Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Phineas and Ferb Geography - Finding Danville.


Inspired by the great independent work projects going on over at angelicscalliwags, and a Google search item I happened to see on one of the children's internet histories - we came up with an independent work project of our own.

I asked each of the teens to research, and decide for themselves whether the town of Danville, in which Phineas and Ferb (from the Disney show by that name) live, could be based on an actual city in the United States.  According to a purported email from the creators of the show, to the administrator of the Phineas and Ferb Wiki-site, the city of Danville, named for Dan Povenmire, in Jefferson county, named for co-creator Jeff Marsh, is a fictional city, that can be located anywhere in the country, depending on what works for a given episode.

Even so, I challenged the children to decide for themselves.  Could Danville be based on a real town, named Danville, or not.  I gave them a week to research cities looking at population, geographical location, amenities, topography, and so on.  Their assignment was to be ready at the end of the week to present, and defend their findings in an oral report, preferably with visual aids. 

A (age 13) went old school, and used the overhead projector we bought last summer at a country school close-out sale, to display a map of all of the Danvilles in the United States...


...eliminating them all, and then settling instead on Fontana, CA, because of it's population...


...amenities, and proximity to the ocean.


G (age 15) chose to prove that Danville could not possibly exist as a real city.  She cited nearby places of interest mentioned in various episodes - the mountains, the beach, Mt. Rushmore, Washington state, and the Eastern seaboard.  The fact that it is a city with palm trees, and snow in the winter. And, the centerpiece of her presentation...


...was a song from season 4, that does seem to shed some doubt on the existence of the entire tri-state area.



T, was unshaken though, and forged ahead with his presentation...


...complete with computerized slideshow of pictures gathered from all over the internet, then modified for the purpose.  His presentation followed along the lines of...

  1. The city of Danville could be be based off of an actual city.
  2. This could probably be proved definitively, if it were not for the cycle of procrastination.
  3. There are a number of cities in the US named Danville.
  4. A few are within a one day drive of Mt. Rushmore, but...
  5. ...they are all very small towns - unlike the city of Danville in Phineas and Ferb.
  6. However looking within a 10 hour drive of Mt. Rushmore...
  7. ...for a city with at least some of the amenities of Danville - namely a racetrack, museum, and skyscrapers...
  8. ...is Denver, CO...
  9. ...which does have a racetrack, museum, and skyscraper...
  10. ...though not the unusually shaped purple skyscraper seen in the cartoon.
  11. Still, a compelling case could be made for Denver as the inspiration, if not location, of Danville.
Finally, I pulled out the map (pictured of the top of this post) from a season 1 episode, with a United States map pushed and pulled into place over it in Paint.   Allowing for Dr. Doofenshmritz' poor map drawing skills, he could be magnifying California, Colorado or Salt Lake City, Utah (my choice, if anyone had thought to ask me) as the location for the tri-state area, and Danville.


But then, the purpose of the project wasn't really to find Danville at all, but rather to provide an excuse to put together presentations, work independently, make speeches, deal with a deadline, sharpen our critical thinking skills, and have a good time together watching as many episodes of Phineas and Ferb as we could fit into one long marathon session.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

12 comments:

Karin Huber said...

Great study!
I love OH Projectors, but I still couldn´t find a cheap one.

Dawn Rebekah said...

Wow! What awesome presentations. It is wonderful the way they all thought about it and presented their own conclusions.
Blessings, Dawn

Ticia said...

They did great with their presentations!

And I want an overhead projector SOOOOOO much!

raventhreads said...

That is such a lovely project! Love the way they went about it :-)

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I know people who live in the California Danville!

Sunita said...

This was SO fun to read about! I took a public speaking class and they always tried to provide (key word "provide") topics that would be fun for kids to delve into, but by golly, this takes the cake!

Camie said...

Very cool! I wish I could come up with creative study projects like this. You are so clever! :)

Amber Hockman said...

I BOW DOWN before the master teacher- oh, this was SUCH a great idea!!!

Lucinda @ NavigatingByJoy.com said...

What an awesome way to practise a bunch of skills! I'm inspired!

Angelic Scalliwags said...

Brilliant! (thanks for the mention!)

Bethany said...

Wow! How wonderful!

kakngah shila said...

W.O.W
you and your kida are awesome! Pls keep sharing and inspiring
an admirer from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia