Ukraine celebrates Independence Day. It seceded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991. Located in eastern Europe and bordering the Black Sea, the Ukraine has an area a bit smaller than the area of Texas. Most of the country is covered with fertile, flat land. Agricultural products include grains, sugar beets, and sunflower seeds. Over 44 million people live in Ukraine, and Kiev is the capital.
Vesuvius in Italy erupted in AD 79. Clouds of sulfuric acid killed nearby inhabitants, and volcanic ash buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The cities were buried and forgotten for centuries. Children could find out how and when Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered. Older children could visit Vesuvius.
Washington, DC, was burned in 1814 during the War of 1812. Many buildings, including the Capitol and the President’s House, were burned. The president and other statesmen had left the city prior to the battle. Idea: Children could find out how the White House got its name. Children can learn more at: America’s Library.
Potato chips were invented by Chef George Crum in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1853. According to legend, Crum, a Native American chef at Moon’s Lake House wanted to impress a client. He cut the potatoes into thin slices, fried them, and added salt. Today potato chips are about 35 percent of the snack food market and generate revenues of over sixteen billion dollars annually.
Waffle iron was patented in 1869 by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. Various forms of waffle makers were around as early as the 1300’s. However, his stove-top waffle maker had a handle and a clasp to keep the iron closed when it was flipped over. General Electric produced the first electric waffle maker in 1911.
Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet in 2006. The International Astronomical Union had to either change Pluto’s status as a planet or add many more planets, so Pluto was placed in a different category. Children could learn more at: Pluto.
John Green (born Indianapolis, Indiana, 1977) writes fiction for young adults. He received the 2006 Michael Printz Award for Looking for Alaska. His Paper Towns earned the 2009 Edgar Award. Young adults could visit his website at: John Green.
Dean Hughes (born Ogden, Utah, 1943) has published at least 100 books for children and young adults. His works include Soldier Boys and Winning Streak.
Gregory Jarvis (born Detroit, Michigan, 1944; died in the Challenger explosion, January 28, 1986) was an astronaut.