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Poptropica Teaching Guide

Time Tangled Island

by Holly Poulos

This teaching guide to Poptropica's Time Tangled Island will help kids discover famous inventors, political figures, ancient empires, and intrepid explorers who will be referenced throughout a lifetime of reading. Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity.




Lessons and Activities

Time Tangled Island is full of educational opportunities to share with your students. Enjoy the following lessons, classroom discussions, and activities in your classroom, and find out why Poptropica is so popular with kids!

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  • Back to the Past. And the Future!
    On Poptropica's Time Tangled Island, Our Hero travels from the present to the future to the past and back again! Ask students: If you had a time machine and could go to any point in history, when would you choose? What would you do there? Who would you meet? What would you bring back? How would you get around while you were there?

    What about future machine? Would you want to see yourself in the future? What part of your life? Pretend that you're meeting yourself at 30. What do you want to ask "future you" about your life then? What else would you ask?

    Choose either your future or past scenario and write a short story about your time traveling experience.

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards

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  • 328 BC: Ancient Greece
    In Ancient Greece, which Our Hero visits in 328 BC, there are several aphorisms (short, pithy statement of an evident truth concerned with life or nature) written on buildings and statues. Read the quotes below aloud to your class; then, write them on the board. Discuss the meaning of each statement.
    • "Know Thyself"
    • "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees the others."

    Ancient Greece is a fascinating place. Use the following resources to teach your students about this amazing time in history.


    On Time Tangled Island in Ancient Greece, there's a statue of Apollo, the god of beauty, poetry, and music, and one of the most famous gods in Greek Mythology. To learn more about Greek Mythology, use our Teaching Guide to Poptropica's Mythology Island, another fun virtual realm in Poptropica!

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards

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  • 831 AD: Vikings
    When Our Hero lands in 831 AD, he meets a group of Vikings who stranded on the shore of an island while sailing the world in a massive ship. Vikings originally came from modern-day Scandinavia, which is made up of the countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. In fact, they were the first European explorers to see North America (before Christopher Columbus even!)—led by Leif Erikson.

    The Vikings on Poptropica's Time Tangled Island aren't in North America however; they're lost! Draw them a map to help them return home. Things to include: a deserted island, their homeland, an ocean, landmarks, a path to travel, and a key, scale, and compass for your map.

    For a related activity on map-making, try this exercise:
    • Map Making, Floor Plans & Map Reading
      Grades 4-6

      Extension Activity


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  • 1387 AD: The Mali Empire
    Our Hero travels to Africa in 1387 to visit the Mali Empire in Timbuktu. Encourage students to imagine they're taking a trip to Africa tomorrow and staying at the Timbuktu Inn. They'll use the story starters included in the PDF below, as well as some suggested plot points, to write a story about their journey and time in Africa. They will need to do some research beforehand, so allow them time to use the library or the computer lab to find out more about Africa.
    • Story Starters: Traveling to Timbuktu
      Grades 4-8

      Get PDF


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  • 1516 AD: Da Vinci's Workshop
    When Our Hero reaches the year 1516, Leonardo Da Vinci is the character with the missing artifact (a notebook). Though Da Vinci is probably best known as the artist who painted the Mona Lisa, he was also a brilliant inventor, among other things (bonus: discuss with your students the meaning of the term "Renaissance Man"). He was fascinated by flying machines (such as the glider given to Our Hero).

    Encourage students to invent their own flying machine with the worksheet below.

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards

    • Invent a Flying Machine
      Grades 4-8

      Get PDF



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  • 1519 AD: Aztec Empire
    The Aztec Empire was one of the greatest civilizations in history. Fill in a KWL chart with what you know and want to know about the Aztec Empire. Use print and digital sources, including Infoplease.com, or another reference website, or the library, to research the Aztecs. Quiz your students on what they've learned. Before giving the quiz, assign topics from it for students to research individually or in small groups. Then, have students present their findings to the class."

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards


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  • 1776 AD: Graff House
    At the Graff House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our hero comes upon some of the most notable figures in American History, including Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson—who has lost the Declaration of Independence! This document is one of the most important manuscripts in American history. (Did you know that Americans celebrate the Fourth of July every year because that is the date the Declaration of Independence was adopted?) What else do you know about the Declaration of Independence?

