Fascinating Facts



The first thing you probably noticed is that the chapter on Algeria began with a "puzzler" (a long riddle). In case you need to refresh your memory, here, once again, is the puzzler on Algeria:

More than 80% of this country is covered by the Sahara Desert, but it also has mountains and a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.
You are in the second largest nation on the continent. You would like to be on the fertile coast along the Mediterranean where 90% of the population lives, but somehow you ended up across the Atlas Mountains and are currently roasting in the largest desert in the world. The desert is only getting bigger. The government has tried to curb its encroachment, and at one point they tried to plant rows of pine trees from border to border. Unfortunately, the workers couldn't keep up. The desert spread northward faster than the workers could plant trees. Where on Earth are you?


Every chapter starts the same way. The author, Ruth Foster, asks you to imagine that you are lost in some foreign land, and then, after giving you some hints, she ends by asking: Where on Earth are you?

These puzzlers are a clever way to introduce the main text. They're also a fun way to test your memory, after you have studied many countries.

Near the end of the year, our classroom will have a special contest. We call it the Geo Challenge. It's a challenging, 100-question test, and about half the questions consist of these puzzlers from Fascinating Facts. You don't have to take the test—it's completely optional—but students with high scores have a chance to win a trophy or a certificate. It's just something to keep in mind. If you think you might want to enter the GeoChallenge, let me know, and I can give you some helpful tips about the best way to study.

For now, just for fun, let's try a 10-question quiz that consists of these puzzlers. You can skip the questions you don't know, but you should get at least one of them right—the question on Algeria.

Instructions for the Quiz

Answer the Questions.