Betsy Ross’s 5-pointed star + 4th of July activities

Flag of the United States from 1777 to 1795.

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In honor of Independence Day we thought it would be fun to look at one story about the first American Flag.

The rough design of the flag was drawn by a committee of George Washington, Robert Morris, and George Ross in 1776.  When approached by the committee, George Ross's niece, a respected seamstress, Betsy Ross, suggested some important changes.  One change was to use a 5-pointed star to represent each of the 13 colonies. The committee objected that a pentagram would be too hard to make. Betsy demonstrated that she could create the desired star by simply folding fabric and making just one scissors cut.  So, the design was changed.

How did she do that fold and cut?

How much is a trillion dollars?

U.S. Congress is now debating how much money to approve on spending for infrastructure.  The numbers are between 1 and 3 trillion dollars. I can't even fathom that amount of money.  Is there a way to imagine it in proportion to something else?

In this activity students wrestle with comparisons to understand a trillion of anything.


Penny Wars anew

Act One: Check out all of the pennies! What questions come to mind?

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If you want the most money, which container should you pick?

What information do you need to answer this question?  What assumptions must you make to solve this problem?

Act Two:  Study and annotate the enlarged picture of the penny jars: close-up-for-students.pdf

What is Juneteenth?

Language just updated!

You can appreciate why this is such a great celebration when you look at the stages and some of the events and dates of America moving towards freedom from slavery.

In this activity students read about the various ways freedom was promised to slaves in America until finally, freedom was gained ... July 19, 1865.

The activity: Juneteenth.pdf