Teaching Strategies, Tactics, and Methods

What is Neutralization?

Neutralization is a chemical reaction in which an acid reacts with a base or an alkali to form salt and water.

Acids, alkalis, and bases

An acid is a substance that dissolves in water to form a solution with a pH below 7.

A base is any substance that only reacts with an acid to form salt and water.

Examples include metal oxides and metal hydroxides.

The process in which this happens is called a neutralization reaction.

Some bases are soluble in water. These are called alkalis, which have a pH of 7 and above.

Pure water is neutral, with a pH of 7.

Neutralisation reactions

Neutralization reactions are exothermic, meaning that the reaction mixture is heated during the response.

Reactions with metal oxides

acid + metal oxide → salt + water

The salt made depends on the specific metal oxide and acid.

For example, copper chloride is made if copper oxide and hydrochloric acid are combined in a neutralization reaction.

Reactions with metal hydroxides

Some metal hydroxides dissolve in water, so they form alkaline solutions.

acid + metal hydroxide → salt + water

As with metal oxides, the salt depends on the metal hydroxide and the acid used.

How is neutralization used?

In the body, neutralization can stop the stomach from producing too much hydrochloric acid.

This can be done by ingesting antacid tablets which contain bases such as magnesium carbonate.

In nature, bee stings are acidic, and baking powder can neutralize the acid in the sting.

Farmers also use lime (calcium oxide) to counteract and neutralize acidic soil.

What is a Plant Cell?

The cell was first discovered in 1665 by an English scientist named Robert Hooke. He observed tiny boxes when examining the bark from an oak tree, and he called these boxes cells.

Plant cells form the basic unit of life in organisms of the Plantae kingdom and are classified as eukaryotic cells meaning their nucleus is within a nuclear envelope.

Eukaryotes are organisms, such as plants, composed of large and complex cells.

Despite cells differing in size and complexity, all cells are composed of the same substances and serve similar life functions, such as growth, metabolism, and reproduction.

The distinctive features of a plant cell are a cell wall composed of cellulose, a large vacuole, chloroplast, and cytoplasm.

The plant cell wall is primarily made up of the carbohydrates molecules cellulose and lignin. Cellulose is a key ingredient in the making of paper.

This is what a plant cell looks like:

Parts of a plant cell:

  • Nucleus – contains the cell DNA and controls what the cell does
  • Cell Wall – a tough outer case made of cellulose that helps support the plant and gives the cell a rigid structure
  • Cell Membrane – Acts like a barrier to control the movement of substances in and out of the cell
  • Cytoplasm – a jelly-like substance where many vital chemical reactions take place
  • Chloroplast – contains chlorophyll – a green substance that allows the plant to make its food through photosynthesis which happens inside the chloroplast
  • Large Vacuole – a large sack-like feature that contains cell sap and helps support the plant
  • Mitochondria – the powerhouse of the cell and where respiration takes place

Specialized parts of cells, such as the above, are known as organelles. Organelles are tiny structures inside cells with a specific role.

Cellulose in our clothes?

Cellulose is found in the cell wall and is important for keeping the cell stiff and strong! However, it’s an important substance for making other things and can be found in everyday products such as paper and clothes.

Plants such as cotton have even more cellulose than other plants, which is why cotton is found in many clothes!

Cellulose is a molecule of hundreds and sometimes thousands of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. Humans cannot digest cellulose, but it is important in the diet as fiber.
Animals such as cows, sheep, and horses can digest cellulose, which can be found in grass. Therefore, those animals can get the nutrients they need by eating grass.

Cellulose is an example of a natural polymer – a long and repeating chain of the same molecule stuck together. This is important for helping the plant grow stronger.

Differences between plant and animal cells

  • Animal cells are typically an irregular shape, whereas plant cells are more regular
  • Plant cells contain a cell wall, which supports the structure of the cell
  • Plant cells have vacuole, which contains tree sap
  • Plant cells also contain chloroplasts, which produce chlorophyll for photosynthesis
  • This means that ultimately the plant cells are bigger than animal cells because of all their additional specialized organelles

Specialized Plant Cells:

There are many different types of cells in plants, each with its unique job. Each specialized cell is equipped with features that help it do its job, and together they ensure the plant functions as a whole.

Here are some examples of specialized plant cells:

Root Hair Cells – root hair cells have large surface areas to provide contact with soil water. It also has thin walls so as not to prevent the movement of water.

Xylem Cells – Xylem cells look like long tubes. They have no top or bottom walls between xylem vessels, so water can run continuously through them. Their walls become thick and wood-like to help support the plant.

Phloem – Phloem help to transport amino acids and dissolved sugars up and down the stem. Energy is transported to the phloem through companion cells.

How to Calculate an Average

Looking for how to find the average of numbers? We’re here to help. The standard, also known as the mean, is the sum of a set of values divided by the number of deals you have. Let’s take a look at an example of how to work out average using positive numbers first:

  1. In this example, the children want to share their marbles equally so that every child has the average amount.
  2. We need to find averages of 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10.
  3. First, let’s add those values together. This gives us a total of 30.
  4. We have five different values, so we need to work out 30÷5, which provides us with 6.
  5. Our final answer is that the average amount is 6.

Now that we’ve worked out how to find the average with positive values let’s look at negative numbers.

How to find the average of negative numbers

When it comes to calculating the average of sets of values that involve negative numbers, it’s not as daunting as it sounds. There’s no difference in the process we use; these negative numbers affect the total value in the same way that subtracting from it would. Let’s try an example together:

  1. We will find the average of -16, -8, -6, 4, 20, and 42.
  2. First, we need to add these numbers together. Then, if you’d prefer, you can add up the positive numbers and treat the negative numbers as the amount you’re subtracting.
  3. In this case, we would work out 66-30=36.
  4. We have six values; we reach our answer by calculating 36÷6=6.
  5. The average of these values is 6.

What is Algebra?

What exactly is Algebra?

Algebra is a unifying thread across most mathematics which focuses on using letters and symbols to represent numbers and different formulae in an equation. It is understood that Algebra could have been used for as long as 4000 years. Many examples of Algebra can be found in the algebra equations worksheets on our site. Let’s take a look at one below:

This is just one of the ways to learn and teach how to express missing number problems algebraically.

The symbols and letters used in algebra equations worksheets are called ‘variables.’


