Martin Waldseemuller Remembrance Day is today. Martin Waldseemuller (born probably in Radolfzell, Germany, c. 1470; died probably St. Die, France, c. 1520) was an early cartographer. He gave the continents of North America and South America their names. He named them after Amerigo Vespucci, the person he thought had first discovered the land masses. Idea: Students could speculate as to what Waldseemuller would have named the continents had he known Christopher Columbus explored the area first. Children can view a copy of his extremely rare world map, purchased by the Library of Congress, at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/waldexh.html.
Spanish-American War began in 1898. At that time Spain ruled Cuba, and many Americans had heard that the conditions on the island were intolerable. The United States sent the battleship Maine to protect Americans living there. In February the ship exploded, and 260 people on board died. “Remember the Maine” became a popular expression. War was declared, and battles occurred not only in and around Cuba but around the Philippines as well. Teddy Roosevelt became famous as one of the leaders of the Rough Riders. The war ended on August 12, 1898. Children could learn more at: Spanish-American War.
Suez Canal began construction in 1859. The 120-mile canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea began operations November 17, 1869. The canal has no locks because the two seas are fairly level. Children can find interesting facts and great photographs at: Suez Canal.
Saint Lawrence Seaway began operating in 1959. Construction began in September, 1954. Over 6000 people had to be relocated because a reservoir would cover their land. Canada and the United States each operate a portion of the 450-mile seaway. It connects Lake Erie to Montreal to the Atlantic Ocean. Children could read Gail Gibbons’s The Great St. Lawrence Seaway. Children could also visit: Seaway. They could study the Suez Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway in more detail. How are the two alike? How are they different?
Solar powered battery was first demonstrated in 1954. Scientists of Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, used solar powered batteries to activate a toy Ferris Wheel and a radio transmitter. Children can review a timeline of solar energy at: Solar Energy.
William Brennan (born Newark, New Jersey, 1906; died Arlington County, Virginia, July 25, 1997) was an associate justice for the Supreme Court from 1957 to 1990. Children could learn more at: William Brennan.
Ella Fitzgerald (born Newport News, Virginia, 1918; died Beverly Hills, California, June 15, 1996) was a renowned jazz singer.
Maud Hart Lovelace (born Mankato, Minnesota, 1892; died Claremont, California, March 11, 1980) wrote books for children. She is best known for her Betsy-Tacy series. Older children could learn more at: http://www.betsy-tacysociety.org/.
George Ella Lyon (born Harlan, Kentucky, 1949) writes poetry, novels, and picture books for children and young adults. Her books include Holding on to Zoe and Weaving the Rainbow. Her website is: http://www.georgeellalyon.com/.
Guglielmo Marconi (born Bologna, Italy, 1874; died Rome, Italy, July 20, 1937) invented the wireless telegraph. He won the 1909 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention. Children could learn more at: Guglielmo Marconi.
Alvin Schwartz (born Brooklyn, New York, 1927; died Princeton, New Jersey, March 14, 1992) wrote at least 27 books, particularly folklore, for children. He is most known for his Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series.