Christopher Columbus started his second voyage to the New World in 1493. This time he had seventeen ships and close to 1,500 men. He discovered land on November 3, 1493. In all he made four voyages to the new world.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean and “all shores washed by it” for Spain in 1513. Idea: Children could look on a world map and find out just how big a territory Balboa really did claim.
First United States Congress met in 1789. One of their first acts was to start the process to adopt the Bill of Rights. Congress told George Washington to submit copies of the Bill of Rights to all the states so that each state could begin its ratification process. New Jersey on November 20, 1789, became the first state to ratify the document. The Bill of Rights was finally adopted on December 15, 1791 when Virginia ratified the amendment. Older children can find out more at: Bill of Rights.
Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted in 1804. Prior to the amendment, the presidential candidate with the most votes became president. The one with the next amount of votes became vice-president. This system did not always work well. The amendment changed the process so that the president and vice president were a team.
Sequoia National Park was created in 1890. Located in central-southern California, the park encompasses over 400,000 acres. Known for its magnificent sequoia trees, the park is also home to Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Children can visit the park’s website at: Sequoia. Children could compare the sequoia to other types of trees.
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice when she was sworn in in 1981. She retired January 31, 2006. She founded a website to help students better understand government: https://www.icivics.org/.
William Cuthbert Faulkner (born New Albany, Mississippi, 1897; died Byhalia, Mississippi, July 6, 1962) was an author. Two of his most famous works were The Sound and the Fury and The Portable Faulkner. He won the Nobel Prize in 1949.
Jim Murphy (born Newark, New Jersey, 1947) has written at least 35 fiction and non-fiction books for children and young adults. He earned a Newbery Honor Award in 1996 for The Great Fire and another Newbery Honor Award in 2004 for An American Plague (which also received the 2004 Robert F. Sibert Medal). He received a 2001 Robert F. Sibert Honor Award for Blizzard! The Storm that Changed America. In 2010 he was presented the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his lifelong contributions to young adult literature. Young adults can visit his website at: Jim Murphy.
Andrea Davis Pinkney (born Washington, DC, 1963) writes books for children. She and her husband, Brian Pinkney, often work together. Her Let It Shine! Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters received the 2001 Coretta Scott King Medal. Her works also include Sit-in: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down. Children can learn more at: Andrea Davis Pinkney.
James E. Ransome (born Rich Square, North Carolina, 1961) has written and/or illustrated at least 50 books for children. He illustrated Baby Blessings and Sky Boys. Children can visit his website at: James Ransome.
Mark Rothko (born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia, 1903; died New York, New York, February 25, 1970) was an abstract expressionist. Children can view a number of his works and participate in a timeline of his life at: Mark Rothko.
Dmitri Shostakovich (born St. Petersburg, Russia, 1906; died Moscow, Russia, August 9, 1975) was a composer.
Shel Silverstein (born Chicago, Illinois, 1932; died Key West, Florida, May 10, 1999) was an author, illustrator, and songwriter. He wrote and illustrated a number of poetry books for children, including Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree. Children can visit an amazing website dedicated to him at: Shel Silverstein.