The general rules that govern algebra and dictate how it is written down are called variables. Variables are symbols (typically letters like a, b, x, y) representing or substituting an unknown number. When we do not know the value of a number, we use a variable until we figure out what the number is as a kind of placeholder.

How to do Algebra:

As you’ll have discovered, algebra is one of the most difficult maths concepts for adults to teach and kids to understand. The best way to start is by explaining algebra in its simplest form – it’s a puzzle! For example, algebra questions often require pupils to figure out the value of a letter, often called x. So let’s work out an example to show you how to do algebra:

Example: x – 2 = 4

Introducing letters into maths equations can be daunting, but a question like this makes great sense once you know what to do. We want to find out what x is equal to, but we have – 2 on the left-hand side. To get rid of it, we’ll have to work out both sides to cancel it. In this case, we would add 2 to both sides. This leaves us with the following:

x = 4 + 2

x = 6

And there you go! If you’re ever unsure if the answer you’ve reached is right or not, work out the equation with x’s value. In this example, this would be:

X – 2 = 4

6 – 2 = 4

Since this equation works out correctly, we know we got the x value right! Remember always to keep the balance when working out an algebra equation – what we do to one side, we do to the other. An easy step-by-step guide on how to do algebra is as follows:

  • Figure out what needs to be removed to get the value of x.
  • Remove it by doing the opposite. If it’s x with addition, subtract the number(s). If it’s x with subtraction, add the number(s).
  • Do that to both sides. Then, double-check your answer by replacing x with your found value.

Let’s work through another example so that we can strengthen our algebra skills:

Example: x + 5 = 12

Similarly to last time, we want to figure out the value of x but cannot because we have different numbers on the left-hand side. As our number is positive, we must subtract from both sides instead of adding. This leads to the following:

X + 5 = 12

-5 -5

X = 7

Again, if we want to double-check that our answer is correct, we can work out the equation with x’s known value:

X + 5 = 12

7 + 5 = 12

Since the equation makes sense, we know we’ve got it right. So keep on practicing; your class will be algebra geniuses before you know it!

Algebra for beginners:

Algebra can be tricky to get to grips with, but once you build up a strong basic knowledge of the “language” of algebra, it can be much easier! We’ve put together some tips and tricks to bear in mind when first learning algebra to make it easier to understand:

Read the problem instructions carefully. This sounds simple enough, but more often than not, confusion can arise because children try to “solve” a problem when they need to “simplify” it! Therefore, it’s important to encourage children to read the instructions carefully and keep a look out for keywords like “solve,” “simplify,” “factor,” or “reduce”:

  • Solve. This requires reducing the problem to an actual numerical solution, e.g., x=4. Furthermore, it involves finding the value for the variable so that the problem is “true.”
  • Simplify. Here, you need to manipulate the problem into a simpler form than before. However, it is worth noting you will probably not end up with a single numerical value for the variable.
  • Factor. This is similar to “simplify” and is typically used with more complex equations. It would help if you could turn the problem into smaller terms and split an expression into a multiplication of simpler words.
  • Reduce. Reducing involves a combination of factoring and then simplifying. To “reduce” a problem generally consists of a variety of factoring and then simplifying. First, you break the numerator and denominator into their factors, then look for common elements (top and bottom) and cancel them out. Whatever is left over is the “reduced” form of the equation.

Focus on isolating the variable. The key rule is that any operation you do to one side of the equation must also do to the opposite side. This keeps the equation balanced and equal.

Learn PEMDAS. In algebra, when working out an equation, you need to follow certain steps in the order called the “order of operations.” This is often simplified by the mnemonic “PEMDAS,” which stands for:

Parentheses. Perform operations inside parentheses first.
Exponents. Simplify any exponents next.
Multiplication. Multiply from right to left.
Division. Divide from right to left.
Addition. Add from right to left.
Subtraction. Subtract from right to left.

Can Algebra be used in daily life?

As a student, you may be forgiven for thinking that Algebra exists only to give you a hard time and that once you have passed your exams, it’ll be forgotten and be a huge waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You may not realize it, but your brain always uses algebraic calculations!

For example, when you work out how much money you need to take to the shop when you know the price of the items you want to buy, or when you are working out how much diesel or petrol you can buy with a specific amount of money in your pocket.

This image shows how to work out missing number problems like the real-world examples above.

An example of algebra used in real life is when you go to the shop. For example, say you go to a bookshop and want to buy a book that costs £5, but you only have £2. You’ll use algebra to find out how much more money you need!

We can write the problem as 2 + x = 5. We are therefore asking, “Two plus what number equals five?” Just as you can add the same value to each side of an equation without changing the meaning of the equation, you can also subtract the same value from each side of an equation. And, as we discussed earlier in “Algebra for beginners,” any operation we do to one side of the equation also needs to be done to the opposite side. So we can work out our problem by starting with the original equation 2 + x = 5 and subtracting two from both sides: 2 – 2 + x = 5 – 2. We can then simplify this to x = 3.

History of Algebra

Algebra dates back as far as Ancient Egypt and Babylon. While it’s hard to pin credit on one person, two names synonymous with algebra are Abu Jaafar Mohammad Ibn Mousa Al Khwarizmi and Diophantus often dubbed the “Fathers of Algebra.”

Al Khwarizmi developed methods for balancing and reducing algebraic equations and introduced algorithms which are mathematical operations or rules. Diophantus wrote 13 books titled “Arithmetica,” which contain problems and solutions that further fleshed out algebra.

What is Proofreading?

Proofreading is reading work that you or someone else has written to look for spelling or grammatical errors. When you find errors, there are specific marks to identify the type of error.

Sometimes when we’re writing, we’re working quickly, or we’re so engaged in what we’re writing that it’s easy to make mistakes. Common mistakes are forgetting capital letters, missing an end mark, forgetting an apostrophe, or forgetting to use paragraphs.

Why is proofreading so important?

Proofreading a piece of work after it’s been written helps to ensure that it’s error-free and checked to a high standard.

Without proofreading, there’s a chance that errors remain in work. Someone else that is reading the work will likely spot the mistakes, and the work is then seen as lesser because of these errors.

Errors can also alter or influence the work unintentionally. For example, spelling a word incorrectly or forgetting an apostrophe can sometimes completely change the meaning of a sentence. You might have meant one thing, but your work is saying another. That’s why proofreading is so important.

