Flower

Kid Inventors’ Day

Inventions

Top right: Photo by garryknight on Foter.com / CC BY
Bottom right: Photo by Vanilla and lace on Foter.com / CC BY
Top left and bottom left: CC0 Creative Commons

 

January 17 Is Kids Inventors’ Day!

Benjamin Franklin had countless accomplishments. He is well known for inventions such as bifocal eyeglasses and the lightning rod. But did you know that he invented the first swim flippers at age 12? On Franklin’s birthday January 17, take some time with your students to recognize the achievements of kid inventors. Inventing allows kids to be creative and scientific. It helps them solve problems and see the world around them in different ways. Kids invented water skis, earmuffs, the trampoline and the Popsicle.

Ralph Samuelson–the young inventor of water skis. He invented water skis at age 19.
See page for author [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Kid Inventors’ Day site “500,000 children and teens invent gadgets and games each year. These innovations help make our lives easier – and more fun!” This site includes tips for kid inventors, books, and links for more information as well as teachers’ guides.

Inventing also incorporates all aspects of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). What types of problems can your students solve with these innovation principles?

Kids often think in ways that adults don’t so one British man had several kids’ drawings manufactured into real and often whimsical products. For some fun and inspiration check out Inventors! to see the inventions come to life.

And finally, SIRS Discoverer offers biographies and articles about all sorts of inventors and inventions. Students can also learn about the inspiration for Kid Inventors’ Day: Benjamin Franklin.

What are some things your students have invented? Tweet us photos using #ProQuest #sirsdiscoverer

Don’t have SIRS Discoverer? Request a free trial.

Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Liberation of Auschwitz

Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27. It was established by the UN in 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945, but the date had been observed by many countries for years. Auschwitz was the largest of the Nazi concentration camps—more than a million people were killed there in Hitler’s plan to eliminate Europe’s eleven million Jews.

Knowing that the Allies were closing in, SS leader Heinrich Himmler had ordered the evacuation of concentration camps in hopes of keeping prisoners from falling into Allied hands and telling their stories, as well as to keep them as bargaining chips in possible negotiations at the end of World War II. At Auschwitz in the days before liberation, hundreds had been killed and around 60,000 had been forced to march to Polish cities 30 miles or more away. Those who could not keep up were shot and many died from the cold and starvation—maybe as many as 15,000 did not make it.

When the Soviets finally arrived at Auschwitz, they found more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, most of whom were sick or dying.

Initially, the camp was established to hold Polish political prisoners. It wasn’t until after the January 1942 Wannsee Conference that Auschwitz would become a destination for Jews and other people who were deemed undesirable to the Nazis. One of Himmler’s top deputies, Reinhard Heydrich, convened the meeting of many high-ranking German officials to come up with the implementation of “The Final Solution to the Jewish Question.” Heydrich, dubbed by Hitler as “the man with the iron heart,” was a chief architect of the Holocaust, having had a large part in justifying the invasion of Poland, the planning of Kristallnact and the formation of the Einsatzgruppen in addition to being largely responsible for carrying out the plans for the extermination camps.

As Allied forces made their way through German-held territory, other camps were liberated, ending the sickening Nazi effort at genocide.

Of course, the Holocaust has now become part of the history curriculum (and other curricula), as we continue to examine how the darkness in the heart of a man could lead to the deaths of six million people. It is a difficult subject. eLibrary is here to help educators tackle it with a rich variety of articles, photos, quality website links, maps and more, including the stories of survivors. Many of these assets are gathered together for easy access in our Research Topics, which provide everything from overviews to in-depth analysis to help your students get started on their research or to supplement your instruction.

Holocaust Memorials Research Topic

Holocaust Memorials Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Holocaust Remembrance Day is a good time to examine the lives lost and to reflect on how we can respect human dignity. Following is a partial list of Research Topics relevant to the subject. Other RTs and plenty of individual resources can be discovered by searching in the new eLibrary or by browsing through our Common Assignments and Subjects trees, which have an engaging graphical interface. (Quick tip: After you have done a search, click on “Other Sources” to get at Research Topics more easily.)

