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Biology (with the parts of a cell)
Chemistry (including atoms, the elements and reactions)
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Quatr.us Study Guides Projects and Articles for mid-April:
TAX WEEK: With United States income taxes due April 18th, take a break from the paperwork to read up on the history of taxation. When did people start marking their stuff with seals? When was money first invented? What were coins like in ancient Athens or Thebes? What’s usury, and why did people think it was wrong?
BLACK WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: April is also Black Women’s History month, and I want to start though by honoring the most exciting black woman historian I know, Malisha Dewalt, who tweets as @medievalpoc. Support her Patreon to help her work!
We’ve got lots of articles here honoring black women. We’ll try to add some more as the month goes on, but you could start with the Old Kingdom Egyptian pharaohs Merneith and Ankhesenpepi II, and Ankhesenpepi’s mother Nebet. A thousand years later, there’s the New Kingdom pharaoh Hatshepsut. Further south, there’s the queens of Sudan, the Candaces. In medieval West Africa, check out the women in the Epic of Sundiata, and in the 1600s Jinga Mbandi, the ruler of Angola. In the 1700s there’s the African-American poet Phillis Wheatley, and in the late 1800s the Ghanaian ruler Yaa Asantewaa.
Syria in the news:
Since we just bombed them (again!) here’s some apologetic history of Syria, where we appreciate that people were building palaces there 5000 years ago. Start with the Akkadians, and then the Assyrians. From there, Syria becomes part of the Babylonian Empire, then the Persian Empire. It falls to Alexander in the 300s BC, and becomes the richest part of the Roman Empire, giving us the Roman ruler Julia Maesa. Damascus was the capital of the Umayyads in the 600s AD, and then Syria brought its wealth to the Ottoman Empire.
To celebrate Earth Day (Sunday, April 22nd), start by reading about the Earth itself. Find out what causes eclipses. What was Earth was like right after it formed, in the Hadean Era? Why does the wind blow? When did the first living things appear on Earth? How did mountains form? Why do the continents move around? Why are there earthquakes and volcanoes? And what causes global warming?
This week in history:
ROMULUS AND REMUS: April 21 753 BC is the traditional date of the foundation of the city of Rome by Romulus and Remus; the Roman calendar started with this date. Probably there really had already been a city here for some time, because it was a good place for collecting tolls.
PAUL REVERE: April 18th, 1775 was the day that Paul Revere made his famous ride to warn the American colonists that British soldiers were coming to get the weapons the Americans had stored up in order to fight the Revolutionary War – and the war started the next day. Read the famous poem here.
WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK: On April 20th, there’s another walkout for gun control to stop school shootings and all kinds of shootings – join it by walking out of wherever you are at 10 am local time. And on April 22nd, it’s Earth Day! Go to the March for Science nearest you, and help convince the United States government to keep getting scientists the money they need to find new medicines, invent new kinds of batteries, and preserve the past with archaeology. Here’s how to find your local march.
History Gifts – what to get with your Amazon gift card!
For National Poetry Month, check out Emily Wilson’s wonderful translation of the Odyssey, or get the Golden Treasury of Poetry and read some other classics. There’s Ursula K. LeGuin’s poetry translation of the Tao, or r.h. Sin’s I hope this reaches her in time…, too.
Because it’s also National Arab-American Month, check out the Arabic poets Rumi and Omar Khayyam (in a beautiful illustrated edition). If you’ve got Syria on your mind, check out Trevor Bryce’s Ancient Syria for some background. We’re also liking Joe Marshall’s The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History ($10.36), and Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America ($11.59)
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New discoveries this week:
(it’s a big week! a lot of new finds)
SWEET POTATOES: New work on the DNA of different varieties of sweet potato seems to show that sweet potatoes spread long before there were people in Central America or the Polynesian islands, probably either by floating in the sea or carried by birds. That is discouraging for those who want to believe that South Americans sailed to Polynesia, or the other way around.
NEANDERTHAL TOOLS AND MUSIC: Some cool wooden tools made by Neanderthal people living in Spain about 90,000 years ago seem to have been used to dig up roots to eat. Sadly, the famous Neanderthal bone flute seems to just be cave bear bones bitten by hyenas….
MEDIEVAL DISABILITIES: Archaeologists found a man buried with a knife that he apparently used as a prosthesis, fastened on with leather straps. He was from Lombard Italy, in the 500s-700s AD. The man’s right forearm had been amputated long before he died.
CHEATING DICE?: And archaeologists also turned up this medieval die from the streets of Bergen, in Norway. During the 1400s AD, someone lost this die, which has no one or two, but two fives and two fours. Hmm… (more about the history of dice here).
Seasonal food of the week:
EGYPTIAN FOOD: In memory of Hatshepsut and ancient Egypt, try some Egyptian foods. Start with baba ganoush, hummus, and roasted chickpeas. For the main course, make falafel (to make it more Egyptian, use fava beans instead of chickpeas), or shakshuka (eggs in tomato sauce). For dessert, eat candied dates, or dried figs.