Tag Archives: holiday

Did you know that March 30 is National Pencil Day? Why shouldn’t we celebrate the pencil? Anyone writing the history of education in America would be wise to include a long, loving chapter in praise of the writing implement synonymous with the SAT and ACT. Anywhere students huddle over a Scantron form, you will find #2 pencils and plenty of them… at least for now! The ubiquity of this unassuming tool belies the elegance and perfection of its form and function. How the basic wooden pencil became such a valuable and useful writing implement is reviewed in a brilliant article in Popular Mechanics, The Write Stuff How the Humble Pencil Conquered the World. This lavish account of the pencil’s origins and ascendancy reveals some fascinating facts: The word “pencil” is derived from pencillum, Latin for “a fine brush.” The crystalline carbon substance we know as graphite was first discovered under a…

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Mid-March is chock full of special days (as well as snow, if you live in upstate New York, which is another story entirely.) While most people focus on St. Patrick’s Day on March 17–the day most wardrobes and some rivers turn green–March 15 marks the Ides of March, most meaningful, perhaps, to Julius Caesar. Mathematicians start the festivities early, though, commemorating the day that evokes one of the most meaningful and magical numbers of all: pi. What makes pi (or π) so special? The number 3.14159… is the ultimate irrational number, a non-repeating, non-terminating decimal that pops up in all kinds of math and physics formulas. Pi serves as a staple in circle geometry, representing a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Obviously, pi is impressive and worthy of celebration, but how does one actually celebrate Pi Day? Even if you don’t feel…

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Even if you live in Western New York, you may not have noticed that Rochester residents ROCK Earth Day. This spring, Delta Laboratories organized a massive Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP that blended trash collection with data collection to teach students about water quality and pollution. Sounds fun, but was this event successful? Does a 61% increase in trash collection over last year sound good enough? According to the final tally, 2,658 volunteers across the area collected over 2,389 bags of trash and large debris from our environment. Way to go! Kudos to everyone who contributed and participated in this outstanding environmental event. This is the first year that Chariot Learning sponsored the Greater Rochester Earth Day CleanUP, but it definitely won’t be the last!