Category Archives: Social Studies Enrichment

Social Studies Enrichment #24: Thanksgiving – The Origin of an American Holiday

As a nation, we’re about to celebrate Thanksgiving this week! Ever wonder how Thanksgiving became a national holiday?

In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26, 1789, as the first nationwide “Day of Public Thanksgiving”. In the years that followed, however, the holiday often changed days of the week and even months of the year.

In the mid-19th century, author Sarah Josepha Buell Hale began a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the final Thursday of November should be set aside by all states – both North and South – as a day of Thanksgiving.

But this year, it’s the second-to-last Thursday in November.  Why did it change?

The last Thursday of November was the standard for about 80 years. In the 1930s, though, store owners began to complain when Novembers with five Thursdays rolled around. They claimed that celebrating Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November in these months didn’t leave enough time for Christmas shopping.

FInally, on December 26th, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress that officially changed Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the 4th Thursday in November.

Above, we mentioned that Sarah Josepha Buell Hale was an author. Just what did she write that you could recite from memory right now?

Click on the film below to find out how Thanksgiving became a national holiday and to find out the answer to that question.

After watching, comment below with the answer and with what you’re most thankful for.



Social Studies Enrichment #23: Do Other Countries Celebrate Halloween?


Halloween is right around the corner and many elementary schools around the United States are planning class parties around this fall holiday.

I wonder – do other countries celebrate Halloween?

What do I do when I wonder something? I head over to Wonderopolis to see if there’s an answer for my wonder.

Click on the Wonderopolis icon above to find out if other countries celebrate Halloween!

In the comments below, post what you learned and what you scored on the quiz!

What else is coming up? The Geography Bee!  Time to practice!

Click on the World Map link to print off a copy of the world map. Label the countries you learned about in the Wonderopolis activity!

Happy Halloween!!


Social Studies Enrichment #22: On This Day In HISTORY!

September 20th: On this day in history, a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set off on the 1st successful circumnavigation of the earth, proving that yes, it is in fact, round.

The voyage took almost three years and claimed 18 out of the original 270 sailors’ lives along the way, including Magellan himself.

Watch the video below to learn all about this famous voyage and respond in the comments section with the fact that you liked the most.

Social Studies Enrichment #21: Rotterdam’s Picturesque Floating Park Is Built Entirely From Recycled Plastic Waste

Problems with plastic in our oceans are increasing. With an estimated 100,000 marine animals being choked, suffocated, or injured by plastic every year, the danger posed by the trillions of pieces of polymer floating in our oceans is well-known.  Go to this link to read an article about how one city is dealing with that problem in a unique way.

After you’ve read, or listened to, that article, go to this link to find out about “22 Facts About Plastic Pollution (And 10 Things We Can Do About It).

In the comments below, please respond with a way YOU can help guard against plastic pollution!

Social Studies Enrichment #20-Geography Wonders

    Calling all Geographers!


Stretch your geography skills by studying several of these Wonderopolis Wonders :

Where is the Forbidden City?- #644

Where is the Windy City?- #897

Where is the Quietest Town in American?-#1557

Which City Has the Longest Name?-#1123

Where is the Oldest City in America?-#692

Where are the Suburbs?-#1547

Have You Ever Been to the Big Apple?-#718

Where is Timbuku?- #1064

Where is the Big Easy?-#1143

How are Cities Founded?-#1229

For each wonder that you study, come up with a creative way to show what you learned. If you would like, create some geography bee style questions. Share your questions and answers in the comments.

Social Studies Enrichment # 19: People and Places

What words would you use to describe Nebraska?  What about a famous Nebraskan like Buffalo Bill?  This Social Studies Enrichment post has you digging into Nebraska history and writing about our great state.

Step 1:  Research Nebraska Facts & Famous People

Step 2:  Write a poem

  • Acrostic: The first letter of each line begins with a letter of the person’s name. The lines consist of words or phrases describing the person’s characteristics.
  • Diamante: A diamond-shaped poem using this formula:
    • person’s name
      two adjectives to describe the person
      three “ing” words related to the subject
      four nouns that describe the person
      three verbs that tell how the person acted or felt
      two adjectives to describe the person
      person’s last name
  • Your Choice:  Choose another poem format

Share your writing with the EY Coordinator at your building.

Ideas taken from:

Image taken from:

Social Studies Enrichment #18: Who Was Saint Patrick?


We just recently celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th!  How many of you know who St. Patrick is?

This Wonderopolis entry answers that question.  Check it out!

Read the article and then test your knowledge by taking the quiz – report your score down below in the comments section, along with the most interesting thing you learned from the article!

If you want to learn even more, has a video and another article about this Patron Saint of Ireland!

Check it out:

Social Studies Enrichment #17: The Great American Melting Pot!

Straight from the dictionary,  “A melting pot is a metaphor for a society where many different types of people blend together as one. America is often called a melting pot.”

All of us can trace our heritage back to another country.  My family came from Ireland and Germany.  It’s fun to find out where our immigrant ancestors came from!

Watch the video below and then tell us in the comments how your family has contributed to this melting pot.  Hint:  You may have to ask your mom, dad, grandma or grandpa for help on this!

Social Studies Enrichment #16: History of New Year’s Eve

Happy New Year!!!!!!  You might be wondering, “Where did the tradition of celebrating the new year come from?”  Or, “Why do we celebrate the new year on January 1st?”

Watch the video below to answer those questions.  Then, in the comments section, let us know how you celebrated the new year!

Social Studies Enrichment #15: The First Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is celebrated in America every November.  The English colonists we call Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as a part of their religion.  But these were days of prayer, not days of feasting. Our national holiday really stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest.

Go to the following link to view the slideshow to see what this first “Turkey Day” might have looked like!