Proofreading helps to make it easier for others to read. One of the most common writing mistakes is missing out on words. When we write, we know what we’re trying to say, so our brains might sometimes skip out words. However, someone else reading the work they don’t see what you’re trying to say. If words are missed, the result can become difficult to read and engage with.

No matter how strong your grasp of the English language is, there is always room for human error regarding spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. That’s why it’s important to proofread what you’ve written, even if you think it’s good to go.

So, we hope this has answered the question, ‘why is proofreading so important?’ To put it simply, proofreading ensures that writing is correct, accurate, and easy for the next reader to understand.

How to do proofreading

There are many methods for proofreading. Often, the most effective for you might not be the most effective for someone else.

Here are just some ways you can learn how to do proofreading:

  1. Read a hard copy

Written on the computer? Printing a hard copy of the document and reading it over is a good way to proofread one-off work. The words appear differently on the page than on the screen, so it may be easier to spot errors this way.

  1. Read backward

We don’t always catch everything by reading ‘normally.’ So instead, try reading from the bottom and make your way upwards.

  1. Change font color and size

If you can’t print out a hard copy, changing the font, color, and size of the writing can help. Simply switching things up can help your brain to spot inconsistencies and errors.

  1. Proofread one line at a time

Going slow is the best way to go. Take the time to carefully read each line, each word, and the punctuation mark.

  1. Read aloud

Reading work aloud is a great way to spot errors such as missing words. It also allows you to check whether the writing flows correctly or if you need to add or remove commas.

  1. Use editing marks

The symbols used in proofreading are called ‘editing marks.’ A different editing mark is used for each type of error in writing. Have a look at these editing marks. Which do you think you would see the most in your writing?

When we proofread our writing, we use symbols to identify the type of mistake.

When you proofread your work, place the symbols above the writing.

After you have proofread your work, re-write the sentence correctly.

What is a Proofreading Mark?

Proofreading marks are symbols used during the proofreading process by either the writer or another party editing their work. These marks signal errors in the writing or areas that can be improved upon. Many marks are used in proofreading, each corresponding to its meaning. The writer’s job is to know these proofreading marks so they may understand what edits need to be made to optimize their work.

These proofreading marks include the following:

ʘ → Insert a full stop. When this symbol appears in your work, it indicates that either you have missed a full stop or this is a place where a full stop can be placed to split up the sentence.

≡ → Change to a capital letter. This proofreading mark tends to appear underneath a particular letter in a sentence. This indicates that a specific letter needs capitalizing and typically appears at the beginning of sentences or a noun.

lc→ Change to lowercase. This proofreading mark tends to occur around a word that contains a capital letter when it should not. When this proofreading mark is used, the letter that needs to be converted to lowercase will be circled, and this symbol will appear next to it.

▬▬ →Correct the spelling. When this mark appears, it is to indicate a spelling error. The word spelled incorrectly will have a line through it with the correct spelling next to it.

▬ →Delete the text. This symbol is like the proofreading mark for correcting spelling. When this symbol appears, it means that a word should be omitted. This may occur if the word used is inappropriate or the sentence flows better without it.

/ →Delete a letter. This symbol is used when a specific letter needs to be deleted. This may be caused by a grammatical error, such as confusing the words ‘to’ and ‘too,’

◡→ Close up the space. This is used when there is a space when two words should be one word.

// →New paragraph. This symbol is used to split up a paragraph into two.

˄→ Insert punctuation. A punctuation mark with an upward arrow beneath it indicates that a specific type of punctuation is needed.

Common Errors to Look For

When proofreading, it’s a good idea to know what errors you’re looking for. These are some of the most common errors to watch out for when you’re proofreading:

  • missing capital letter at the beginning of a sentence or for a proper noun;
  • stray capital letters where they aren’t needed;
  • misspelled words, particularly homophones;
  • missing words (typically ‘a’ or ‘the’ etc.);
  • punctuation mistakes (comma splice where there should be a colon);
  • missing or misplaced apostrophes;
  • inconsistencies (for example, the text starts in past tense but ends in present tense);
  • formatting errors, such as numbers.

Essential Proofreading Tips

Now that you’ve learned how to do proofreading, here are some more general but still essential tips:

  • Don’t proofread immediately after writing. Leave it for at least a few hours first.
  • Use multiple proofreading methods. Trying out a few different ways to find the best work might be helpful if you’re starting to proofread.
  • Check for common mistakes. If proofreading yourself, note the most common mistakes you make and check for these.
  • Don’t rush – that’s how errors are missed. Take your time.
  • Make a conscious effort to look at each word in turn. For example, when reading full sentences, our brain can easily fill in any mistakes or missing words. So, look at each word individually.
  • Avoid distractions and concentrate fully. Try to proofread quietly so your attention won’t be diverted.
  • Take frequent breaks, especially if proofreading on a screen.
  • Remember to proofread the formatting, especially if bullet points or numbered lists are used.
  • Ask someone else to do a final proofread.

Proofreading vs. Editing

We often hear the terms ‘proofreading’ and ‘editing’ together, sometimes interchangeably. However, they’re two different processes. Each has a unique function designed to make writing better.

Proofreading Editing
Removes spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Changes or adjusts spelling, grammar, and punctuation for better clarity.
Fixes language formatting for consistency. Changes or adjusts language to improve the overall quality of the text.
Objective and aims to make the work error-free. It can be subjective and aims to improve the content of the work.

What is Calligraphy?

You might have heard about calligraphy before, but really what is calligraphy? The term has evolved from the Greek words for ‘beautiful’ and ‘to write.’ However, as you might imagine, the meaning of this word has developed and shifted over time.

A form of artistic expression, calligraphists, aims to render beautiful letters and convey rhythm and meaning to the reader. An elegant and aesthetic art form, the calligraphy skill involves understanding different elements when forming letters, such as touch pressure and hand movement.

So, what is the difference between calligraphy and cursive handwriting? The most common misconception made about calligraphy is its confusion with cursive handwriting. However, unlike good old cursive handwriting styles, calligraphy is about so much more than lettering. Calligraphic letters and pages are often dressed up with some form of decoration. This could include elegant colors such as gold, ornate pattern, pictures, and other historic flourishes. Additionally, there is a big difference between a beautiful lettering formation and the beautiful additional decorations and ornamentations on top of a form. Calligraphy is all about the decorations, conveying meaning to the reader through the words and their display.

