Boston Molasses Disaster occurred in 1919. No, this is not a hoax; this was a terrible disaster. On this day in 1919 a huge tank holding about 2,300,000 gallons of molasses ruptured, sending a tsunami of molasses into the streets of the North End part of Boston. Moving at 35 miles per hour, the molasses wave leveled buildings, trapped people, and even hurled a truck into Boston Harbor. About 21 people died, and 150 more were injured. Children could read The Great Molasses Flood by Deborah Kops. They could also watch a very interesting video at: Boston Molasses Disaster.
Polar bear was put on display in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1733. Idea: Children could discuss why this would be a very big event for that time period. Carnivores, polar bears are becoming rare. Today scientists estimate 20,000 to 25,000 polar bear exist. Experts believe that by 2050 that number will be cut in half. Children can learn more about polar bears and see some great photos at: Polar Bear. Interesting coincidence – Raymond Briggs, born on January 18th, wrote a book in 1994 about a polar bear called The Bear. It was made into a short animated video.
Paper money was used for the first time in 1690 in the colony of Massachusetts. Idea: Children could debate the pros and cons of using paper money as opposed to coins. They can visit the Bureau of Printing and Engraving site: Paper Money.
Roger Williams landed in America in 1631. He came for religious freedom, but he found the Massachusetts colony restrictive. Banished by Massachusetts leaders in early 1636, he founded the colony of Rhode Island and the city of Providence. Children can learn more at: Roger Williams.
Massachusetts became the sixth state in the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1788. The word Massachusetts means, “at or about the great hill.” The state ranks forty-fifth in size and thirteenth in population. Its state beverage is cranberry juice. Children could visit an internet site at: Massachusetts. They could toast Massachusetts’s birthday with cranberry juice.
Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan of Massachusetts in 1895. He invented a game to be played indoors and that would provide good exercise but not as much physical contact as other sports, for example basketball.
Salem witch trials commenced in 1692. The mania concluded in the fall. Nineteen people were hanged. One man was pressed to death. Over 50 more people awaited execution, and 150 were in jail, waiting to be tried. All the living were pardoned by late 1692. Older children could read Beyond the Burning Time by Kathryn Lasky.
Telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His first telephone message was “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” Children can learn more at: Telephone.
Maine became the twenty-third state of the United States in 1820. Vikings explored the area around AD 1000. Originally Maine was a part of the Massachusetts colony. Augusta is the state capital, and the state nickname is the “Pinetree State.” People who live in Maine are called Down-Easters. Today fishing, lumbering, and growing potatoes are strong sources of income. It is home to Acadia National Park. The moose is the state mammal. Children can visit an Internet site at: Maine. Idea: Children could find out when and why Maine separated from Massachusetts.
Robert Goddard fired the first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to this launch, only solid-fueled propellents had been constructed. His work regarding different fuels and rockets became the foundation of America’s space program. Older children can see how liquid-fueled rockets work at: http://science.howstuffworks.com/rocket5.htm.