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Today In History

The 19th Amendment Turns 100

Aug-17, 2020

protest, women's rights, signs, register to vote, voter's rights

Hi everyone, it's Practical Pam, bringing you another entry for Today in History. We're going to be discussing government today, so check out my Government 101 video for an overview before we go on.

On August 18th, 2020, the 19th Amendment will celebrate its 100-year anniversary! The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified on August 18th, 1920 when Tennessee became the 36th state to approve the amendment. According to federal law, 3/4 of the current US states have to approve a proposed amendment in order for it to be officially ratified. So, when it passed in Tennessee, it became federal law.

The wording of the 19th Amendment is as follows: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation." In general, the language of amendments needs to be very simple and direct, since it will be applied to every citizen in the nation. This language can also have effects on future legislation as well as current legislation. For example, the 19th Amendment's wording also ensures that those who identify as non-binary are guaranteed their voting rights, since they cannot be discriminated against on account of their sex. If, in the future, being non-binary is a more common designation, there will be no worry that those who identify legally as NB will be denied the right to vote.

While the fight for women's suffrage was long and sometimes violent, women had already been voting in the United States since 1869, when Wyoming passed the Wyoming Suffrage Act back before Wyoming was even a state! By the time the 19th Amendment was sent to the states to be voted on, 16 states and territories had equal voting rights, and several more allowed women to vote in presidential elections. Conversely, it took a surprisingly long time for the rest of the states in the Union to ratify the 19th Amendment, even though it had already become federal law. The last state to approve the amendment was Mississippi, in 1984!

While the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote, it's important to remember that there are still many barriers keeping people from voting freely. As we look into the next 100 years of American history, let's be inspired by all the amazing suffragettes of the past and ensure that every citizen is given the same opportunity to let their voice be heard!

National Candy Month!

Jun-08, 2020

candy, lollipop, m&ms, gummy worms, sugar, peppermints, fruit slices, swirls

Did you know that June is National Candy Month? Talk about a sweet celebration. June is the month we celebrate all things sugar. Beyond its incredible taste, sugar is actually a fascinating molecule with some pretty remarkable scientific properties. Let’s take a closer look at what makes sugar such a special substance in our lives.

The molecule which we call sugar is officially known as sucrose. There are several different kinds of sugar molecules. Sucrose is actually a combination of two of them: fructose and glucose. Fructose is found in fruit and honey, and gives things like apples, oranges, and bananas their sweetness. Believe it or not, fructose is sweeter than sucrose! Glucose is often found in grains like wheat, rice, and corn, and is not as sweet as either fructose or sucrose. Another kind of sugar is lactose, the sweet molecule found in animal milk, perfect for growing babies who need lots of nutrition for healthy development. Lactose is the least sweet of the four major sugars, probably because it’s meant mostly for infants to eat.

So where does sucrose come from? Certain plants like sugar cane and sugar beets produce sucrose instead of fructose or glucose alone, combining the molecules and creating a more complex and pleasing flavor. Their juices are boiled, leaving sugar crystals behind. The byproduct of making sugar is called molasses, a thick syrupy substance with a smoky, complex flavor. Originally thrown away, molasses has become a staple of many cuisines for its distinct taste. White sugar contains no molasses, but brown sugar has some of the molasses mixed into it, creating a deeper flavor and adding moisture. Many baking recipes call for a mix of both white and brown sugars in various proportions. Products that only use white sugar tend to by dryer and more brittle, like sugar cookies or shortbread. Products that use mostly brown sugar tend to be chewier and sometimes stickier, like chocolate chip cookies or Dutch apple pie.

Candy makers, or confectioners as they’re know, have found many interesting ways to cook with sugar. By mixing sugar with water, flavorings, and other ingredients, and then heating and cooling their concoctions to various temperatures, they can produce different textures to the candy they make. Sometimes it can be stretchy and chewy like taffy, or hard and clear like lollipops. Which candy contains the most sugar? That would be cotton candy, or spun sugar. It’s about as pure a sugary candy as you can find! There’s actually a lot of science that goes into candy making, and confectioners use many of the same tools that scientists do when creating experiments in a lab!

So, what do you think? Interested in turning your home kitchen into a candy laboratory? There are lots of experiments you can do to learn more about the cool properties of sugar! Be sure to share any tasty results with your family, that way they can celebrate National Candy Month with you!

May 22nd Is National Sunscreen Day

May-20, 2020

family playing in the sand with kids in summer

Photo created by bearfotos

Memorial Day weekend usually means fun in the sun, time with family, and a preview of the summer to come. But it also means the observance of National Sunscreen Day, aka Don’t Fry Day. Created by the National Council on Skin Care Prevention, National Sunscreen Day is always observed on the Friday before Memorial Day. So, this year we will observe the holiday on Friday, May 22nd, 2020.

The Council provides promotional materials and resources to promote this day. Many local businesses and municipal organizations also get involved to promote awareness. But why is the Don’t Fry message so important? Isn’t going outside and enjoying the sunshine good for our bodies?

Sunlight is essential for the human body. When sunlight shines on our skin, it motivates our bodies to convert cholesterol to vitamin D, a very important vitamin for our bodies which is hard to come by in our diets. It’s estimated that 40% of American adults have a vitamin D deficiency. So, it certainly seems like we could all do with some serious time in the sun.