What tools do calligraphists use?

There are special calligraphy pens with flat, round, or pointed nibs and calligraphy brushes with stiffer or softer bristles, depending on the calligraphy work and style.

However, calligraphists can also use standard pens like felt-tip or ballpoint pens. Again, this depends on the type and style of calligraphy being practiced. Individual calligraphists will have their preferred tools, and a wide range of tools have been used in different forms of calligraphy around the world. Many of these forms involve various resources, such as paper and ink, so it makes sense that multiple tools would also be used when producing calligraphy.

Some common calligraphy tools include:

  • The quill
  • The dip pen
  • The ink brush
  • The Qalam
  • The fountain pen
  • The chiseled marker

What is the history of calligraphy?

As mentioned above, ‘calligraphy’ is derived from the Greek words ‘kallos’ (which means beauty) and ‘graphein’ (which means to write). However, calligraphy isn’t only associated with Greece. Many countries and cultures worldwide have their district traditions of calligraphy.

In China, calligraphy is known by the termsshūfǎorfǎshū(書法or法書in Traditional Chinese, which translates literally to “the method or law of writing”). The oldest Chinese characters are known as oracle bone script(甲骨文) and were carved onto the body parts of the ox and tortoise. The emperor Qin Shi Huang was the first person to conquer the whole of the Chinese basin, and around 220 BCE, he announced a major change to the writing system. As a result, a set of3300 standardizedXiǎozhuàn (小篆)characters were created, and later eras of Chinese history also saw their particular alphabets and styles of calligraphy.

Ancient Egypt famously used a system of hieroglyphs for communication. This system differs from other written languages in that it contains many symbols communicating information visually, with images of animals and tools mixed in with the conventional written script. As the visual elements of this system of writing were crucial to conveying its meaning, skilled calligraphers were required to trace out the characters of this system precisely.

In medieval Europe, the fact that the printing press hadn’t yet been invented meant that producing books was a slow process that had to be completed by hand by skilled calligraphers. As a result, medieval scripts in these manuscripts were often highly decorative and beautifully illustrated, meant to provide an appealing visual counterpart to the text and communicate the information involved.

In the context of the UK, the famous Lindisfarne Gospels were produced between 715 and 720 in the monastery at Lindisfarne, a small island off the coast of Northumberland in North-East England. In keeping with the broader medieval European focus on decoration and visual splendor in written texts, the Gospels are richly and colorfully decorated, with fine calligraphy and illustrations. The text was originally encased in a fine leather treasure binding decorated with jewels and metals, reflecting the craftsmanship and richness of its production. Unfortunately, the original jeweled cover was ultimately lost in Viking raids on the island.

Image: An example of Islamic calligraphy

What’s the use of teaching my students about calligraphy?

Given that calligraphy is a more complex and decorative form of writing than the more conventional cursive writing, it can initially seem hard to fathom why it might be studied in the classroom. Won’t this confuse my students?

However, helping your children to develop a basic understanding of calligraphy is helpful on multiple levels. For younger children, practicing calligraphy can help them develop their skills in using stationary and completing structured tasks in class. In addition, tracing out the elaborate patterns of some forms of calligraphy offers an engaging way for the children to build a similar skillset to the one that will be used in more conventional writing.

Calligraphy also offers a window into history. Some of the many different styles of calligraphy that have existed in different cultures and historical eras have been covered here. A more creative teacher can use this information to dive deeper into some of these practices. For example, why were medieval European manuscripts so richly decorated? A question like this could be used to launch into a discussion regarding the role of religion in some medieval European states and where artisan classes such as calligraphers fell into the pecking order of society.

Where is calligraphy used today?

Calligraphy has many applications and is great for arts and crafts in the classroom! The use of beautiful and detailed writing is virtually universal in human societies and can assume a variety of potential forms. You could discuss with your class what the benefits of calligraphy might be in each of these cases and consider how it might have changed over time:

  • Wedding or event invitations
  • Logo design and advertising
  • Art
  • Graphic design
  • Inscriptions

What is Virginia?

Virginia Facts for Kids

Virginia is a state in the southeast region of the U.S. known for its stretches of coastline, woodland, mountains, historic towns, cities, and sites, rich culture and history, and the birthplace of many important and famous people.

All About Virginia

Virginia is a U.S. state in the mid-Atlantic region that shares a border with Washington, D.C., Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital city is Richmond, and other notable cities include Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Arlington, which share the larger metropolitan area of Washington, D.C.

Virginia has played a major role in U.S. history. It’s the state where the first English settlements were located, it was part of the original Thirteen Colonies, the site of many battles in the American Revolution, and many of the Founding Fathers hailed from Virginia, including George Washington. On top of that, it was the location of the Confederacy’s capital during the American Civil War, which resulted in it having the most battles fought on its soil than any other state.

The state is 63% covered by forest and woodland, with the rest comprising the Appalachian Mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, coastland, farmland, hills, and swamp. All this has made Virginia attractive to several various wildlife and plantlife. Virginia is also the location of the Pentagon, Jamestown/Yorktown, and the longest artificial beach in the world.

Quick Virginia Facts for Kids

Abbreviation VA
Nickname “The Old Dominion,” “The Mother of Presidents”
Motto Sic semper tyrannis,” “Thus always to tyrants.”
Date of Statehood 1788
Capital Richmond
Key Cities Richmond, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Charlottesville
Bordering States Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia
Size 42,774.2 sq mi
Population 8,654,542
Main Industries Agriculture, military, tobacco, government

Virginia Timeline

Year Event
C. 10,000 B.C. First, people move into the Virginia area.
C. 3,000 B.C. Permanent settlements begin to emerge in Virginia.
C. 900 A.D. Agriculture begins to flourish in Virginia.
1500 Algonquian people establish settlements such as Werowocomoco.
1540 Spanish explorers Juan de Villalobos and Francisco de Silvera are the first Europeans to discover Virginia.
1607 The English colony of Jamestown is established.
1775 – 1783 Virginia plays a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War.
1790 Alongside Maryland, Virginia cedes territory to form the District of Columbia.
1861 Virginia joined the Confederacy and seceded from the Union.
1865 The Battle of Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia concluded with the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the end of the Civil War.
1870 Virginia is officially restored to the Union.
1943 The Pentagon is built in Arlington as the headquarters of the DoD.
2001 The Pentagon came under fire during the 9-11 terrorist attacks when a passenger jet was flown into it.

