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Thu, 02/11/2016 - 11:08am

Settlers started moving west as soon as the land by the eastern rivers was claimed.  Wanting the right to expand into more territory was one of the factors in the American Revolution, including anger at the Proclamation of 1763 that restricted further settlement. Indeed, many veterans of the Revolution received land grants in the west for their service.  In the late 1700s to the early 1800s, the West could mean Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and parts of Pennsylvania. As those places filled up, too, and immigrants kept on coming, they eventually spread across the plains and into the heartland.

Wed, 01/27/2016 - 2:34pm

Our 16th president was a very odd-looking man. Long-limbed and raw-boned, this frontier president grew up without a lot of the niceties we take for granted today. He grew up surrounded by wilderness and not having much schooling. As he remembered it, "...I could read, write, and cipher (simple math) ... but that was all."

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 9:27am

George Mason, future patriot, spent part of his childhood in Stafford County. His father died by drowning when he was very young, so he sometimes stayed with relatives including his uncle, John Mercer who lived at Marlborough Point. His uncle was a lawyer and landowner. He had a large library for the time—more than 1,500 books—and 11-year-old George enjoyed the library, including law commentaries his uncle had written. 

After studying at a private school in Maryland and with tutors (including his uncle), George Mason took control of his family’s lands. He was the second largest land owner in Fairfax County—the largest being George Washington. When Washington went to serve as head of the Continental Army, George Mason took his place in the Virginia legislature. 
Wed, 12/30/2015 - 9:52am

Where Are the Great Plains?

The Great Plains are the part of North America east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Mississippi River. The American states that are part of this region are Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The land there is flat and includes prairie, steppe and grassland.

Who Are the Plains Indians?

There were many differently-named tribes who lived on the Great Plains when the Europeans came, but they mostly shared a common culture because of living in similar environments. The buffalo (bison) was a major source of food along with other game and cultivated crops. They also gathered wild fruits and vegetables. Nomadic (roaming) tribes lived in large teepees, often painted with religious symbols. Tribes that did not roam often lived in earthen or grass lodges and would grow crops.

Mon, 11/30/2015 - 8:25pm

Sound travels in waves, much like those that roll across the ocean, to give our ears information which we may or may not understand. These sound waves are very much like those that light uses, too, whether it’s the (mostly) steady flow of light from the Sun or spectacular 4th of July fireworks which combine light and sound for an amazing night of excitement.  But sound waves are also used for communication amongst humans and amongst other life forms to tell about important things (Predator coming!) and not so important things (the bus is late—again!). 

When we cannot see, sound can be used to know where we are and to help us find our way. This can be as easy as listening for the sound of traffic if you are lost in the woods or as sophisticated as using sonar to find sunken treasure or enemy vessels. There are certain animals, such as bats, that don’t rely on their sense of sight very much at all. Living mostly in the dark, they use their own sonar to know where they are.

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