Thomas Bartholin


, , ,

Did you know that Thomas Bartholin was born today in 1616? He was a Danish physician. He is best known for discovering the lymphatic system in humans. The lymphatic system is the body’s drainage system. It collects and redistributes excess lymph fluid, which keeps the body’s cells healthy. The lymphatic system also helps your body fight infection. Lymph nodes filter out worn-out cells and germs. Other parts of the lymphatic system produce antibodies and macrophages, which attack and destroy germs. Without your lymphatic system, you would be very sick!

We hope that you have a healthy day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Thomas Bartholin was also a mathematician and theologian. In the field of medicine Thomas Bartholin also studied refrigeration anesthesia and trisomy 13 (sometimes called Bartholin-Patau syndrome).

Olof Rudbeck is also credited with discovering the human lymphatic system. While he did not publish his findings until 1653, he did present his findings in Queen Christina of Sweden’s court in 1652.

Lymph fluid is a mixture of protein molecules, salts, glucose, and other substances. It brings nutrients to cells and carries away waste. The fluid is moved through the system as the body’s muscles contract during breathing or movement. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, the body’s cells would swell.

When you are fighting an infection, the lymph nodes close to the infection may swell as germs are caught and collected in the lymph nodes. Sometimes doctors check for swollen ‘glands’, which are actually the swollen lymph nodes.

Parts of the lymphatic system include vessels, lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and tonsils.


Margurite Perey


, , ,

Did you know that Marguerite Perey was born today in 1909? She was a French physicist. When Marguerite Perey was young she hoped to study medicine, but her father passed away and her family could not afford for her to go to school. When she was 19 she interviewed for a job and was hired to work and study with Marie Curie. While she was gathering the element actinium for Marie Curie’s experiments, she noticed that the material emitted unexpected radiation. With more research she discovered a new element! She named it “francium” for France.

We hope that you have a perceptive day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The symbol for francium is Fr. The atomic number is 87. It was previously known as eka-caesium or actinium K. It is the second rarest naturally occurring element and is highly radioactive. It decays into astatine, radium and radon.

After the discovery of francium, Marguerite Perey received a grant to start her studies at university. She received her PhD and eventually made the head of the department of nuclear chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. She founded a laboratory that would eventually become the Laboratory of Nuclear Chemistry in the Center for Nuclear Research.

Marguerite Perey was the first woman to be elected to the French Academie des Sciences. This honor was denied to her mentor, Marie Curie.

Marguerite Perey hoped that francium could be used to diagnose cancer, but francium was highly carcinogenic. Perey eventually developed bone cancer, which lead to her death.

Word Day – bio



Did you know that the word root ‘bio’ comes from the Greek word bios (βίος or βιοῦν), which means life or ‘to live’? Many English words with this root are related to life or living things. A biography is a book about someone’s life. A biologist is a scientist that studies living things, a microbiologist studies microscopic life, and an astrobiologist studies life in space. Symbiosis is a situation where two different organisms live together and interact with each other, like a clownfish and anemone. Can you think of any other ‘bio’ words?

We hope that you ‘lively’ day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Symbiosis can be mutualistic (helps all organisms involved, like clownfish and anemone or sea urchins and crabs), commensalistic (one organism benefits, but the other is not harmed, think remora and sharks), or parasitic (one organism benefits at the expense of another, like mistletoe or tapeworms).

Biomorphism is the use of abstract forms in art or architecture that are reminiscent or evoke natural forms. For example, columns that branch and resemble tree trunks or forests.

A biopolymer is a polymer (a large molecule that is created of repeated, smaller units) that is produced by a living organism. Examples of biopolymers are cellulose and rubber.

Evel Knievel



Did you know that Robert Craig Knievel Jr. was born today in 1938? He was a stunt performer. He gained the stunt name he is known by during a short stay in jail. Another prisoner, William Knofel, had the nickname “Awful Knofel”; the jailer gave Knievel the nickname “Evil Knievel”. Robert changed the name to “Evel”, because he did not want to be considered ‘evil’ (he did stop committing crimes and started a career in entertainment). During his stunt career he attempted more than 75 motorcycle jumps. He jumped over boxes of snakes and mountain lions, sharks, rows of cars, fountains, and canyons. His longest jump was more than 140 feet!

We hope that you have an astonishing day at school. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Evel Knievel left high school after his sophomore year. He started work at a local copper mine. He later lost the job when he maneuvered the large earth mover he was operating to do a ’wheelie’. He ended up driving the earth mover into the town’s main power line, causing a power outage that lasted several hours.

Evel Knievel also participated in rodeos, ski jumping, and pole vaulting.

Evel Knievel served in the US Army.

Evel Knievel also worked as a hunting and fishing guide. His business was doing well until game wardens realized that Knievel was taking his clients into Yellowstone Park and poaching; later when Knievel learned that the government was culling herds of elk in Yellowstone, he hitchhiked from Butte to Washington DC with a set of elk antlers and a petition with 3,000 signatures.

After a motocross accident and injury, Evel Kneievel worked as an insurance salesman.

One of the motorcycles Evel Knievel used during one of his stunts is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

While remembered for his stunt work and somewhat flamboyant character, Evel Knievel was also an advocate for motorcycle helmet safety. He also supported anti-drug campaigns and messages as well as the importance of being honest and keeping one’s word.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


, ,

Did you know that in 1950 C.S. Lewis’ novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, was published? When C.S. Lewis was 16, he thought of an image of a Faun carrying an umbrella and packages. Almost 30 years later, this idea inspired C.S. Lewis to write a story about it, a story that became The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. At first, the book was not very popular, but now the book ranks high on lists of popular and well-read books. The novel has been translated into 47 different languages and made into television shows, theater plays, and movies.