If you don’t have a subscription to eLibrary, get a free trial here.

Holocaust

Auschwitz

Holocaust Memorials

Nazi Concentration Camps

Reinhard Heydrich

Kristallnacht

Many of our Holocaust-related RTs have been assembled in this jump page:

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Holocaust

First Meeting of the UN General Assembly: January 10, 1946

“The whole basis of the United Nations is the right of all nations–
great or small–to have weight, to have a vote, to be attended to…”

–US Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965)

Representatives of 26 Allied nations fighting against the Axis Powers meet
in Washington, D.C. to sign the Declaration by United Nations, January 1, 1942.
via Library of Congress [public domain]

 

On this date in 1946, the first General Assembly of the United Nations met at Central Hall Westminster in London. Delegations from 51 nations were present. The General Assembly adopted its first resolution on January 24 of that year, which called for the “control of atomic energy to ensure its use only for peaceful purposes” and “the elimination from national armaments of atomic weapons and all other major weapons adaptable to mass destruction. ” It is interesting that many of the issues considered in the first meeting are still relevant today. Among them were food security, refugees, peacekeeping and nuclear weapons. View a collection of photos from the first meeting of the UN General Assembly here.

The Charter of the United Nations outlines the functions of the General Assembly, which are to discuss, debate, and make recommendations on subjects pertaining to international peace and security, including development, disarmament, human rights, international law, and the peaceful arbitration of disputes between nations.

The General Assembly is the main decision-making and representative assembly in the UN and is responsible for upholding the principles of the UN through its policies and recommendations. It is the only one of the six bodies in the UN where all member states have equal representation: one nation, one vote. Led by a president elected from the member states, it meets from September to December each year, and in special sessions as needed. From its 51 original members, the UN has grown to include 193 member states in 2018, each with a vote in the General Assembly. Today’s United Nations is actively involved in a wide range of areas, which include peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.

Flags at United Nations by Naoki Nakashima from New York, USA
via Wikipedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Notable Actions

Three of the General Assembly’s most notable actions are listed below:

1948: Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This document contains thirty articles that outline the global standards for human rights, and includes the basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled.

1950: ‘Uniting for Peace’ Resolution. The United States initiated the landmark measure that states in the event that the Security Council cannot maintain international peace, a matter can be taken up by the General Assembly.

2000: Millennium Declaration. World leaders came together to commit to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty, by setting eight targets to be achieved by 2015. They have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

Screen Cap from SIRS Issues Researcher United Nations Leading Issue

 

SIRS Issues Researcher provides student researchers insight into the United Nations through its Leading Issues feature. Each Leading Issue includes a topic overview, a timeline of key events, statistics, articles that present the global impact of the problem, and primary source documents that foster an understanding of the history, evolution and continuing impact of the United Nations. Related Leading Issues like Diplomacy, Ethnic Relations, Genocide, Globalization, Sovereignty, Universal Human Rights, U.S. Foreign Aid, and others are also covered in-depth.

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200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

"Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

No doubt since the end of Christmas/Winter break you have been spending some of your time looking around in the new eLibrary (which is pretty cool, if I say so myself). If you teach Literature, now would be a good time to let your students use the resources in eLibrary to research a story that blends some great writing with Greek mythology, Gothic horror and science fiction.

This January marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein. She began writing the story when she was just 18, and the first edition was published January 1, 1818, when she was 20. The original title of the novel was Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.

By now, almost everyone has seen at least one film version of Shelley’s tale. The best known is James Whale’s 1931 classic starring Boris Karloff. This movie, and many others, veered far from Mary’s original story. Even Thomas Edison filmed a version of it in 1910.

SPOILER ALERT!

As Shelley’s story goes, scientist Victor Frankenstein creates an artificial man from the parts of dead bodies and brings the creature to life. The “monster” initially seeks affection from Victor and others but is met with repulsion and horror. Alone and miserable, the creature turns his wrath upon his creator, and Victor dies. Filled with remorse, the monster ends his own life.

