Indiana became the nineteenth state of the United States in 1816. Indianapolis is the state capital, and the state’s nickname is the Hoosier State. Mound builders lived in the area around AD 1000. It is about 36,185 miles square, placing it thirty-eighth in area. It ranks fourteenth in population. Farming is a leading source of employment in the north, and rich coal deposits can be found in the southern parts of the state. It is the leading U. S. producer of limestone. Children could visit an Internet site at: Indiana. The Indianapolis 500 has been running since 1911. Children could make a board game about Indiana. The board could be a speed track. The students who know the most about Indiana would win the game.
Aurora Borealis was first documented in North America in New England in 1719. Stories state that Cotton Mather observed the natural phenomenon and considered it an omen of evil. An aurora borealis (northern lights) occurs when charged particles from a solar wind interact with earth’s atmosphere. Children can visit the Library of Congress website with some great questions and answers about the aurora borealis: Aurora Borealis.
Orion successfully returned to earth in 2022. Artemis I sent Orion, its upper stage without humans aboard, toward the moon on November 16, 2022. Orion traveled 1.4 million mles and circled the moon for 25.5 days before returning to earth. Data regarding both the project and the moon will indicate how to improve Artemis II that will send four astronauts to the moon in 2024. The rocket launched from Cape Kennedy Space Center. Orion splashed down in the Pacific Ocean when it returned. Older children can learn more at: Artemis I.
Annie Jump Cannon (born Dover, Delaware, 1863; died Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 13, 1941) was an astronomer. She located several hundred new stars. However, she is best known for cataloging and classifying more than 225,000 stars. She developed a system that used the letters O, B, A, F, G, K, and M. O=blue stars (the hottest stars), B=blue-white stars, A=white stars, F=yellow-white stars, G=yellow stars, K=orange stars, M= red stars (the coolest stars). Children could read Annie Jump Cannon, Astronomer, written by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Christina Wald. Older children could learn more at: Annie Jump Cannon.
Robert Koch (born Clausthal, Germany, 1843; died Baden-Baden, Germany, May 27, 1910) was one of the earliest bacteriologists. He discovered the specific bacteria that cause tuberculosis, anthrax, cholera, and other diseases. He also conducted experiments on sleeping sickness. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1905 for his studies regarding tuberculosis. Children could read Robert Koch and the Study of Anthrax by Kathleen Tracy. Perhaps a nurse could visit and discuss the importance of getting rid of bacteria.
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn (born Kislovodsk, USSR, 1918; died Moscow, Russia, August 3, 2008) was a Russian author, activist, and dissident. One of his best known works is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. He was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Poinsettia Day marks the death of Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett. A United States diplomat assigned to Mexico, he was the first person to bring the poinsettia plant from Central America to the United States. The plant was named in honor of him. He died in 1851 near Statesburg, South Carolina. Now the poinsettia is associated with the Christmas season. The red portions of a poinsettia are actually a type of bracket leaf. The real flowers are the yellow dots in the center of the red bracket leaves. Children could read Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of the Poinsettia.
Kenya celebrates Jamhuri Day. Kenya gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. Today is also its Constitution Day, established a year later in 1964. This east African country, located along the equator, is slightly larger than the state of California. More than 40 million people live in this tropical country; Nairobi is the capital. Kenya exports coffee, tea and petroleum. Kenya’s coffee is quite strong. Children could find out how coffee is grown and harvested. They could also learn more at: Kenya.
Pennsylvania became the second state of the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1787. William Penn received a charter for the colony in 1681 and named it after his father. The name means, “Penn’s Woods.” The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were both signed in Philadelphia, home of the Liberty Bell. Harrisburg is the state capital, and its nickname is the Keystone State. In 1780 it was the first state to end slavery. It is a large transportation center, since it has access to both the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Erie. Children could discover what a keystone is and how it relates to Pennsylvania’s nickname. They could also visit the America’s Library site at: Pennsylvania.
Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transoceanic radio signal from England to Newfoundland (2,200 miles) in 1901. He flew a kite 500 feet in the air to keep his antenna up and used Morse Code to transmit “s,” which is “- – -.” He, along with Ferdinand Braun, received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics. Older children could learn more at: Marconi.
William Lloyd Garrison (born Newburyport, Massachusetts, 1805; died New York, New York, May 24, 1879) was an abolitionist and a writer. He was the editor of The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper. Following the Civil War and the end of slavery, he became a proponent of women’s rights.
John Jay (born New York, New York, 1745; died Bedford, New York, May 17, 1829) was a diplomat and a writer. He co-authored the Federalist papers and was the first chief justice of the Supreme Court. Children could learn more at: John Jay.
Edvard Munch (born Loten, Norway, 1863; died Ekely, Norway, January 23, 1944) was an artist. He is known for The Scream, created in 1893. Older teenagers might want to visit the Munch portion of the Google Art Project at: Edvard Munch.
Santa Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden and other countries. Girls put on white dresses, wear a crown of candles, and wake their families with coffee, Lucia Buns (lussekatter or saffron buns), and music. During the evening church service, processions of girls honor Saint Lucy. For a Lucia Buns recipe, children could visit: Lucia Buns.