Here’s an advance look at some of the “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events coming up this week. For each date, we’ve matched it with a map or visual, background information, and a classroom activity so you can plan ahead.
Check out our Pinterest board for additional resources!
Wednesday, March 14
TDIGH 1879: Happy Birthday, Albert Einstein
The German theoretical physicist invented the most famous equation in history—E=mc², the mass-energy equivalence—and changed the way we think about gravity, space, and time.
Media: Listen to Einstein explain his theory of relativity and its implications (“a very small amount of mass may be converted to a very large amount of energy, and vice versa”), in less than a minute.
Background: Who was Albert Einstein?
Activity: Read about Einstein’s theory of general relativity and take this quick quiz!
Thursday, March 15
TDIGH 44 BCE: Julius Caesar Assassinated
Julius Caesar’s brutal murder on the floor of the Senate led to a series of civil wars and the eventual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
Map: Take a look at the extent of the Roman world at the time of Caesar’s death, and compare it to the gains made after the republic became an empire.
Background: What were the critical attributes of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire? How did the two systems impact citizens’ lives? Use our great activity to help introduce students to these questions.
Activity: Watch a clip from the movie Mean Girls and discuss how the movie’s plot is similar to Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.
Thursday, March 15
TDIGH 1813: Happy Birthday, John Snow
Snow, a doctor, was the first person to use the geographic method to keep track of cholera cases during an outbreak in London. His early maps helped locate the outbreak’s source, and earned Snow the title “father of epidemiology.”
Map: Take a look at Snow’s breakthrough map, and recreate it using this terrific ArcGIS activity.
Background: Read this delightfully illustrated account of “John Snow and the Broad Street Pump: On the Trail of an Epidemic.” (Can anything about cholera be delightful?)
Activity: Use our activity “Mapping a London Epidemic” to help students understand how maps like John Snow’s can be used to help solve community problems.
Saturday, March 17
TDIGH: Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Though less connected to the original 4th-century saint, the holiday of St. Patrick’s Day has endured as a celebration of Irish identity.
Map: Who celebrates St. Patrick’s Day? Use our study guide and lovely interactive map of the Irish diaspora to help students explore this 19th-century migration.
Background: Use these class activities and racist political cartoons to better understand the anti-immigrant bias Irish migrants faced. Then take another look at St. Patrick’s Day facts, myths, and traditions.
Activity: Try your luck with our St. Patrick’s Day Quiz!
Sunday, March 18
TDIGH 1852: Wells Fargo Founded
Like the other company founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo—American Express—Wells Fargo was originally an express-delivery business.
Media: How did Wells Fargo become a part of the geography of the West? With iconic stagecoaches and ponies, of course. Learn more about efficient transportation options in the pre-railroad era.
Background: Wells Fargo pivoted to financial services because of competition from railroads. What other businesses were impacted by railroad commerce?
Activity: Take a listen to “The Wells Fargo Wagon” from the musical The Music Man. With younger students, discuss what goods the Wells Fargo stagecoach might bring to them. With older students, discuss representation (who might expect packages from Wells Fargo, and who might not), where those packages would come from, and look for anachronisms in the musical.