Kepler Space Observatory was launched from Florida in 2009. Named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, the observatory searched for earth-like planets in other parts of the galaxy. Before it was decommissioned in 2018, it provided more information than any observatory on earth. The Kepler Space Observatory and other instruments have located 4104 new exoplanets. Children can participate in some interactives at: Kepler Space Observatory.
Luther Burbank (born Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1849; died Santa Rosa, California, April 11, 1926) developed 800 new types of fruits, vegetables and flowers. He created plants that increased quality and quantity of yield. The russet Burbank potato was one of his big successes; that type of potato is the leading tuber in food processing. Children could grow their own potato plants:
1. Punch two small holes in the bottom of five paper cups.
2. Fill the paper cups about a third full with potting soil.
3. Cut a potato into sections so that each section has an eye in it.
4. Place one potato section into each paper cup and add soil to almost fill the paper cup.
5. Place the cups on an old tray with a lip. Water, and place tray where it will receive sunlight.
6. Water and soon potato vines will appear! When Mother’s Day comes along, plant the vines outside. In the fall check for potatoes in the soil.
Janet Guthrie (born Iowa City, Iowa, 1938) is a former race car driver. She is the first woman to qualify and race in the Daytona 500 and the Indie 500. Children can visit her website at: Janet Guthrie.
Stephen Hopkins (born Providence, Rhode Island, 1707; died Providence, Rhode Island, July 13, 1785) was a governor of the colony of Rhode Island and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1764 he wrote a pamphlet called “The Rights of Colonies Examined” in response to the Stamp Act. The second oldest signer of the Declaration, he had to support his right hand with his left hand when he wrote his signature. He stated, “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”
Piet Mondrian (born Amersfoort, Netherlands, 1872; died New York, New York, February 1, 1944) was an artist. He is most known for his abstract studies of color. Children could view some of his works at: Piet Mondrian.
Maurice Ravel (born Cibourne, France, 1875; died Paris, France, December 28, 1937) was a composer. One of his most famous works is Bolero, a ballet composed in 1928. Idea: Play some of his music to the class and tell students to listen for the Spanish influences or the jazz overtones.
International Women’s Day is celebrated by the United Nations. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual. Children can visit a website at: International Women’s Day.
William Caxton published the first illustrated book in England in 1481. The book, entitled The Mirror of the World, was about the sciences. Children can read some of his works (but not The Mirror of the World) at: Project Gutenberg.
Compact Disc (CD) was introduced to the public by Philips Company, an electronics company based in the Netherlands, in 1979.
Howard Hathaway Aiken (born Hoboken, New Jersey, 1900; died St. Louis, Missouri, March 14, 1973) invented the digital computer.
Hannah Hoes Van Buren (born Kinderhook, New York, 1783; died Albany, New York, February 5, 1819) was the first wife of Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States. She died from tuberculosis before he was elected to office. Children could visit a website at: Hannah Hoes Van Buren.
Kenneth Grahame (born Edinburgh, Scotland, 1859; died Pangbourne, Berkshire, England, July 6, 1932) was an author. Idea: He is most known for his book Wind in the Willows. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon. Children can read his works at: Project Gutenberg. They can also learn more at: Kenneth Grahame.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (born Boston, Massachusetts, 1841; died Washington, DC, March 6, 1935) was one of the most important judges America has had. He was the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a distinguished writer. He fought in the Civil War and was wounded three times. He became a lawyer and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1902 by President Theodore Roosevelt. He served on the Supreme Court for almost thirty years. Idea: Students could read more about his philosophy and his court decisions.
Robert Sabuda (born Wyandotte, Michigan, 1965) writes and illustrates books for children. He is known for his pop-up books. He has written and/or illustrated at least 38 books. His books include The Mummy’s Tomb and The Knight’s Castle. Children can learn how to make different pop-ups at: Robert Sabuda.
Dentures were patented in the United States by Charles Graham of New York, New York, in 1822. False teeth had been around for centuries, but those dentures were made from human teeth or animal teeth. His dentures were made from porcelain and were harder and more durable. George Washington wore dentures. Children could find out how many sets of dentures George Washington had.
Monitor and Merrimac, two ironclad ships, battled in 1862 during the Civil War. The Merrimac, a Confederate vessel, and the Monitor, a Union ship, exchanged fire. Both pulled away after about two hours. Neither ship was severely damaged.
Sputnik 9, a Soviet spacecraft, ventured into space in 1961. Its passengers included a mannequin, a dog named Chernushka (Blackie), some mice, and a guinea pig. It made a single orbit before returning to earth. The mannequin was ejected prior to the landing to test an ejection seat.
Barbie, the doll, celebrates her birthday today. She was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler after Ruth saw a doll with adult characteristics (as opposed to a baby doll) in Germany. She bought three dolls and brought them back to the United States. Changes were made to the doll, and the doll was named Barbie after Handler’s daughter. Around 350,000 thousand dolls were sold in the first year of production. Today over one billion dolls have been sold in 150 countries. Children can visit the Mattel site at: http://www.barbie.com/