Virginia Geography

Virginia lies in the southeast region of the United States, also known as the Mid-Atlantic. Maryland borders it to the northeast, West Virginia to the northwest, North Carolina and Tennessee to the south, and a small border along the Potomac River with Washington, D.C., also to the northeast. Virginia also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and a portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

The capital city of Virginia is Richmond. With a population of 1.2 million, it is the third-most populous metropolitan area in Virginia. Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads take the top spots with people of 3.1 million and 1.7 million, respectively.


Virginia’s east is home to a portion of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., formed with rising sea levels after the last ice age. As a result, many of Virginia’s waterways drain into the Chesapeake Bay, including the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James Rivers.

Running along Virginia’s western border is the Appalachian Mountain Range, and its smaller province, the Blue Ridge, is home to Virginia’s highest mountain peak, Mount Rogers, at 5,729 feet tall. East of the mountainous area of the west border, the land is more flat and favorable for farming and settlement – which includes a part of the Piedmont area, a plateau that is known for its low, rolling hills.

Along with North Carolina, Virginia shares a portion of “The Great Dismal Swamp” in the state’s southeast. Apart from the swamps, waterways, rolling hills, and mountains, Virginia is heavily forested, with over 63% of the state covered in woodland.


The climate of Virginia is classed as a “humid subtropical,” meaning it experiences temperatures ranging from lows of 25 °F in January to average highs of 86 °F in July. These temperature extremes vary mostly in the Blue Ridge range to the west and the coasts of the east, which are mitigated due to the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Stream, respectively.

Virginia also experiences heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes between April – September and tropical storms and hurricanes between August – October. The coast is particularly vulnerable to these extreme weather conditions, and Virginia has been subjected to many severe hurricanes.

Famous Places

The Pentagon

Completed in 1943 during WWII, The Pentagon serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It is named after the pentagonal shape of the building and is famous for being the world’s largest office building.

Shenandoah National Park

Extending along the Blue Ridge Mountains in western Virginia, the Shenandoah National Park was established in 1935 and is a vast region of an unspoiled natural landscape full of waterfalls, mountains, hills, scenic landscape, wildlife, plantlife, trails, cabins, campsites, recreation activities, and much more.

Manassas National Battlefield

With Virginia’s undeniable involvement in the American Civil War and the sheer number of battles fought on its soil, it would be wrong not to mention the Manassas National Battlefield. This site is home to two important war battles and has preserved field cannons and tourist facilities.

Colonial National Historical Park

This is the site of both Jamestown and Yorktown. The former is the oldest English settlement in America, built-in 1607. The park also contains some English church ruins dating from 1639. With Virginia’s status as a “Commonwealth” state, this site pays homage to that British and English heritage.

Virginia Beach

Aside from the sandy beaches and natural beauty of the coastline, Virginia Beach also boasts an impressive boardwalk, a waterpark, museums, historic lighthouses, trails, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Museum.

Mount Vernon

This is the historic home of none other than America’s first president, George Washington. As the Founding Father lived there from 1754 until he died in 1799, it saw him through the revolution and into his presidency. Now, tourists can visit many of the preserved house and estates and experience demonstrations of trades and skills employed by the people of the time, such as blacksmithing, plowing, grain grinding, sheep sheering, weaving, etc.

Virginia Wildlife

Virginia’s many waterways, forests, hills, mountains, coastlines, lakes, lowlands, and swamps have developed many ecosystems that support a range of wildlife, including birds, land and aquatic mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and more. Unfortunately, Virginia’s position as an agricultural hub and urban center has meant much human activity encroaching on its wildlife and impacting its populations and habitats.

Northern Cardinal

Cardinals are small songbirds. The male of the species has a bright red beak and plumage along with a black mask, while the female has duller colors. They also have protruding feathers on their heads like a crown. Although they are distributed across the entire continent, their attractive plumage and pleasant singing earned them the official Virginia state bird spot.

Virginia Big-Eared Bat

These small, cave-dwelling bats with relatively large ears have earned them their name. They are found only in West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. They are nocturnal and eat insects around the caves in which they live and hibernate. In the 1970s, they were thought to only number a few thousand in the wild, but conservation efforts began when they were officially considered endangered. They now number around 20,000 and are recognized as Virginia’s state mammal/bat.

Barking Tree Frog

Earning its name from its distinctive “bark,” this tree frog is endemic to the southeastern United States and only in the southeast of Virginia. It prefers woodlands, where it can burrow into mud or logs to hide from predators. They are medium-sized, green-colored frogs, but they’re the largest tree frog in Virginia. The males can often be found “barking,” which requires them to inflate their large vocal sacks while floating in the water.

Virginia Opossum

As the northernmost marsupial in the world, the opossum carries its young in a pouch and can be found throughout most eastern, central, and parts of western states in the U.S. They also inhabit Central America. They are around the size of a domestic cat and are famed for their ability to “play dead” when in danger. Unfortunately, their strong resistance to snake venom has made them natural enemies.

Famous People from Virginia

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

Lewis and Clark were fabled explorers whose 1803 expedition across the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase led them across many modern-day Midwestern and Northwestern states until they reached the Pacific Ocean in Washington. They followed the Missouri River for the first part of their journey, then the Yellowstone River, and eventually, they crossed the Cascade Mountain Range, charting much territory for the first time for the U.S. Along the way, they documented many plants and animals, and made contact with Native American tribes such as the Sioux, Blackfeet, Shoshone, and Nez Perce.


Pocahontas was a Native American woman and daughter of Powhatan, the chief of the Powhatan people in Virginia, who belonged to the larger Algonquian group. She is remembered for being captured by the English colonists at Jamestown in 1613, converted to Christianity, and marrying tobacco planter John Rolfe. She has been the subject of many romanticized works of art, literature, plays, and movies, including the 1995 animated Disney movie Pocahontas.

Booker T. Washington

Born into enslavement in Virginia in the mid-19th century, Booker T. Washington was ultimately freed under the Emancipation Proclamation during the American Civil War. Washington became the leader of the Tuskegee Institute – the same school George Washington Carver attended – and became a prominent figure in the Black higher education and political community. He was so well regarded that he became a presidential advisor to Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.

