National Pie Day is celebrated through tastings and competitions. Children could celebrate the day by first listing all the types of pies that they can think of (flavors of fruit pies, cream pies, pot pies, pizza pies). Then they could make a simple “pie” by filling a pie pan with chunky applesauce and covering with a mixture of 1 stick melted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 cup uncooked oatmeal, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. The “pie” can be baked or microwaved.
National Handwriting Day stresses the importance of legibility. The day honors John Hancock’s birthday. John Hancock clearly and prominently signed the Declaration of Independence. Idea: Children could write, using their best penmanship, a thank you note to someone.
Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to receive a medical doctor’s degree in the United States in 1849. Children could learn more about Blackwell at: Elizabeth Blackwell. They could also interview an expert to find out how someone becomes a doctor.
Amendment Twenty-Four of the Constitution was adopted in 1964. It eliminated poll taxes and other taxes designed to prevent people from voting. Children can learn more about the background of the amendment at: Amendment Twenty-Four.
John Hancock (born Braintree, Massachusetts, 1737; died Quincy, Massachusetts, October 8, 1793) was an American patriot. He deliberately made his signature on the Declaration of Independence very prominent. His political activities irritated the British, and they started the famous march to Concord. After the war, he served as governor of Massachusetts for a number of years. Children could learn more at: John Hancock. Idea: Show the children a copy of the Declaration of Independence and his famous signature. Have a signature writing event where they try to copy his style. Jean Fritz wrote Will You Sign Here, John Hancock? Children would enjoy reading the book.
Joseph Hewes (born Kingston, New Jersey, 1730; died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1779) signed the Declaration of Independence. He represented North Carolina. The son of Quakers, he started his career as an apprentice to a merchant. Soon he moved to North Carolina and became a very successful merchant using many ships. At first he opposed a break with England, but he changed his mind. He worked tirelessly to establish a navy for the colonies. However, he died before the Revolutionary War ended. Children could learn more at: Joseph Hewes.
Edouard Manet (born Paris, France, 1832; died Paris, France, April 30, 1883) was an impressionist painter. Born into a wealthy family, he counted Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Pissarro as friends. His brother married the painter Berthe Morisot. His paintings shocked the art community at the time. Children could visit a website at: Manet.
Gold was discovered in California in 1848 by John Sutter and John Marshall. They were building a sawmill when they noticed flakes of gold in the water. Most of the forty-niners rushed to the Mother Lode country, part of the western foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Over 90,000 people had reached California by 1849, and the population topped 220,000 by 1852. The rush had declined by 1854, and most prospectors turned to other jobs. Idea: Children could find out how mine claims are made legal and how assays prove metal content of ore. Children could learn more at: California Gold. Children would really enjoy reading Sid Fleischman’s excellent historical fiction book By the Great Horn Spoon!
Voyager 2 sailed past Uranus in 1986. It discovered eleven new moons and two new rings. Voyager 2 collected data on one of the moons, Miranda. Miranda, named after a character in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is gouged by deep craters and sharp cliffs. Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977, and it still sends back data about deep space! Idea: Children could find out how newly discovered objects in space are named. Children can learn more at: Voyager 2.
Charles Boardman Hawes (born Clifton Springs, New York, 1889; died United States, 1923) wrote children’s books. His book The Great Quest received a 1922 Newbery Honor Award. The 1924 Newbery Medal was awarded posthumously to him for The Dark Frigate. Children can read The Great Quest at: http://www.gutenberg.org/.
Mary Lou Retton (born Fairmont, West Virginia, 1968) is an Olympic gold medal winner in gymnastics.
Maria Tallchief (born Elizabeth Marie Tall Chief in Fairfax, Oklahoma, 1925; died Chicago, Illinois, April 11, 2013) was a noted ballerina. A member of the Osage tribe, she originally studied to be a pianist. She established the Chicago City Ballet in 1979.
Chinese New Year starts today and lasts for 15 days. The year 2020 is the year of the rat. Customs vary from region to region. However, most Chinese thoroughly clean their homes to welcome in the gods. Family meals are essential, and fireworks are common. The color red is lucky, and children are often given red packets of money. Children could read Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith’s Celebrating Chinese New Year. Lawrence Migdale provided the amazing photographs for the book. Children can learn more at: Chinese New Year.
Largest diamond, the Cullinan, ever found was discovered in the Premier Diamond Mining Company in Cullinan, South Africa in 1905. The stone, named after Sir Thomas Cullinan (owner of the mine), was 3,106 carats. The rough diamond was cut into seven very large gems and 96 smaller gems. Many of the larger gems are in the crown jewels of the United Kingdom. Idea: Have children illustrate how diamonds are made and how they are cut by visiting: Diamonds.