Could you use the word appropriately in everyday language?  Try!

Student Weekly Challenge #11:


Cave drawing from Southern France

Internet Scavenger Hunt

What characterizes Paleolithic man?  Where did he live and how did he survive?
What are the characteristics of Neolithic man?  Where did he live and how was he different than Paleolithic man?

You may want to make a chart to record your findings.

Questions to contemplate:

Look at Google images of several cave drawings, or go to the vwquest.net homepage to see some of the drawings we saw in France.

Why do you think early man chose the subjects he did?  Why did he draw mainly animals rather than other forms of nature like trees and rivers.

What might have been the purpose of the artwork?  Brainstorm ideas.  Your guess is as good as the scientist, since no one knows for sure.

How can cave paintings lead us to a deeper understanding of these early people?


Student Weekly Challenge #10:

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh

As we live in a visual world, looking at another’s perception is interesting.  On our journey, one of the highlights has been seeing famous artwork.

Internet Scavenger Hunt:

An art movement is a specific style of art that was popular over a specific period of time. Read about three of the following art movements.







Pop Art


Question to contemplate:

Paying attention to color and form, which one of the three art movements did you like the best and why?  If you were decorating your own home, which style would you like to display?  Is it the same style that you chose as your favorite?



Which artistic movement does Van Gogh’s Starry Night reflect?

Student Weekly Challenge #9:

This weeks challenge is thought provoking,  Below is a picture of workers reassembling thousands of pieces of broken stained glass from the Reims Cathedral that were shattered during World War I .  Imagine the difficulty of correctly placing thousands of pieces of glass in the correct order so that a 700 year old church window can be repaired.

Photo of workers reassembling stained glass windows after WWI

Photo of workers reassembling stained glass windows after WWI

Follow the link below to try it your see how you do with this difficult task.


Mrs. Amador was able to complete level 3.  Let us know how you do.  Email us at vwquest@yahoo.com



Student Weekly Challenge #8:

Sign at a French gas station during our trip.

Sign at a French gas station during our trip.

Traveling in Europe is educational, fun, and sometimes expensive.  Our greatest expense by far is fuel and road tolls for Dakota.  Today we drove from Paris to Bouconville, France to see the sights.   Here is some information about our drive:

Miles driven = 128

Average miles per gallon = 18 mpg

Cost of fuel = 1.64 Euros per liter

Road toll for driving on the expressway = 17.10 Euros

Internet Scavenger Hunt:

Use the internet to find the conversion rates for liters to gallons and Euros to US Dollars.  What is toll and what is its purpose?  Are there any drives that require a toll in California?

Question to answer:

What was the total cost in Euros for our drive?  What is the total cost in US Dollars?  Make sure you include the cost of the toll.

If we were to drive on the country roads (no toll required) rather than the expressway, it would have taken us much more time and a total of 162 miles.  Would we have saved money driving the longer distance rather than paying the toll?

Challenge Question:

While in the Czech Republic, we filled up with gas for 36.9 Czech Koruna per liter.  Which country has cheaper gas, the Czech Republic or France?

By the way, is gas cheaper in the United States or Europe?

Student Weekly Challenge #7:

This week we talked about Augustus the Strong and the statue of Atlas with his features.

Google Image

Google Image

Internet Scavenger hunt:
Look more into the story of Atlas. Why was he punished?

In front of what famous New York building does a statue of Atlas stand in front of? Why did they choose Atlas to represent the building?

Question to contemplate: 
If you were to pick a statue to represent yourself, who would you pick and why?

Student weekly Challenge #6

Google Image

Google Image

Anne Frank House 

Internet Scavenger Hunt

What is the difference between teasing, bullying, prejudice, and discrimination?

Question to contemplate

If you were leaving and could only take one item with you, and it could not be electronic, what would it be?



Student Weekly Challenge #5

Crosses of Americans that gave their life during World War II.

Crosses of Americans that gave their life during World War II.

The United States lost 407,000 men and women solders during World War II.  Often as generations pass, we have tendency to forget the struggles and sacrifices of those before us.

Explore the United States’ involvement in World War II and what effect our participation had on the outcome of the war.
Internet Scavenger Hunt 
What countries made up the Allied Powers and which countries made up the Axis Powers?

Questions to contemplate
Was World War II a “good” war?  Why or why not and for whom?
Defend your answer using evidence.

Student Weekly Challenge #4

At the archaeological site of Bru Na Boinne, stones were decorated with mysterious parallel arcs, concentric spirals, chevrons, cross hatches, zig-zags and other symbols    This was done with hard flint tools as the Neolithic people had not yet begin using metal.

Although scholars have theories about the meaning of these symbols, no one knows for sure how to interpret them or what they symbolize, so your guess is as good as mine (and anyone else’s).




Internet scavenger  hunt:

What is the Neolithic Period?  What was important to people of this period?  What was life like?

Questions to contemplate:

As a scholar, what do you think these mysterious carvings represent?  Do you think it is an ancient form of writing and the symbols always represent the same idea?  Explain your reasoning.

Interpret one of the stones as an archaeologist might. Why do you think your interpretation is correct?
Back up your ideas with evidence from your life or what you know about the lives of these ancient people.


Student Weekly Challenge #3




Stonehenge – as old as the pyramids- it amazed medieval Europeans and still impresses people today. The builders of this monumental undertaking used two different types of stones.  The tall, stout monoliths weighed between 25 and 45 tons each.  The lintels ( the horizontal cross pieces) weighed about seven tons each. The monoliths were brought from “only” 20 miles away (the distance from Newman to Turlock). The shorter middle stones came from 240 miles away!  Imagine for a moment the logistical puzzle of floating six ton rocks up the Avon River, then having to roll them on logs for about 20  more miles.

Questions to contemplate:

How did they accomplish this impressive feat?

Why did they not just use the nearby stones?

These stones still function as a remarkably accurate celestial calendar, how did the knowledge of the movement of the sun, moon, and stars help early people?

Internet Scavenger Hunt:

What does the name Stonehenge mean literally ? Remember do NOT just type the question into a Google search; instead use your common sense and scholarly ability to take apart this question (and possibly the word) and conquer it.

How tall is the tallest  stone?  To better imagine the height, compare it to the size of the average ten year old. Can you turn that image into a ratio?

How many pounds in a ton?


Student Weekly Challenge #2

West coast shipping has informed us that the camper bus is scheduled to arrive in Southampton UK on the 5th of June, after having set sail on Friday May 2nd.  After some initial research, we have found that the average speed of the cargo ship is 22 knots.

How many nautical miles will the camper travel in order to reach its destination?  How many miles is that?

Where did the term “knots” come from and why do sailors use it?


Student Weekly Challenge #1

The title of our blog is VW Quest. The VW stands for Volkswagen, referring to “Dakota”, our 1978 Volkswagen camper bus. According to Oxford Dictionaries, a quest is a long or arduous search. In literature, a quest is often a journey in which a hero must obtain something before he returns home.

What do you think I am searching for on this quest of mine? Why?
Do you think I will find it?

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