Teaching January

by Kids Discover

Happy New Year! As you plan for the first month of 2017, mark these historic anniversaries and birthdays on your calendar and bookmark these reading resources for your students. Be sure to follow along on Twitter and Facebook for daily #FreeTopic updates. Have a great month!


Tuesday January 3rd – Brooklyn Bridge construction began on this day in 1870

Brooklyn Bridge

Steel suspenders were hung from the cables to hold the steel deck. (From our topic How the Brooklyn Bridge Was Built.)

Between 1810 and 1850, the population of Brooklyn, New York, jumped from about 3,000 to over 100,000. To help the greater population cross from Brooklyn to New York, construction on a new bridge began in 1870. Kids interested in engineering will love our topic on How the Brooklyn Bridge Was Built, from our unit on Bridges.


Thursday, January 5th – National Bird Day 

bird day

Lightweight binoculars are best for bird-watching. (From our topic Bird Watching.)

On National Bird Day, kids will get the facts on feathers, eggs and nests in our unit on Birds. And did you know many birders can identify dozens of birds at a glance? With our topic on Bird Watching, students can learn the skills necessary to identify certain species.


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

First Presidential Election

The decision to elect George Washington as president was unanimous. (From our topic America’s Democracy.)

The 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.


Monday, January 16th – Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (b.1929)


Dr. King gives his “I have a dream” speech. (From our unit MLK Jr.)

Martin Luther King, Jr. preached love and believed nonviolent protest was the only way towards equality and justice for black Americans. Celebrate his legacy with this unit


Friday, January 20th – Buzz Aldrin’s birthday (b.1930)

First Men on the Moon

The men landed on the Moon five months before Kennedy’s deadline. (From our topic The First Man on the Moon.)

In 1969, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and copilot Neil Armstrong became the first men to step onto the moon. They explored the lunar surface for two hours while over 700 million people watched on television. Read about Apollo 11 following missions in our topic The First Man on the Moon.


Tuesday, January 24th – California Gold Rush began on this day in 1848

gold rush

Settlers first found gold in 1948. (From our topic Immigration Throughout History.)

Gold! That was the call. It came from Sutter’s Mill in Sacramento and spread like fever—gold fever! Drawn by the idea of easy riches, people from all over the United States and Mexico flocked to California. Learn about the gold rush and other great migrations in our topic Immigration Throughout History.


Tuesday, January 31st – Jackie Robinson’s birthday (b.1919)

Jackie Robinson

Jackie had three older brothers and one older sister. This 1925 photo shows Mack, Jackie, Edgar, Willa Mae, Frank, and their mother, Mallie (seated). (From our topic Young Jackie.)

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on a plantation near Cairo, Georgia. His grandparents had worked there while they were enslaved. He grew up to become one of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the first black baseball player in the big leagues. Learn about his life in our unit on Jackie Robinson and his childhood in our topic Young Jackie.


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