The second marking period of fourth grade social studies is dedicated to learning about our home state of New Jersey. The first task our students had was to complete an informational packet. This included things like the State capital, the governor, the land masses and economy. I’m always surprised at how little some of the children seem to know about the place where they live but then I guess that’s the point in studying it!
After they slogged through the tediousness of the packet, the teacher offered them a more enjoyable project. Each student was to research some fun facts or trivia regarding our fine Garden State and put together a power point presentation to share with the class. They really rose to the challenge and came up with all kinds of interesting (and sometimes weird) tidbits. A few were even new to me! Here are some of the highlights.
- New Jersey was home to the first known competitive baseball game played at Elysian Fields in Hoboken on June 19, 1846. (The New York Base Ball Club defeated the Knickerbockers 23-1.)
Our coast is home to the longest Boardwalk (Atlantic City) the first sea shore resort town (Cape May) and the world’s largest elephant, Lucy in Margate (You know how I feel about Her!)
- We have more diners than any other state and are often refered to as the “Diner Capital of the World!” (Apparently, we also have the most shopping malls!)
- New Jersey has a Spoon Museum, (over 5400) It is housed in the Lambert Castle Museum, in Paterson. (Who knew, right? 😳)
- The first ever drive in movie theater opened in Camden Nj on June 6, 1933 (wonder what was playing?)
- The light bulb, the phonograph and the telephone all had their start in New Jersey thanks to Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. (And the first motion picture projector too)
- Modern paleontology began in 1858 with the discovery of the first nearly complete skeleton of a dinosaur (the Hadrosaursus) in Haddonfield NJ.
I can’t swear to the authenticity of all of these claims but as a New Jersey native, I’m pretty sure we have bragging rights to most of them (especially the weirder ones!) I’m also pretty sure that long after our fourth graders have forgotten the major economic sources in the State, they’ll still remember that we gave the world Salt Water Taffy and the Hersey Kiss.
How about your State, or Province, or Village? Do you have some fun facts you can you brag about?