Roald Amundsen found the South Pole in 1911. People had been trying to locate the South Pole for hundreds of years. He, four other adults, and over 50 sled dogs located the pole. All five men returned to base camp safely. Children could find learn more about his mysterious death.
James Harold Doolittle (born Alameda, California, 1896; died Pebble Beach, California, September 27, 1993) was an aviator and military hero. As a young man, he was the first person to fly across North America in under a day. During World War II, he led the first aerial raid on five cities in Japan. He also spearheaded the Eighth Air Force for the Normandy invasion.
Margaret Madeline Chase Smith (born Skowhegan, Maine, 1897; died Skowhegan, Maine, May 29, 1995) was the first female to be elected to both the House of Representatives (1941) and to the Senate (1949). Children could find out how the requirements for being a representative differ from those of being a senator.
Tycho Brahe (born Scania, then part of Denmark but today part of Sweden, 1546; died Prague, then part of the Holy Roman Empire, October 24, 1601) was an astronomer and alchemist. The telescope had not yet been invented. However, he used the best instruments then available to make great contributions to the field of astronomy. He recorded planetary motions, observed a supernova, and mathematically concluded that comets were farther away from earth than the moon. He was not always correct in his work, but he provided the foundation for other great astronomers. Here is an interesting fact: in a duel (over an astronomical concept) he lost all or part of his nose. After the duel he wore a fake nose made out of metal.
Bill of Rights became part of the Constitution in 1791. The first ten amendments became a part of the Constitution when Virginia ratified them. Presidential Proclamations have marked this day since 1962. Children could view an excellent infographic from Kids Discover: Bill of Rights.
Vega I was launched by the Soviet Union in 1984. It dropped scientific balloons into the atmosphere of Venus on June 11, 1985, and then made contact with Halley’s Comet in March of 1986. It took many images of the comet and studied the comet’s nucleus and coma. Now Vega I circles the sun. Older children can learn more at: Vega I.
Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened in 2001 after 11 years of repair, costing 27 million dollars. Construction was started on the bell tower in 1173, and the structure began tilting north soon after. The foundation rested on soft soil. Builders tried to compensate, but the tower began to lean in a southern direction. Several other rescues were made, but the building continued to tilt. By 1990 officials feared the building would topple, and they closed the structure to the public. The latest round of repairs seems to have worked. Slowly the workers removed soil from beneath the foundation while applying weights on the other side. Children could read Building History – The Tower of Pisa by James Barter.
Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (born Dijon, France, 1832; died Paris, France, December 23, 1923) was a French architect and engineer. He designed bridges, train stations, and churches. However, he is most famous for designing the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Toward the end of his life, he devoted himself to studying aerodynamics and meteorology. Children could learn more about the Eiffel Tower at: Eiffel Tower.
Betty Smith (born Brooklyn, New York, 1896; died Shelton, Connecticut, January 17, 1972) was an author. She wrote, among other works, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
Las Posadas is celebrated in Mexico. This event begins December 16th and ends December 24th. Each evening families walk from house to house, seeking shelter for Mary and Joseph. At the last house, everyone enters. People feast and dance, and a piñata is broken open. Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith’s Las Posadas: an Hispanic Christmas Celebration gives great insights into this tradition.
Republic of Kazakhstan celebrates Independence Day. In 1991 it broke away from the Soviet Union. According to the CIA World Factbook, Kazakhstan is about four times the size of Texas. Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. About 16 million inhabitants live in this arid country. Although Almaty is the biggest city, Astana is the capital. Kazakhstan exports oil and wheat. Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan’s desert steppe, is the world’s oldest and largest space launch site.
Bahrain celebrates National Day. The country broke away from Great Britain in 1971. This archipelago of 33 islands lies in the Persian Gulf. According to the CIA World Factbook, Bahrain is about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC. About 1.2 million people live in this desert country, and Manama is the capital. Bahrain’s economy depends on oil exports and tourism.
Boston Tea Party was a protest against a duty placed on imported tea. In 1773 over one hundred men, dressed as Indians and led by Samuel Adams, boarded three English ships moored in Boston’s harbor. They dumped at least 300 chests of tea overboard. They did not wish to pay the tax for the tea. The British retaliated by imposing the Intolerable Acts on the colonists. These acts led to further opposition on the part of the colonists and eventually the meeting of the First Continental Congress. Children could read The Boston Tea Party, by Russell Freedman. Were the patriots right in what they did?