Ella Fitzgerald

Hailing from Newport News, VA, Ella Fitzgerald was a prominent jazz singer in the mid-late 20th century until her death. She was referred to as the “Queen of Jazz,” the “First Lady of Song,” and “Lady Ella” because of her undisputed dominance in jazz. She collaborated with other prominent jazz musicians and singers, including Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Richard E. Byrd

Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. is best remembered as the Virginian man who claimed to have reached the North and South Poles by air. He was a decorated naval officer and polar explorer who served in World War I and II. He is also credited for discovering the largest dormant volcano in Antarctica, Mount Sidley.

Other notable people from Virginia include:

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson – Actor, singer, dancer, and entertainer popular in the first half of the 20th century. He was also the highest-paid African American performer at that time.

Sandra Bullock – Notable Academy Award-winning actor who has starred in many major Hollywood productions from the 1990s until now.

Allen Iverson – From Hampton, VA, Allen Iverson is regarded as one of the most prolific NBA scorers, with a career spanning from the late 1990s until 2010.

Pharrell Williams – As a musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer, Williams has cemented himself in modern popular music with many hit singles earning him several Grammy Awards, and he remains a successful music producer now.

Virginia, the “Mother of Presidents”

Because of Virginia’s status as the preeminent producer of American presidents, a separate section must recount all eight presidents who earned the state one of its nicknames, “The Mother of Presidents.”

  • George Washington – The president who needs no introduction, served as the nation’s first, is the namesake of the capital and a state, led America to independence against the British, and served from 1789-1797.
  • Thomas Jefferson – As another Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson served as the 3rd president from 1801-1809. He was also a prominent statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, and philosopher.
  • James Madison – Another Founding Father, James Madison served as the 4th president from 1809-1817 and was an influential figure in America’s founding.
  • James Monroe – As the 5th president, James Monroe served from 1817-1825 and was also a Founding Father. He is considered the last of the “Virginia Dynasty.”
  • William H. Harrison – Much of President Harrison’s tenure in the presidential office is marred by the fact he was the first president to die in office (after only 31 days). In addition, he served from March 4, 1841, to April 4, 1841, making him the shortest-serving president.
  • John Tyler – Taking over from William H. Harrison’s short time in office, John Tyler served as vice president and was the nation’s president from 1841-1845.
  • Zachary Taylor – As a war hero in the Mexican-American War, Zachary Taylor served as the nation’s 12th president from 1849 until he died in 1850, 16 months after taking office.
  • Woodrow Wilson – Serving from 1913-1921, Woodrow Wilson saw America through the First World War and was a major player in establishing the League of Nations.

Virginia State Symbols

  • State Flower: Dogwood
  • State Bird: The Cardinal
  • State Tree: American Dogwood
  • State Rock: Nelsonite
  • State Song: “Our Great Virginia”

10 Fun Virginia Facts for Kids

  1. Known as the “Mother of Presidents,” Virginia has produced eight U.S. presidents, more than any other state. Not only that, but four out of the first five presidents were from Virginia and are often referred to as the “Virginia Dynasty.”
  2. Virginia was the location of the first major battle of the Civil War and the last, which resulted in the surrender of Robert E. Lee. It is no surprise considering that Virginia is also the location of the most Civil War battles, with 120 recorded major battles, discounting skirmishes and smaller engagements.
  3. Virginia is a state of firsts and battles, so it’s only natural that the world’s first battle between two ironclad warships happened there, too, in 1862. Unfortunately, the battle between the Union gunship Monitor and Confederate Virginia was fought, and the outcome was indecisive. However, it changed the course of naval history as wooden vessels were now rendered obsolete.
  4. As the first place English speakers interacted long-term with Native Americans who spoke Algonquian, Siouan, or Iroquoian languages, many of their words first entered the English language in America here. Such words as raccoon, moccasin, hickory, moose, skunk, and chipmunk are all evidence of this.
  5. Virginia shares this fun fact with Tennessee: Bristol in the southwest of Virginia sprawls across the Tennessee border, and as a result, the city is split in two. The city has a separate government for the Virginia and Tennessee sides.
  6. Virginia has many claims to forging American history, and the modern city of Hampton can claim to be the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in America. Having been established in 1610, the ancient fort remains can still be seen.
  7. Virginia has several nicknames, including the “Commonwealth,” the “Old Dominion,” “Mother of Presidents,” “Mother of Presidents,” “Mother of States,” “Cavalier State,” and “Down Where the South Begins.” But ” Virginia ” is named after Queen Elizabeth I, nicknamed the “Virgin Queen.”
  8. The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Berkeley Plantation, VA, in 1619, a whole year before the Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which is often reported as the first celebration in popular culture.
  9. On Assateague Island, between the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, there lives a herd of wild ponies/horses. The debate is fought between the two states, with Maryland calling them Assateague Horses while Virginia calls them Chincoteague Ponies. However, this herd of feral horses/ponies has been there for hundreds of years. Some speculate they originated from a shipwrecked Spanish ship in the 16th century!
  10. Virginia’s borders have changed a lot. Aside from being the only state to lose territory after the Civil War when West Virginia broke into its separate state, Virginia also lost territory to form Kentucky, and the land was lost (and later regained) when Arlington County was initially a part of Washington, D.C., in 1791.

What is the Fibonacci sequence?

The Fibonacci sequence is a famous series of numbers with a pattern. The pattern is that every number is added to the one before it. Here are the first few parts of the sequence:

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89

As you can see, 1 + 1 = 2, 2 + 1 = 3, 3 + 2 = 5 and so on. It’s a really simple progression and can go on forever. What’s impressive about this sequence is that you get a spiral if you turn those numbers into boxes. Take a look at the image below as an example:

What is the history of the Fibonacci sequence?

The Fibonacci sequence is like a lot of maths theories. It doesn’t come from a specific place. It was talked about and built upon by lots of different people. But, the earliest mention of it comes from India. It’s mentioned in works by Pingala, an Indian writer, as early as 200 BC.

The sequence was introduced to mathematicians in Western Europe by a man called Leonardo of Pisa. He published a book called Liber Abaci in 1202, discussing the Fibonacci sequence. It is also the reason for its name, as Leonardo of Pisa later became known by Fibonacci.

