Chinese New Year starts today and lasts for 15 days. The year 2021 is the year of the ox. 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.
Winter Olympics were held for the first time in 1924 in Chamonix, France. Approximately 258 athletes from sixteen nations competed in nine events. The United States sent 24 athletes and came home with four medals. Norway and Finland by far brought home the most medals. The events concluded on February 4, 1924. Children could hold their own winter events – sledding, snowball throwing at targets, biggest snowman competition.
Fluoridation process was added to drinking water in 1945 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Idea: Children could find out how fluoride makes their teeth stronger. Children can learn more at: http://ilikemyteeth.org/fluoridation/.
Robert Boyle (born Lismore, Ireland, 1662; died London, England, December 30, 1691) was a scientist. He developed Boyle’s Law: if a gas is maintained at a constant temperature, the volume of the gas is inversely proportional to the pressure. Children can learn about Boyle’s Law at: Boyle’s Law. Idea: Children could inflate a balloon and put it in a refrigerator. They could record the results.
Robert Burns (born Ayrshire, Scotland, 1759; died Dumfries, Scotland; July 21, 1796) was a poet. One of his most famous works is Auld Lang Syne. Children can read some of his works at: Project Gutenberg.
Charles Coatesworth Pinckney (born Charleston, South Carolina, 1746; died Charleston, South Carolina, August 16, 1825) represented South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention. During the Revolutionary War, he served as an aide to George Washington. He was captured by the British and was a prisoner of war for about two years. After the war, he helped create South Carolina’s constitution. He unsuccessfully ran for both the offices of vice president and president.
India celebrates Republic Day. It gained its freedom from Great Britain in 1950. According to the CIA World Factbook, India is a third the size of the United States, but its population is more than three times the population of the United States. India has almost every ecosystem in the world. The Himalaya Mountains are in the north; India also has deserts and tropical rainforests. New Delhi is the capital.
Australia was founded in 1788. It may be the smallest continent, but it is the sixth largest country. Aborigines settled in Australia at least 40,000 years ago. The Dutch were the first Europeans to explore the area, and they called the continent New Holland. However, Captain James Cook declared in 1770 that the land belonged to Great Britain. Australia became a penal colony when 700 prisoners were transported there in 1788. Gold was discovered in 1851. It became a commonwealth in 1901. Idea: Australia is home to many marsupials. Children could research some of these animals and then make a play where Captain Cook explores Australia and finds these animals.
Michigan became the twenty-sixth state of the United States in 1837. The state borders four of the five Great Lakes. It has more coastline than any other state except Alaska. The state capital is Lansing, and its nicknames are the Wolverine State and the Lake State. It ranks twenty-third in area and eighth in population. Children could visit an Internet site at: Michigan. Children could also make a map of Michigan and the Great Lakes it borders.
Bessie Coleman (born Atlanta, Georgia, 1893; died Jacksonville, Florida, April 30, 1926) was the first African-American woman to earn an airplane pilot’s license. Children could view a website devoted to Bessie Coleman at: Bessie Coleman. Children could also read Talkin’ About Bessie, written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by E. B. Lewis.
Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge (born New York, New York, 1831; died Onteora Park, New York, August 21, 1905) was an author and an editor. Her most famous work is Hans Brinker; or The Silver Skates. The 1865 novel has had more than one hundred editions and has been translated into at least six other languages. Children could see a tribute to her at: Mary Mapes Dodge. Children could read some of her works at: Project Gutenberg.
Jules Feiffer (born New York, New York, 1929) is a cartoonist. He illustrated The Phantom Tollbooth. He wrote and illustrated a number of books for children, including A Room with a Zoo and The Daddy Mountain. His daughter wrote Henry, the Dog with No Tail; he illustrated her book. He received the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for his editorial cartoons.
Julia Dent Grant (born St. Louis, Missouri, 1826; died Washington, D. C., December 14, 1902) was the wife of Ulysses Grant, the eighteenth president of the United States. Grant was an army officer, and much of their married life was spent on the frontier in the garrisons. Mrs. Grant actually enjoyed the comparatively easy life of the White House. Children could visit a website at: Julia Dent Grant.
Shannon Hale (born Salt Lake City, Utah, 1974) writes fantasy and science fiction books for young adults. She has published at least eighteen books, and her book Princess Academy received a 2006 Newbery Honor Award. Children could visit her website at: http://www.squeetus.com/stage/main.html.
Douglas MacArthur (born Little Rock, Arkansas, 1880; died Washington, DC, April 5, 1964) was a general who became famous for his leadership in the South Pacific during World War II. He uttered his famous line, “I will return,” when the Japanese forced him to leave the Philippines. He did return.
Incandescent light bulb was patented by Thomas Edison in 1880. The patent number is 223898. Idea: In a drawing a light bulb above someone’s head indicates the person has developed a new idea. Children could draw light bulbs. They could surround the light bulbs with ideas of their own for new inventions. They could see his patent at: Light Bulb Patent.