However, exposure to sunlight can also expose us to serious health risks. The UV radiation found in sunlight damages the skin cells. Over time, this damage can accumulate and create skin cancer. It will also cause spotting, wrinkles, and rough patches on the skin. There is no such thing as a safe tan, even from tanning beds, anyone is susceptible to sun damage, no matter how much melanin naturally occurs in their skin. This problem is so prevalent that currently, 1 in 5 people will develop some form of skin cancer by age 70. So much for a “healthy glow.”

Don’t Fry Day aka National Sunscreen Day is the perfect opportunity to teach good habits to kids regarding sun exposure and protection. Parents can teach proper application techniques, how to limit sun exposure, and how to recognize warning signs. Here are a few tips from us at Best Brains!

  • Sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout your time in the sun, at least every two hours, and again after excessive sweating or swimming.
  • Do not use tanning beds. Ever. They are very unsafe for your skin and there are alternatives like spray tans which can give you the same effect.
  • Check yourself and your family’s skin every week in the summertime, and report any moles or dark spots to your family doctor. These will have to be monitored over time to check for growth or discoloration.

The most important message of National Sunscreen Day is that the risks posed by sun exposure can be mitigated with sunscreen and mindfulness. So, get out there and safely enjoy the sunshine!

Celebrate Earth Day with a Haiku

Apr-22, 2020

hugging earth cartoon

Photo created by pikisuperstar

What better way to honor Mother Earth than with a lovely haiku poem ? This traditional Japanese style of poetry is a favorite all over the world, so let’s write one together!

As you may know, as traditional haiku has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. This 5-7-5 scheme represents simplicity and calm. A haiku can capture the briefest moment and make it beautiful. Scientists estimate that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. That’s a lot of moments, and a lot of potential haiku!

When creating your haiku, choose a moment in nature which meant a great deal to you. A beautiful sunset, or a bird landing in your yard, or the way an icicle drips when the sun comes out. You can look around outside for moments like this to add to your memories. Breathe in the fresh air, walk between the trees, look and listen to the natural world around you.

Paper and Pencil

Photo created by jannoon028

Now that we have the subject of our haiku, let’s construct it. A haiku doesn’t need fancy words, complex metaphors, or witty jokes. Let the haiku express your honest and true feelings. Here are some examples.


A bird on the lawn,
Rests only a moment here.
I hope he returns.



Winter can be cold.
But when I think of summer,
My memory warms.



This tree is a home.
I see the squirrel within it.
Be safe, little squirrel.



Haikus take practice to create, but can so perfectly capture a memory or a feeling. Let’s write haiku this week and save some memories we can share with others. If you would like to share your Earth Day haiku with us, please comment below!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov-26, 2019


As we approach Thanksgiving Day, everyone at Best Brains want to wish each of you and your family a wonderful celebration of gratitude. We are grateful for you for entrusting us to be part of your family and allowing us the opportunities to help your students. It is a blessing and privilege for the Best Brains family to do what we do best, teach.

For Thanksgiving, please continue to express gratitude to your students and let them know you are so proud of how hard they are working to learn and grow. Let’s all be grateful for the little students in our lives. They might be little. They definitely have big hearts and do their best!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Digital Learning Day – February 28th

Feb-25, 2019


Photo Credit: Sean Freese from Flickr

Every fourth Thursday in the month of February is Digital Learning Day. This year it falls on the 28th. Before you get carried away thinking this day is meant to drown out the need for teachers and educational personnel in our school systems, just know that you are jumping to the wrong conclusion.

What is Digital Learning?

Digital learning is any kind of instruction given that uses technology for educational purposes. With digital learning, teachers and educators are able to give more individualized instruction, feedback, provide better assessments, access challenging information, and provide opportunities for learning anywhere or anytime.

This type of instruction is not limited by any one kind of technology either. It may incorporate digital, content, blended or hybrid learning, online courses, digital resources, and more. This is high-quality instruction to ensure that each child is able to reach their full potential.

Digital learning is not just beneficial for the student though. It also provides tremendous support and assistance to teachers and educational personnel across the board. Using different technologies, professional educators are able to increase productivity and effectiveness which allows for more time to devote to their students.

The History and Purpose of Digital Learning Day

Digital Learning

Photo Credit: Dee & Tula monstah from Flickr

In this day and age, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest form of technologies available and to make sure they are effective as learning tools. Technology gives us the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things for education. However, only a handful of schools and teachers typically have access to some of these technological advances.

This day was started in 2012 as a way to share these new innovations and technologies with teachers and educators to make sure that all children are given access to digital learning opportunities.

Every year teachers and educators from all over the country get together to celebrate this day. Thousands of events take place nationwide to participate. Classrooms, schools, districts, and states all host these events with the sole purpose of sharing ideas and learning new ones. These pooled resources, lessons, and digital innovations make it possible for students’ education to improve and for teachers to become better at their jobs.

Many educational websites, schools, and companies also host webinars, online classes, and video-conferences on this day to help promote the sharing of these ideas. This day is not about replacing a teacher with a screen or any other form of technology. It's about creating the most effective learning environment for all students with tools that are used everywhere else besides the education industry. Let’s create better classrooms for America by spreading innovation and effective technology. Our children’s education depends on it.