Mar 072021

Artist’s Conception of Kepler Space Observatory

Kepler Space Observatory was launched from Florida in 2009. Named after the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, the observatory searched for earth-like planets in other parts of the galaxy. Before it was decommissioned in 2018, it provided more information than any observatory on earth. The Kepler Space Observatory and other instruments have located 4104 new exoplanets. Children can participate in some interactives at: Kepler Space Observatory.

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Mar 072021

Russet Potatoes

Luther Burbank (born Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1849; died Santa Rosa, California, April 11, 1926) developed 800 new types of fruits, vegetables and flowers. He created plants that increased quality and quantity of yield. The russet Burbank potato was one of his big successes; that type of potato is the leading tuber in food processing. Children could grow their own potato plants:
1. Punch two small holes in the bottom of five paper cups.
2. Fill the paper cups about a third full with potting soil.
3. Cut a potato into sections so that each section has an eye in it.
4. Place one potato section into each paper cup and add soil to almost fill the paper cup.
5. Place the cups on an old tray with a lip. Water, and place tray where it will receive sunlight.
6. Water and soon potato vines will appear! When Mother’s Day comes along, plant the vines outside. In the fall check for potatoes in the soil.

Janet Guthrie (born Iowa City, Iowa, 1938) is a former race car driver. She is the first woman to qualify and race in the Daytona 500 and the Indie 500. Children can visit her website at: Janet Guthrie.

Stephen Hopkins (born Providence, Rhode Island, 1707; died Providence, Rhode Island, July 13, 1785) was a governor of the colony of Rhode Island and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In 1764 he wrote a pamphlet called “The Rights of Colonies Examined” in response to the Stamp Act. The second oldest signer of the Declaration, he had to support his right hand with his left hand when he wrote his signature. He stated, “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

Piet Mondrian (born Amersfoort, Netherlands, 1872; died New York, New York, February 1, 1944) was an artist. He is most known for his abstract studies of color. Children could view some of his works at: Piet Mondrian.

Maurice Ravel (born Cibourne, France, 1875; died Paris, France, December 28, 1937) was a composer. One of his most famous works is Bolero, a ballet composed in 1928. Idea: Play some of his music to the class and tell students to listen for the Spanish influences or the jazz overtones.

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