    Fill in a KWL chart with what you know and want to know about the Declaration of Independence. Use print and digital sources, including our collection of videos and activities, to learn more about this precious document. Then, complete the following activity. In this exercise, students review a list of some of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They must put the names in alphabetical order.

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards
    • Alphabetical Order: The Declaration of Independence
      Grades 2-5

      Get PDF



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  • 1805 AD: Lewis and Clark
    Lewis and Clark traveled from Missouri to Oregon to explore the Missouri river and create a new route for trade. (This is sometimes called the Oregon Trail.) They led a group of 45 travelers on their expedition. Give students one or both of the following assignments to encourage them to think more critically about this historic trip.

    Part 1. Pretend you are one of the people on that long trip west. Keep a diary of your experiences (it takes them nearly two years round-trip). Record the people and things you see in your travels (animals, Native American tribes, landscapes, illnesses) that you've never experienced before. What is your reaction? Draw pictures of what interests you.
    • Research the expedition and take note of what the travelers saw.
    • Write at least 5 entries in your journal about the trip, with specific thoughts and experiences.
    • Include the group's meeting with Sacagawea, the Native American woman who becomes their guide. This happens in North Dakota.
    • What do you when you return to your home?


    Part 2. Lewis and Clark wanted to open up more of North America to trade. Trade was a vital to the local peoples at this time. Learn about the history of the trading post; then, set up a classroom trading post for your students to "trade" their goods and services. This creative activity will encourage students to think about the inherent value of something, as opposed to the monetary value.

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards
    • Lewis & Clark
      Trading Post

      Grades 2-5

      Get PDF




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  • 1877: Edison's Workshop
    Our Hero visits Thomas Edison's workshop in 1877 and finds that the inventor's phonograph, the first machine to reproduce recorded sound, is missing. A phonograph is the earliest version of a record player (if your students are unfamiliar with records as well, try using Google to search for images of the early phonograph and the "modern" record player).

    Part 1. Talk to your students about sound. Using the appropriate terminology and explanations for your grade, you can discuss: sound waves, amplification, frequency, pitch, decibel, compression, and rarefaction. Encourage students to brainstorm objects that make sounds. Use the following worksheets for age-appropriate guidance for this activity:
    • Explore Activity: Sounds Around Us
      Grade K

      Get PDF


    • What Kinds of Sounds Are There?
      Grade 1

      Get PDF


    • Using Our Knowledge of Sound
      Grade 4

      Get PDF


    • Defining a Sound-Making Object
      Grade 5

      Get PDF


    • Skill Challenge: What Is Sound?
      Grades 6+

      Get PDF




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  • 1882 AD: France
    Part 1. On Poptropica's Time Tangled Island, Our Hero visits France, circa 1882, and the studio of Gaget, Gauthier, et Cie. Many of your students may frequently hear—or know—Spanish, but ask students if they are familiar with the French language. This matching activity is a fun way to learn some basic French words and phrases.
    • Practice Your French
      Grades 1+

      Get PDF


    For help with pronunciation, or to learn more words and phrases, use an audio translation website, such as transparent.com. Hearing words spoken by a native French speaker is as easy as clicking a link! You can also search Youtube for videos featuring the French language. Interested in more foreign language lessons for the classroom?
    More Activities




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  • 1953: Mount Everest
    When Our Hero travels to Mount Everest, he meets Edmund Hillary, an explorer and Norgay Tenzing, a Sherpa, who are attempting to climb to the top of Mount Everest. These two men are the first to do so, in 1953. Read more about this pair of climbers:
    • Conquering Mount Everest
      Grades 5-8

      Get PDF



    Part 1. Edmund Hillary is missing his goggles when he meets Our Hero. These are an important part of a mountain climber's supply kit. Ask students: What other equipment do you think a mountain climber might need? Remember to think about the weather a mountain climber might encounter, as well as things he or she might need day-to-day (such as food).

    Part 2. The world was changing rapidly by 1953. Encourage students to use Infoplease.com, another reference website, or the library to research what else was happening in the world in 1953.
    • What was invented?
    • Who was born? Who died?
    • Who was President of the United States?
    • What movies were popular? Books?
    • Who was famous and why?

    *See alignment to the Common Core State Standards


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