Fibonacci numbers typically show up unexpectedly. It’s common for them to appear in maths when you don’t expect them to. However, these numbers are so useful that they’ve been applied to many maths methods. For example, there’s the Fibonacci search technique, the Fibonacci heap data structure, and Fibonacci cube graphs.

Where can you see the Fibonacci sequence in real life?

You can see the Fibonacci sequence in many things in real life. But, surprisingly, it’s found a lot in nature. Here’s a list of where you can find the Fibonacci sequence in real life; think about the spiral from earlier and where you might find it.

  • Shells: Lots of shells form the spiral seen in the picture above. These can be seashells, snail shells, and nautilus shells. The lines in shells are really clear and easy to see. It makes them one of the best examples of the sequence being found in nature.
  • Flowers: If you look closely at the center of some flowers, you can see that they follow the Fibonacci sequence in detail. The flower’s middle bit, which connects all the petals, is called the pistil. It is where you’ll need to look. Rose petals are another great example too. If you look at how the petals spread out from the pistil, you can map the spiral.
  • Leaves: Leaves follow the Fibonacci sequence in two ways. The way that they grow from branches and the way their veins behave. The veins inside of the leaves branch off following the series.
  • Clouds and storms: If you’ve ever seen pictures of storm clouds, they’re typically in spirals. But if you look closer, you can map the Fibonacci curve onto the clouds. You can best see this with tornadoes and hurricanes.

What is the golden ratio?

If you’re learning about the Fibonacci sequence, you will also learn about the golden ratio. They’re very closely related to each other. So, what is the golden ratio? It’s an impressive number that equals around 1.168. You can find it in a lot of different places too. Art, architecture, geometry, maths, and the human body.

To find the golden ratio, imagine a line. Then divide the line into two parts, but ensure that one part is bigger than the other. Now, divide the long part by the short part. Then, divide the whole length by the long part. You’ve got the golden ratio if these two results are the same. What’s amazing about the golden ratio is that it always remains the same, no matter what numbers you change in the calculation.

How does the golden ratio relate to the Fibonacci sequence?

The golden ratio relates to the Fibonacci sequence amazingly. If you take two consecutive numbers from the series, their ratio is very close to that of the golden ratio. It gets even weirder. The higher the numbers you use from the Fibonacci sequence, the closer it gets to the golden ratio. Nobody knows why this happens, but mathematicians will observe it.

What is the Savannah?


Savanna, also known as savannah, is an ecosystem combining woodland and grassland. Read on to learn about the savanna, including information on savanna physical features and handy resources to support your teaching.

At least 20% of the land on Earth is considered savanna. Some savannas are tropical, sometimes referred to as ‘tropical grassland.’ Areas of savanna are typically located in a transitional zone between desert and forest.

Savannas are found in areas without enough rainfall to support a forest, typically in regions that experience wet and dry seasons. Savannas are considered a type of grassland and generally are open and flat. In the dry season, wildfires are common in savanna areas.

What are the Types of Savanna?

Several types of savanna vary depending on the location and climate. These are:

Tropical and subtropical savannas are made up of tropical grasslands and shrublands. The most notable example of this biome is the savannas of Africa. These areas are known for their varied and exotic animals and provide a habitat for diverse species. Other large tropical savannas can be found in South America and Australia.

Temperate savannas have wetter summers and drier winters than other Savanna types. An example of this type of Savanna is the Great Plains of the United States. This type of Savanna has many names depending on where they are located worldwide. For example, in the US, they are called prairies, while in Asia, they are called steppes.

Mediterranean savannas have mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. As the name suggests, this biome can be found across the Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy, and Greece, but also in California, South Africa, and Australia.

As the name suggests, Flooded savannas regularly experience seasonal or year-round flooding. These regions are smaller than other Savannas but are found worldwide and are home to unique ecosystems adapted to the wet environment.

Montane savannas are located at high altitudes, typically on the sides of mountains. The largest and most prominent montane savannas are in Asia, Africa, and South America. Animals that live in these areas have adapted to wet and cool conditions and harsh sunlight.

Savanna Physical Features

Many physical features set savannas apart from other biomes.

  • Scattered Trees

The most prominent of the savanna’s physical features is its scattered trees. These trees are what distinguish the Savanna from other grasslands. The scattered trees in the Savanna grow above a layer of continuous tall grass between the forest canopy and the ground.

  • Wet and Dry Seasons

Another key savanna’s physical feature is its two distinct seasons: wet and dry. Savannas are typically in regions around 8° to 20° from the Equator, which means that the conditions are always very hot regardless of the season. The savanna’s wet season dates vary depending on which hemisphere it is in. In the Southern Hemisphere, the wet season typically occurs from October to March; in the Northern Hemisphere, it appears from April to September. During this wet season, there is an average annual rainfall of 80 to 150 cm, although this tends to be lower in the more central continental locations. On the other hand, the savanna’s dry season is generally longer than the wet season; however, its length can vary from two to 11 months. The average monthly temperature during the dry season is about 10 to 20 °C and about 20 to 30 °C in the wet season.

  • Large Herds of Animals

The savanna is rich in grasses and tree life, making it attractive to large herbivores. As a result, many species have adapted to eat different plants for many kinds of herbivorous animals to live in the savanna. For instance, some animals are designed to eat low grass, while others are built to eat the leaves high up in the trees.

With the large herds of herbivores comes a range of predators. Animals such as lions, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, and wild dogs are some of the most common predators in savannas.

Over time, the herbivorous animals in the savanna have developed a range of clever techniques to avoid predators. For instance, gazelles and ostriches use their speed to outrun their predators. Alternatively, animals like the giraffe, for whom running is not viable, use their height to spot predators from far off. Moreover, elephants use their massive strength and size to fight off predators.

Similarly, the savanna predators have also developed techniques to catch their prey. For example, the cheetah, the fastest land animal in the world, uses its immense speed to catch its prey, getting up to 70mph in short bursts. Moreover, predators like lions and hyenas hunt in groups and focus on separating the weakest animals from the rest of the herd.