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

The name Prometheus in the title comes from a character in Greek mythology who creates man out of clay and then steals fire and gives it to humanity. Zeus punishes Prometheus by sentencing him to eternal torment. In the Romantic era, the figure of Prometheus was often seen as a symbol of humankind’s overreaching quest for scientific knowledge and the consequences that would follow.

eLibrary contains numerous resources to help students learn about Shelley’s Frankenstein as well as other topics such as Romantic literature, Gothic horror, mythology and science fiction.

If you have time, definitely check out James Whale’s films Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), and, just for the fun of it, watch Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (1974) which pokes gentle fun at all of the old horror movies while giving them their due at the same time. In his movie, Brooks used most of the original lab equipment from Whale’s 1931 film.

Click here to learn more about the new elibrary!

Recognizing the Contributions of Women

Women in The Gambia (via ProQuest CultureGrams)

Coming up in March will be National Women’s History Month, and on March 8, International Women’s Day. During this time, we pay special tribute to the contributions of women around the world, both past and present, and we commemorate the struggle for women’s rights. In preparation to celebrate National Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day in 2018, one of the resources you might consider using in your classrooms as you look ahead to March is CultureGrams. CultureGrams offers a wealth of information to help illuminate the contributions and daily lives of ordinary women across the globe. Frankly, there is no reason why you have to wait until March to access this content.  You can use it now.

Of course, you can find good information about women in the CultureGrams country reports themselves, though coverage may vary somewhat from country to country and from category to category. But some of the categories where you might typically find information specifically about women include History, General Attitudes, Personal Appearance, Family, Dating and Marriage, Life Cycle, Recreation, The Arts, Holidays, Government, and Education.

Gender Roles via CultureGrams Mexico Report

Another place to look is in our Photo Gallery. While you could go through our photos country by country or region by region to look for photos of women, a more efficient way might be to do a search of the gallery using the word “women.” If you wanted to further narrow your search, you could include additional words such as “work,” eating,” “games,” “art,” “government,” etc. Not all searches will be fruitful and not all results relevant, but many will be. And using those results, you could create a fascinating slideshow or presentation. You may also find relevant content about women in the slideshow and video areas, though those are not currently searchable.

Photos via CultureGrams Gallery

We also include the perspectives and experiences of women in our collection of Interviews. We’ve included dozens of interviews of women and young girls. You can find out about what a woman’s typical day is like in particular countries, what her role is in her family, how confident she is to make an adequate living, what she worries about, and what aspirations she has for the future. The interviews can reveal a lot about the contributions of women on a day-to-day basis.

Interviews via CultureGrams

CultureGrams also includes brief biographies of women in Famous People. With these bios, you can learn about the accomplishments of some of these women to their countries and cultures.

CultureGrams might not be what would have come first to mind when thinking about celebrating National Women’s History Month or International Women’s Day, but it’s a resource that has a lot to offer.

 

Top 10 Leading Issues of 2017

SIRS Issues Researcher’s Leading Issues is a go-to source for pro/con, debate, and argument assignments. Over the past year, students gravitated to these top 10 Leading Issues and their Essential Questions of debate.

SIRS® Issues Researcher provides background and current analysis necessary for the research and understanding of 356+ current and pervasive Leading Issues. Analysis and opinions cover the pros, cons, and everything in between on the most researched and debated social issues. To learn more about SIRS Issues Researcher, see our LibGuide. You can also request a trial.

Share This 2017 in Review: Your Top 10 Posts

Now that 2017 has come to an end, we want to look back and see what blog posts resonated with our audience. Here are the 10 most popular posts created this past year chosen by you.

Celebrate Visit the Zoo Day!

Today is Visit the Zoo Day. The annual event encourages Americans to spend the day at their local zoo. Zoos offer many learning opportunities and can be an enriching field trip experience. They give students the opportunity to view wildlife they would never otherwise encounter. If you want to celebrate Visit the Zoo Day or you want to create a memorable field trip for your students, consider visiting one of these amazing zoos.

Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

1. San Diego Zoo

The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, with more than 3,500 animals representing over 650 species and subspecies. The goal of San Diego Zoo Global, the umbrella organization for the San Diego Zoo, is to help end extinction. San Diego Zoo Global participates in more than 130 conservation projects in over 35 countries and has reintroduced 43 species into the wild.

 

Giant Panda at Zoo Atlanta

Giant Panda at Zoo Atlanta
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

2. Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta opened its doors in 1889. It is one of only four zoos in the United States where you can view giant pandas. Over 1,300 animals are housed at the zoo, including 40 mammal species and 50 bird species.

 

Lions at Zoo Miami

Lions at Zoo Miami
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

3. Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami is the oldest and largest zoological garden in the state of Florida. The unique South Florida climate allows the zoo to display a wide range of animals from Australia, Africa, and Asia. It is home to over 3,000 animals. 500 diverse species are represented, including over 40 endangered species.

Bear Mountain at the Denver Zoo

Bear Mountain at the Denver Zoo
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

 

4. Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo features over 4,000 animals, including Dall’s sheep, black rhinos, kangaroos, tigers, and grizzly bears. The Denver Zoo boasts one of the most unique exhibits I have ever seen–Bear Mountain. The revolutionary exhibit was built in 1918 and is a national historic landmark. The natural-style animal enclosure lets visitors view grizzly bears at eye level without fences or bars.

 

Giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
(Credit: Michelle Brault)

5. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is “America’s only mountain zoo!” The zoo covers 146 scenic acres and is home to more than 750 animals. It is known for its prolific giraffe herd.

Have you visited any of these zoos? Are you planning a visit or a field trip to your local zoo? Comment below or tweet us using #ProQuest.

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The Punic Wars: Carthage vs. Rome

Punic Wars Research Topic

Punic Wars Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

To Ticinus succeeded Trebia, where, in the consulship of Sempronius, the second outburst of the Punic war was spent. On that occasion, the crafty enemy, having chosen a cold and snowy day, and having first warmed themselves at their fires, and anointed their bodies with oil, conquered us, though they were men that came from the south and a warm sun, by the aid (strange to say!) of our own winter.

This is an excerpt of Florus’ account of the Punic Wars concerning the Battle of Trebia (December 18, 218 BC), which saw Hannibal’s Carthaginian army rout the Romans during the second installment of a set of three wars that would eventually cement Rome’s place as the most powerful player in the Mediterranean region.

The Punic Wars occurred between 264 and 146 BC, in the middle of Rome’s Republican period. They began when both Rome and Carthage, a North African city-state in what is now Tunisia, intervened in military dispute on the island of Sicily between Syracuse and the Mamertines.

The First Punic War, 264-241 BC, was largely a naval war for control of Sicily. Despite Carthage’s initial naval superiority, Rome was victorious and Sicily became the republic’s first province.

The Second Punic War, 218-201 BC, is the most well-known of the Punic Wars because of the Hannibal’s bold traversing of the Alps on Elephants to attack the Romans in Italy. Hannibal had a string of victories with the Battle of Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene and the Battle of Cannae, in which 50,000 Roman soldiers were killed in a single day. Despite his successes, Hannibal eventually had to return home to protect Carthage, where his defeat at the Battle of Zama ended the war.

The Third Punic War, 149-146 BC, was essentially a siege of Carthage, and the result was Scipio Aemilianus’ (Scipio Africanus the Younger) destruction of the city and Roman domination of the Mediterranean by an imperial republic.

Educators, eLibrary has great information for your history classes, as evidenced by the eLibrary article and Research Topics links above. If you are doing a lesson on the Punic Wars, you can direct your students these links and to the immediately relevant RTs below. Or, feel free to just assign this blog entry to them for an overview of the topic.

Research Topics:

Punic Wars

Ancient Rome

Carthage

Hannibal

Five Reasons to Visit Your Library This Holiday Season

Your local library can be a great place for inspiration–or even relaxation–during the hectic holiday rush. Click on our infographic below to see why you should stop by your library this winter holiday season.

Public Libraries During the Holidays

Infographic: Five Reasons to Visit Your Library This Holiday Season (Created by Amy Shaw, Content Editor Senior, ProQuest)