11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… learning science is catching up to Mr. Rogers.

Meet one of our high-tech educators eternally inspired by Mr. Rogers.


… unicorns, of a sort, existed within human memory.

The Siberian unicorn was running around with humans about 40,000 years ago.
Illustration by Dmitry Bogdanov, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

What other real-life phenomena may have inspired the legend of the unicorn?


… what leading historians think students should be studying right now.

Geography. They should be studying geography.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic

Dig deep with our articles, maps, and interactive resources on history.


… hundreds of sea turtles froze to death off Cape Cod.

Most of the victims were juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, among the most critically endangered in the U.S.
Photograph courtesy Padre Island National Seashore, National Park Service

Where else are sea turtles threatened?


… for many poor students, “No matter how hard you try to meet your needs, there’s an obstacle instead of a bridge.”

Perhaps the best sentence on education we’ve read this year: “When you visit classrooms, when you go to the motels and garages where children live, when you get to know that the heaviest load isn’t what’s in their backpacks, when you learn that some teachers are working 10-hour days, tutoring students during recess and lunch and volunteering to run after-school clubs for no pay, you begin to realize it’s not the schools that are failing — it’s everything else.”
Map by Hillman, Nicholas, and Taylor Weichman. 2016. Education Deserts: The Continued Significance of “Place” in the Twenty-First Century. Viewpoints: Voices from the Field. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

Do regions of poverty overlap with “education deserts”?


… scientists are starting to crack the knotty code of the Incas.

Take a closer look at an Incan quipu, a mnemonic or linguistic system using knots tied in twisted ropes of wool or cotton. The long rope is called the primary cord, to which dangling pendants and subsidiary pendants are attached.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

What are quipus, and why do they have historians in knots?


… what the best nature books of 2018 are.

Illustration by James M. Gurney, National Geographic

What are some of Nat Geo’s favorite books on nature and the environment?


… six reasons why you should always have a paper map.

Nah, our giant maps aren’t made of paper.
Photograph by Dan Beaupre, National Geographic

How do we measure scale and distance on paper maps?


… teachers once quilted maps to the stars.

Ellen Harding Baker used the quilt as a visual aid for lectures she gave on astronomy in Iowa in the late 1800s.
Quilt by Ellen Harding Baker, courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Learn how quilting is still a cartographic skill.


… Qatar is seemingly fulfilling “the most unfeasible bid ever for a World Cup.”

We love this logo that incorporates Arabia’s gorgeous architectural motifs.
Image courtesy 2022 FIFA World Cup

Why is the World Cup about more than soccer?


… Australia’s giant cow is neither giant nor a cow.

What sort of life are Knickers and his more modest colleagues living?

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