  • Fires

Another of the savanna’s physical features is the many fires. While fires are typically viewed in a negative light, they play a key role in maintaining the savanna’s vegetation. During the dry season, fires are needed to clear out the old, dead grass to make way for new growth. Most of the plants in the savanna will survive the fires, as they have long, deep roots that allow them to grow back quickly. The trees are also able to survive due to their thick bark. The animals that live in the savanna can also escape the fires unharmed. Some animals run to escape the fire, while others burrow deep into the ground to find safety. Unfortunately, millions of insects tend to die in the fires, but the bright side is that it provides ample food for other birds and animals.

What Animals Live in the Savanna?

Because savannas are widespread across the world and differ in their climate and seasons, there are a huge number of animals that call the savanna their home. The most famous and recognizable type of savanna, the African savanna, also happens to be home to some of the most famous and recognizable types of animals, such as giraffes, lions, rhinos, zebras, and buffalo.

Worldwide, there are many more animals that are native to the savanna. Kangaroos, ostriches, crocodiles, snakes, meerkats, leopards, and cheetahs can all be found in various Savannas worldwide. Each has specific adaptations that make them well-suited for living in the kind of Savanna that they occupy.

Large animals are common in pretty much all savannas except the Australian savannas. Instead, the Australian savannas are inhabited by many species of the Macropodidae family, which includes the likes of kangaroos and wallabies. This is because, several thousand years ago, a wide variety of very large mammals and reptiles became extinct after human beings first arrived. Today, in their place, you will find a range of domesticated and wild animals that humans have introduced. These animals include cattle, horses, camels, donkeys, and the Asian water buffalo.

What Plants Are Found in the Savanna?

Plants in the savanna, much like plants in other biomes, rely on sunlight to supply them with the energy they need to perform photosynthesis. Sunlight is abundant in savannas, particularly tropical savannas, as they are close to the equator; plants can receive around 10 to 12 hours of daylight most days. Savannas are dominated by grasses, hence why another term for tropical savanna is ‘grassland.’

Some of the plants you will find in savannas are:

  • Rhodes grass
  • Red oats grass
  • Tar grass
  • Eucalyptus trees
  • Acacias

What Threats are faced by the Savanna?

The main threat faced by the savannas of the world is humans, who regularly cut down trees in the savanna, which upsets the delicate ecological balance of these areas. In addition, farmers will deforest areas of the savanna and then use the grass to feed cattle, which can make the savanna turn barren.

Humans are not the only threat to the savanna, however. Just as grazing cattle can severely reduce the amount of grass in a savanna area, herds of wild animals grazing will also reduce the amount of grass. It is why predators in the savanna play an important role in the ecosystem, as they keep the number of grazing herbivores down.

The savanna is also threatened during outbreaks of wildfires. These fires often spread during the dry season and burn through dry grass and young trees. These fires sometimes occur naturally and play an important role in reducing the tree canopy in the savanna. However, wildfires started by Humans can do more damage. Herbivores reduce the chances of wildfires by grazing on plants before they can dry out.

Who was Gregor Mendel?

Johann Gregor Mendel was a teacher, monk, and scientist. He was born in 1822 in Heinzendorf Odrau, now Hyncice in the Czech Republic.

After finishing university, he joined the Augustinian Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno. When he entered, the monastery was a hub of culture and intellect, and he was exposed to many new teachings and ideas that he loved.

What did he discover?

Through his work with pea plants, Gregor Mendel discovered many of the important rules about inheritance. Because of his work, he is commonly referred to now as the ‘Father of Genetics.

Here are some of his main discoveries:

  • He deduced that genes came in pairs
  • He worked out that genes were inherited at units, so one came from each parent
  • He introduced the idea of ‘dominant’ and ‘recessive’ genes
  • He recognized mathematical patterns that occurred in inheritance
  • He also introduced ‘Mendel’s Laws of Heredity.’

When his results were published in 1865, his findings were not believed by many people, and his work was never appreciated as people didn’t understand it, and it also went against a lot of the popular ideas at the time.

By the early 1900s, people started to understand his results and findings more. It was after his Laws of Heredity were discovered again, and the work and knowledge of scientists had come a long way since his death.

Finally, Mendel’s work is being acknowledged, and he is now arguably the most influential scientist in genetics.

Mendel’s Laws of Heredity

Mendel introduced some important laws surrounding inheritance. These were:

  1. The Law of Segregation: Each inherited trait has its gene pair. These pairs are taken from both parents, and offspring get one gene from each parent.
  2. The Law of Independent Assortment: Genes inherited for each trait are all separate – so the inheritance of one trait does not affect any others.
  3. The Law of Dominance: The trait or characteristic that the offspring will express will come from the dominant gene in the pair.

Mendel’s pea plants:

To find out these discoveries, Mendel needed to conduct lots of experiments. But, first, he wanted to use pea plants and their distinctive characteristics to look at the patterns of inheritance.

He chose pea plants as they had many distinctive features and traits that were easy for him to study. He looked at the seed shape, seed color, plant height, pod shape, pod color, flower position, and flower color.

To conduct the experiments, he would grow two groups with opposite traits – for example, short and tall plants. Then, he would keep breeding and raising these groups separately until he had two groups of pure-bred plants that only produced offspring identical to themselves. He then bred these groups together and observed the characteristics that their offspring inherited.

He worked out that the patterns of traits that the offspring was inheriting were very clear. From these patterns, he discovered everything we know from his Laws of Heredity, such as the idea of ‘dominant’ and ‘recessive’ traits.

These experiments took him almost eight years, from 1856 to 1863. Over these years, he grew over 30,000 pea plants and noted their type and characteristics to track all their traits and inheritance patterns.

Why do we learn about Mendel today?

Just from looking at your own family, it is obvious that certain traits and characteristics are passed down through generations. This could be hair or eye color, similar physical features, or even certain health problems.

Most people will be able to identify these traits, and children will be able to identify examples in their own families.

These traits come from inherited genetics – genes passed down from parents that present themselves in their offspring. Our knowledge of this now all started from the work of Mendel and his experiments with pea plants.

Children will enjoy learning about the science behind their families, and this Biology topic is popular since it can be studied and understood first-hand!

For lesson inspiration, look at our collection of resources and teaching materials on Genetics and Evolution.

Fun facts about Gregor Mendel:

  • When he died, much of his work was burned by monks – thankfully, not all of it!
  • The house he grew up in is now a museum dedicated to his work.
  • The famous Czech composer, Leoš Janáček, played at Mendel’s funeral.