Maryland in 1788 donated ten square miles of land to the United States. This land became part of the District of Columbia. Our Founding Fathers wanted to establish a new capital, rather than use an existing city such as New York or Philadelphia. The Residence Act gave George Washington the authority to decide where to locate the new nation’s capital. The Maryland land was in about the middle of the country at that time. Children can view the documents that made the District of Columbia possible at: District of Columbia.
Jacquard loom was patented in 1801 by Joseph Marie Jacquard. This loom could easily weave very complex patterns. Jacquard used a series of punched cards to tell the loom what to do. This idea was adapted to instructions for early computers. Children could view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwozgRPLVC8 to see how the Jacquard loom worked and to view some early computer punch cards.
Transistor was invented in 1947 by John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain at Bell Laboratories. They received the 1956 physics Nobel Prize for their creation. Children could go to: Transistor to read LOTS of information and view photos of transistors. Transistors made everything from radios to computers to factory equipment smaller, smarter, and more powerful.
Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager in 1986 made the first flight around the world without refueling. For 216 hours the Voyager flew, traveling over 26,000 miles. The plane lifted off from Edwards Air Force Base on December 14th. Because it was carrying so much fuel, it barely lifted off before it reached the end of the runway. Cramped quarters and frequent weather problems, including a typhoon, made piloting difficult. The plane and pilots returned to Edwards Air Force Base to thousands of spectators and reporters. The plane is now in the Air and Space Museum.
“Silent Night” was performed for the first time in a small Austrian town in 1818. Franz Xavier Gruber developed the melody, and Joseph Mohr wrote the lyrics. The original lyrics are in German, but it has been translated and performed in many other languages. The following site gives more information, as well as the lyrics in both German and English: Silent Night.
War of 1812 ended in 1814 when a peace treaty, the Treaty of Ghent, was signed in Ghent, Belgium. Representatives from the United States and Great Britain started negotiations in August and completed the details December 24th. The Senate ratified the treaty on February 16, 1815. Children can view the detailed transcript of the treaty and other documents at: Treaty of Ghent.
Christmas is today! Perhaps children would like to say “Merry Christmas” in other languages?
Joyeux Noël – French
God Jul – Norwegian
Froehlich Weihnachten – German
Feliz Navidad – Spanish
Buon Natale – Italian
Nadolig LLawen – Welsh
Gajan Kristnaskon – Esperanto
Feliz Natal – Portuguese
Весела Коледа – Bulgarian
General Washington and his army secretly crossed the Delaware River in 1776 and surprised the British troops in Trenton. The American victory was a milestone in the Revolutionary War. A number of children’s books have been written about the event. Lynne Cheyney’s When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots is an excellent book. They can visit the Washington Crossing State Park site at: Washington Crossing.
World Wide Web trial run was first successfully conducted in 1990. The Internet and the World Wide Web are not synonymous. The Internet is the hardware and systems, and the World Wide Web is the data that browsers allow us to exchange. Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 developed Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), a way for computers to talk to each other. Others developed browsers to make the process easier. The WorldWideWeb, originally its name, allowed the use of the Internet to increase exponentially. Berners-Lee, a British citizen, was knighted for his work in 2004. A timeline of computers and their uses can be found at: http://www.history-timelines.org.uk/events-timelines/07-computer-history-timeline.htm.
Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United States. Lasting for seven days, the African-American tradition began in 1966. Each day has a special theme. Umoja promotes unity. Kujichagulia stands for self-determination. Ujima provides for collective work and responsibility. Ujamaa works toward cooperative economics. Nia gives purpose. Kuumba develops creativity, and Imani means faith. Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of African-American studies at California State University, created Kwanzaa. Children could read The Kwanzaa Contest by Miriam Moore and Penny Taylor. Another super book is The Children’s Book of Kwanzaa: A Guide to Celebrating the Holiday, by Dolores Johnston.
Junkanoo is celebrated in the Bahamas. People in colorful costumes parade through towns to the sounds of homemade instruments.
Boxing Day is celebrated in Great Britain and Canada. Christmas boxes are given to people such as newspaper deliverers and postal workers. Idea: Wrap something small in a box. Children must list the attributes of the box contents without opening it. They can use all their senses. They can deduce size, weight, shape, smell, and textures. Then share what is in the box.
Saint Stephen’s Day is celebrated in many countries. Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death around AD 34. Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, and Switzerland honor Saint Stephen.