Ooops! Yesterday (Jan. 11th) was Amelia Earhart Day. The holiday recognizes the aviator’s 1935 takeoff from Honolulu on a trip to Oakland, Calif. When Earhart landed 18+ hours later on January 12th, she became the first person ever — male or female — to fly from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. She later commented on her experience flying over the desolate Pacific: “Indeed,” she said, “that was the most interesting cup of chocolate I have ever had, sitting up eight thousand feet over the middle of the Pacific Ocean, quite alone.”
Earhart is perhaps best know for her mysterious disappearance in 1937 during her attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world. Despite her notoriety for her final flight, Earhart’s career was marked by firsts, bests and records. For children, she is a study in courage and determination.
In honor of Amelia Earhart Day, Cooper and I had a little discussion about Earhart. He knew that she was a pilot. We discussed some other things we might like to know about her 2,400-mile journey across the Pacific: What plane did she fly (Lockheed Vega); where did she takeoff and land (Wheeler Field, Honolulu and Oakland); how long did it take (more than 18 hours). We researched these questions using a variety of internet and print resources. Part of our discussion focused on what Earhart might have had to eat and drink on her long journey….and how she might have gone to the bathroom. We never found any evidence as to how she performed the latter, but we brainstormed at least five ways it could have happened.
We also imagined what we would need to pack for an 18-hour journey. According to Cooper, we would need a sandwich, milk, hot chocolate, Winnie the Pooh and a video game. Once I explained to him how long the trip was, he agreed to pack two sandwiches.
There are a lot of great resources out there to learn about Earhart and her contributions:
- Scholastic’s lesson plan, including a timeline of Amelia’s life.
- New York Times “This Day in History” article.
- American Experience Earhart video.
- Earhart coloring pages from Classroom Jr.
- Patriot Press Teacher’s Guide for Amelia Earhart: Young Air Pioneer.