We hope that you have a fantastic day at school. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first of the seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia series. He finished writing the story at the end of March 1949. He completed the sequel to the book, Prince Caspian, at the end of 1949.

When The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was first published, people expected realistic stories for older children. It was thought that fantasy was for very young children and even that fantasy stories were unhealthy for older children. Some adults worried that the story was too moralistic, while others worried that children would be frightened by the violent incidents.

Initially there were slight differences between the books published in the British and American versions of the books. The British version of the books had 43 illustrations, while the American version only had 17. Different wording or names for characters and places appears in British and American versions as well. Current editions of the book follow the original British edition.

Whirlpool Galaxy


, ,

Did you know that in 1773 Charles Messier discovered the Whirlpool Galaxy? It was the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. Other types of galaxies include elliptical (like a squashed sphere), rings, or irregular (no defined shape). Although the Whirlpool Galaxy is 15-35 million light years away from Earth, in a dark sky it can be seen with an amateur telescope or binoculars. The Whirlpool Galaxy can be found in the constellation Canes Venatici, which is near the constellations Big Dipper and Boötes.

We hope that you have an impressive day at school. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Initially, the Whirlpool Galaxy was known as a ‘spiral nebula’. It was not recognized as a completely separate galaxy until Edwin Hubble proved that the stars in these ‘nebula’ were so far away they had to be in separate galaxies.

The Whirlpool Galaxy is also known as Messier 51a, M51a, or NGC 5194. Messier discovered the nebula/galaxy while looking for objects in the night sky that might confuse comet hunters.

The Whirlpool Galaxy is also an interacting galaxy. Its companion is NGC 5195

Desmond Doss


, ,

Did you know that in 1945, Desmond Doss was awarded the US Medal of Honor? The US Medal of Honor is awarded to soldiers who perform an act of great valor or courage. Desmond Doss showed courage in many ways. Although his personal beliefs and religion were against violence, he entered military service to help his country during World War II. To uphold his beliefs, he did not carry a weapon and refused to kill enemy soldiers. Instead, he worked as a medic and during battles he searched for and saved wounded soldiers. During the fierce and dangerous Battle of Okinawa, he saved the lives of 75 wounded soldiers!

We hope that you act courageously today at school. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Desmond Doss is the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Desmond Doss was also awarded two Bronze Star Medals.

Desmond Doss’ life and story has been the subject of books and movies. One documentary is The Conscientious Objector. Another movie was made in 2016 called, Hacksaw Ridge.

During his service, Desmond Doss was wounded four times. Eventually he was evacuated. Extensive damage to his arm made it impossible for him to continue his pre-war career in carpentry. He had also contracted tuberculosis during his service; during the course of treatment one lung and five ribs were removed. He also lost his hearing after an overdose of antibiotics.

From Desmond Doss’ Medal of Honor citation:

He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Private First Class Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them one by one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and two days later he treated four men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave’s mouth, where he dressed his comrades’ wounds before making four separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small-arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Private First Class Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited five hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Private First Class Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers’ return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Private First Class Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.

Word Day – herb


, ,

Did you know that the word root ‘herb’ comes from the Latin word herba, which means grass? Many English words with this root are related to plants or growing things. An ‘herb’ is a plant that is used to season food, for medicine, or perfume. ‘Herbal’ describes something that is made from or related to herbs, like tea or soap. ‘Herbicide’ is a chemical that kills plants, like weed killer, and is used to get rid of unwanted plants. Can you think of any other ‘herb’ words?

We hope that you bloom and grow at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
In the 1200’s the French word ‘erbe’ described grass or plants fed to animals. In the 1300’s the word shifted to be used for a non-woody plant, one used for human food.

Records as far back as 5000 BCE show that humans used herbs in medicine. Previously, only plants with non-woody stems were categorized as ‘herbs’. But, modern herbs include plant materials from trees and bushes such as rosemary and bay laurel.

World Space Week: Exploring New Worlds in Space


, , , , ,

Did you know that October 4-10 is World Space Week? The theme for 2017 is “Exploring New Worlds in Space”. As part of the celebration we can think about space missions like New Horizons, Cassini, and Juno, which study other planets in our solar system. Or we can learn about engineering projects such as the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, NASA’s next generation space suits, or Space X’s Dragon spacecraft, which try to solve the problem of how to get people into space and perhaps colonize other planets. When it comes to space and exploration, the sky is not the limit. It’s just the beginning. Dream big, little one!

Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
For more information about World Space Week, click here.

For more information about past and present NASA space missions, click here.

For more information about Orion, click here.

For more information about Space X, click here.

Space Shuttle Atlantis


, , ,

Did you know that in 1985, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made its first flight? Atlantis was the fourth of out of six Space Shuttles built. It was part of 33 space missions. By its last mission, Atlantis orbited the Earth more than 4800 times and travelled almost 126,000,000 miles! Atlantis was used to deploy or repair space probes, satellites, and telescopes; and to bring astronauts, supplies, and building materials to space stations. In July 2011, Atlantis completed the last of the Space Shuttle missions. Currently, Atlantis is on display at the Kennedy Space Center.

We hope that you have a hard-working day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The designation for Atlantis’ first flight was STS-51 -J

Atlantis is named for the sailing ship, RV Atlantis, a research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Atlantis is about 122 feet long, 56 feet high, and 78 feet from wingtip to wingtip. Atlantis is the lightest of the Space Shuttles, weighing 151,315 pounds.

Maintenance workers nicknamed Atlantis “Britney”, since it seemed to have more maintenance problems that needed to be addresses between flights.