Petrified Forest National Park was founded in 1962. In addition to the magnificent Petrified Forest, visitors can find Indian ruins and parts of the Painted Desert. Children can visit the Arizona park’s website to examine amazing photographs, great interactive activities, story hour, and even coloring sheets at: http://www.nps.gov/pefo.
Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse in 1967 and demonstrated it for the first time on December 9, 1968. However, it was not really used until 1984. He received no money for his invention. Children can view Engelbart’s timeline of inventions and see some other interesting ideas, including a knee operating system, at: Computer Mouse.
Joan Blos (born New York, New York, 1928) writes books for children. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-32 won the Newbery Medal in 1979.
Jean De Brunhoff (born Paris, France, 1899; died Switzerland, October 16, 1937) was a children’s author. He is known for his books about Babar the Elephant. When Jean died in 1937, his son Laurent continued his father’s legacy by creating 30 more Babar books. Children could see if they see a difference between Jean’s Babar and Laurent’s Babar. They could learn more at: Jean De Brunhoff.
Joel Chandler Harris (born Eatonton, Georgia, 1848; died Atlanta, Georgia, July 3, 1908) was an author. Among other works, he wrote the Uncle Remus stories. Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg. They can also learn more at: Joel Chandler Harris.
Grace Murray Hopper (born New York, New York, 1906; died Arlington, Virginia, January 1, 1992) was a computer scientist and mathematician. She was employed by the military for a good part of her life. She worked on the Mark I computer team. She coined the word bug for computer foul-ups when she found an insect in the Mark I’s circuitry. She helped create COBOL, and she standardized the navy’s computer languages. She retired from the military in 1986 as the oldest officer on active duty, and she was buried in Arlington Cemetery. Computers have created all kinds of new terms, such as RAM and Internet. Children could generate a list of new computer terms. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 22, 2016. Children could learn more at: Grace Murray Hopper.
Mary Downing Hahn (born College Park, Maryland, 1937) writes for children. Author of around 30 books, she is most known for Wait till Helen Comes: A Ghost Story. Stepping on the Cracks won the 1992 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Closed for the Season received the 2010 Edgar Award. Children could visit her site and hear her read portions of one of her books at: Mary Downing Hahn.
Kingdom of Thailand celebrates Constitution Day. Located in southeast Asia, the country is larger than California. Almost 67 million people (most of them Buddhists) inhabit this country that depends on monsoons. The capital is Bangkok. Thailand is the world’s second largest producer of tungsten and the third largest producer of tin.
Mississippi became the twentieth state in the United States in 1817. Its nickname is the Magnolia State, and its name comes from an Ojibwa phrase, misi sipi, meaning “great river.” Jackson is the state capital. The state ranks thirty-second in area and thirty-first in population. Hernando de Soto explored the area around 1540. The state water mammal is the porpoise. Children could visit an Internet site at: Mississippi. Children love to spell Mississippi. Conduct a spelling bee, using states as the category.
Nobel Prizes are awarded today. This day marks the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel, the creator of the Nobel Prizes. He stipulated that the income from his estate of about nine million dollars was to be awarded to people who have made contributions to the betterment of humanity. The categories are physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. The first award was given in 1901. Children could go on the Internet and find the winners. They could then find the countries these winners represent and do some statistics. Research shows that about 60 percent of the winners represent the United States. Children could visit the website at: http://www.nobelprize.org/.
Melvil Dewey (born Adams Center, New York, 1851; died Highlands County, Florida, December 26, 1931) created the Dewey decimal book classification system. He advocated the use of the metric system as well. You can read some of his works at: Project Gutenberg.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (born Amherst, Massachusetts, 1830; died Amherst, Massachusetts, May 15, 1886) was a poet. A very shy individual, she rarely traveled. Only a few of her poems were published during her lifetime. After her death, her sister Lavinia found hundred of poems among her effects. Lavinia was able to publish some of the poems. People appreciated Dickinson’s work and more poems were issued. About 1,775 poems have been published, and Emily Dickinson is now regarded as one of America’s best poets. Children can find many of her poems at: Project Gutenberg.
Cornelia Funke (born Dorsten, Germany, 1958) writes fantasy and adventure stories for children. Her books include Dragon Rider, The Thief Lord, and the Inkheart Trilogy. Children could visit her absolutely amazing website at: Cornelia Funk.
Ada Lovelace (born London, United Kingdom, 1815; died Marylebone, United Kingdom, November 27, 1852) was a mathematician. She is best known for her work regarding Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Some experts credit her with being the first computer programmer. Children could read Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science by Diane Stanley.
Mary Norton (born London, England, 1903; died Hartland, England, August 29, 1992) was a children’s author. One of her most famous works is Bedknobs and Broomsticks, published in 1957. She also wrote several books about the Borrowers. Children could learn more at: Mary Norton.
Ernest Howard Shepard (born London, England, 1879; died London, England, March 24, 1976) was an artist and illustrator of children’s books. He illustrated Wind in the Willows and Winnie-the-Pooh. Children can learn more at: Ernest Howard Shepard.
Burkina Faso celebrates Republic Day. In 1958 the Republic of Upper Volta became a self-governing colony of France. Eventually the country changed its name to Burkina Faso and became independent of France. Slightly larger than the state of Colorado, this African country is landlocked. Its land is mostly flat, and its climate is tropical. Over eighteen million people live in Burkina Faso, and Ouagadougou is the capital.
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was created in 1946 to help post-World War II children. Today UNICEF provides services, including education, vaccination, and nutrition, to children in 190 countries. Children can visit the UNICEF website at: http://www.unicef.org/.
Indiana became the nineteenth state of the United States in 1816. Indianapolis is the state capital, and the state’s nickname is the Hoosier State. Mound builders lived in the area around AD 1000. It is about 36,185 miles square, placing it thirty-eighth in area. It ranks fourteenth in population. Farming is a leading source of employment in the north, and rich coal deposits can be found in the southern parts of the state. It is the leading U. S. producer of limestone. Children could visit an Internet site at: Indiana. The Indianapolis 500 has been running since 1911. Children could make a board game about Indiana. The board could be a speed track. The students who knew the most about Indiana would win the game.