Currents
Penny for Our Thoughts?
Some of the topics we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

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School Launch Program

Brett Williams’ push for a STEM-based curriculum at Fredericksburg High School in 1996 certainly took off. Williams found a fun way to teach students lessons in science, technology, engineering and math while building a model rocket, which they then launched.

He called his program SystemsGo, and it spread to other schools. Students design rockets to meet specific criteria, such as sending a 1-pound payload 1 mile high or exceeding the sound barrier.

This year, more than 80 high schools in four states are scheduled participate in Rockets 2020 launches. The original schedule was altered by the outbreak of COVID-19, and the first event in Texas is tentatively scheduled for May 15–16 in Jacksboro. Launches in Stonewall (May 21–23) and Anahuac (May 28–30) will follow, and Jal, New Mexico, will host an event. Check the SystemsGo website for COVID-19 updates and to confirm launch dates.

Rockets will launch throughout the events, which are open to the public and free.

Call (830) 997-3567, or visit systemsgo.org for more information.

 

Worth Repeating

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin.
—Mark Twain

(With that, we remind you the deadline for filing taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15.)

 

Making Cents

April 1 is National One Cent Day.

That’s not an April Fool’s Day joke. It’s true.

A penny used to be worth something— enough to prompt the centuries-old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” In fact, some readers remember penny candy and corner stores, where, for just 1 cent, you could actually get something sweet.

The U.S. first issued a 1-cent coin in 1792. Because of inflation, what used to cost 1 cent then costs 27 cents today.

Though easily disregarded, the penny is the most abundant coin in the country, with about 7.8 billion produced by the U.S. Mint in 2018. But because pennies cost 2.06 cents each to produce, American taxpayers lost more than $82 million that year minting them.

That’s not a joke, either.

 

By the Numbers: 20 Million

That’s how many Americans demonstrated on behalf of the environment on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator, started the movement 50 years ago.

 

Joining Forces

On April 25, 1945, during World War II, the Eastern Front of the Allied forces met the Western Front on the River Elbe near the German town of Strehla.

Albert Kotzebue of Houston led an American patrol unit that crossed from the west side of the river and encountered Soviet soldiers on the east side.

Commemoration of the historic meeting that foretold the end of the war in Europe became known as Elbe Day.

 

TAGS: History, People, Science, Sports


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