Geography Awareness Week stresses the importance of local and global geography. It is sponsored by the Geography Education Program of the National Geographic Society. Held during the third week in November since 1987, this year’s week runs from November 10 to November 16. One easy but very informative activity is the Global Closet Calculator, where children locate the origin of their clothing and shoes. This year’s theme is “Igniting the Spirit of Exploration.”
Henry M. Stanley in 1871 found David Livingstone, the missing missionary, in Africa. He asked the famous question, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Dr. Livingstone, missing for six years, was trying to find the source of the Nile. Most people assumed he had died. Stanley was sent by the New York Herald to find Livingstone. After their meeting Livingstone remained in Africa but died about 2.5 years later. Older children can read books by Livingstone and by Stanley at: Project Gutenberg.
Windshield wipers were patented by Mary Anderson of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1903. Her “window cleaner devices for electric cars and other vehicles” received patent number 743801. She invented the windshield wipers after she was a passenger on a trolley where the conductor could not easily clean the windshield of ice and snow.
Sesame Street aired for the first time in 1969. It is still a favorite with young children. Idea: Each episode is sponsored by a number and a letter or two. Assign children to certain letters. Have them present new and unusual vocabulary words that begin with those letters. Children can learn more at: Sesame Street.
Great Wall of China was opened to tourists in 1970. The wall is about 5,500 miles long and separates China from its historical northern enemies. Begun by Qin Shi Huang Di around 220 BC, the wall welcomes about ten million visitors a year. Children could view photos and video at the UNESCO site: Great Wall of China.
Badlands National Park became a national park in 1978. This South Dakota park encompasses 244,000 acres and is home to many animals, including bison, bighorn sheep and black-footed ferrets. The park website has amazing videos, photos, and activities for children: Badlands National Park.
Holly Black (born West Long Branch, New Jersey, 1971) is a children’s author. She and Tony DiTerlizzi wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles. Children could visit her website at: Holly Black.
Neil Gaiman (born England, 1960) is a children’s author and graphic novelist. His book The Graveyard Book won the Newbery Award in 2009. Children could visit his website at: Neil Gaiman.
Martin Luther (born Eisleben, Saxony, 1483; died Eisleben, Saxony, February 18, 1546) was a priest who actually started the Protestant movement. He nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of Wittenberg’s castle church on October 31, 1517. He also was an accomplished musician. He was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church and married a former nun, Katherine von Bora. Older children could read a transcription in English of his statements at: Ninety-Five Theses.
Kate Seredy (born Budapest, Hungary, 1899; died Middletown, New York, March 7, 1975) wrote and illustrated many books for children. Her The Good Master was awarded the 1935 Newbery Honor Award. The White Stag won the 1936 Newbery Award. Then The Singing Tree was awarded the 1940 Newbery Honor Award. Her illustrations for The Christmas Anna Angel were recognized with the 1945 Caldecott Honor Award. Children could learn more at: Kate Seredy.