Teaching January

by Elisabeth Morgan

Happy New Year! We hope 2016 is off to a fun and productive start with your students. January is filled with historical birthdays and anniversaries, and the following resources will help keep young readers engaged all month long.


January 4th – Isaac Newton’s Birthday

Force_Motion_10_1400Celebrate the work of Sir Isaac Newton this month by introducing kids to his First Law of Motion. This topic from our unit on Force and Motion will teach them about inertia, mass and gravity, key scientific principles that rule our universe. If you’d like additional material, our Free Infopacket includes a helpful overview of Force and Motion and a 5-question assessment.

January 7th – The First U.S. Presidential Election was held on this day in 1789

George Washington PenThe first presidential election under a brand new constitution came to a close 227 years ago with the unanimous decision to elect George Washington as our first president. In our unit How America Works, kids can take a tour through our portrait gallery of the 44 presidents since then, and learn about the difficult process of getting elected. Other topics explain Checks and Balances, The Legislative Branch, The Executive Branch, and more. 


January 11th – On this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Pacific Ocean


Earhart was the first woman to make the journey across the Atlantic, but there was a lot that led up to that iconic flight. Learn about the Timeline of Aviation and The Mechanics of Flight in our unit on the Wright Brothers. For kids fascinated by flight, this unit – which follows the brothers as they build and fly the first real airplane, and also looks at other attempts at flight – provides all the fun facts they need to know.



January 14th – Anniversary of the End of the Revolutionary War

yorktown235 years ago the British surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown, and the Revolutionary War was finally over. But why did American colonists want independence in the first place? If you sometimes don’t want to do what your parents tell you, then you have an idea of how Great Britain’s 13 colonies felt in the 1770s. Our unit on the American Revolution describes Important Events of the Revolution, what life was like just After the Revolution, and other topics that will help students understand this pivotal time in history.


January 15th – MLK’s Birthday

dream_1400_1MLK Jr. was born 87 years ago today, and schools across the country take a long weekend in honor of this revolutionary activist. But Who Was Martin Luther King Jr.? What actions did he take to help the Civil Rights Movement grow? And what was 19th Century America like when it came to race? Find out with this unit dedicated solely to Dr. King.

This is a also a great opportunity to teach kids about the broader topic of Civil Rights in the United States, and to discover the protests, violence, and political upheaval that marked this period and continue to be relevant today.


January 17th – Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday

WRH_Ben-Franklin_Kite_cc_1060Ben Franklin was born 310 years ago today! Best known for his tests with a kite, a key, and a lightning bolt, as well as his contributions to both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Franklin is often called our oldest and wisest founding father. Celebrate the life of this influential jack-of-all-trades by diving into topics about his role as a Scientist and Inventor, Patriot and Statesman, and learn about his early years in Young Ben.