Welcome to our 3rd edition! We’ve now added our sources for further reading!

Teachers are always looking for fun and relevant tidbits for the classroom to increase student engagement, break up the lesson and provide new focus for learning. We have done the searching for you. A couple of times a year, we will send you a handful of relevant tidbits that you can use in the classroom. Like our Facebook page and see them as we post them individually through the term, along with our other updates and latest news. You can also leave feedback on our blog.

El Gato – agile like a cat!

The Locals of Madrid are called Madrileños and are often called “Gatos” (cats) from a legend of an Arabic invasion, when a soldier scaled the walls as adeptly as a cat. The legend continues that his family took the name Gato afterwards! [InHispania] – relevant tour

A hefty talent

The talent is a measure of weight and unit of currency, used widely in the ancient world. The mass varied between different cultures, but the for the Greeks and Romans is estimated to be about 25.8kg. Now that is the weight of history! [Encyclopaedia Britannica] – relevant tour

The real Rollo the Viking

While many of the characters are created for the TV series Vikings, one real character is Rollo, who is credited as the founder of the duchy of Normandy after a treaty with Charles III the Simple. Unlike in the tv series, those Scandinavians who came with him successfully settled in the country adopting language, customs and the religion and became known as Normans, and rests now in Rouen. One of his distant successors is William I England (aka William the Conqueror), whose exploits are recorded on the Bayeux Tapestry. William was born in Falaise where the Ducal castle still stands today. [ThoughtCo] – relevant tour

Why did USA enter WWI?

On 6 April 1917, the USA declared war on Germany, a complete reversal to their Monroe doctrine of neutrality. Several reasons were quoted: President Woodrow Wilson explained that Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare sinking unarmed vessels including passenger liners was “a warfare against mankind”. The final straw was the sinking of the American liner Housatonic. Combined with the notorious Zimmermann Telegram – an intercepted coded cable from Germany’s Foreign Minister to the Mexican Government offering an alliance against the USA – the outraged US Congress voted 373 against 50 to enter the war. [History Channel]

The female space race

Since its creation in 1958, NASA has sent 348 astronauts into space. As at 2017, 50 women have flown with NASA. The Women in Space training program started in 1961, although it was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova who became the first woman in space in 1963. It was not until 1983 when Sally Ride became the first American woman in space! Female astronauts now account for 14.3% of total, including commanders, pilots and crew. [NASA]

Don’t believe your eyes…

Trompe l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) is a painting technique has been used not only for painting on canvas, but also for internal and external decorations of buildings to increase the perceived beauty. In Nice, artists have added all kinds of other architectural features like balustrades and even pot plants painted onto the building! Can you tell what is real and what is painted on? [Nice for Tourists] – relevant tour

The Brexit Effect…

Almost 30,000 EU citizens have applied for UK citizenship in 2017. That a rise of 44% from Poland, over 300% from Germany, 260% from Italy. These appear to be mostly people already living in the UK for 5 years or more who wish to make sure they can stay! [The Guardian]

Sahara Desert is e-x-p-a-n-d-i-n-g

There has been a 10% increase in area of the Sahara Desert in less than a century! Deserts are defined as receiving less than 25cm of rain per year. While it is currently 9.4 million sq.km, and varies in size according to seasonal changes such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, this would account for two-thirds of its variation, however it appears to be moving Southwards due to Atlantic Ocean temperature variation, and Northwards because of climate change.[Live Science]

Study Tour Killer: Assumptions (2 of 8)

Assuming a price based on last year’s tour or a different configuration – as we know, pricing and exchange rates fluctuate, plus the configuration of a tour can also significantly affect a quote. A quote from Sep2016 for a tour in Apr2018 can be quite different from a quote in Sep2018 for a tour in Apr2020. Likewise, the individual cost per student will be different for 18 boys in 6 triple rooms with two teachers, than 14 mixed boys and girls with 4 twins and 2 triples with two teachers plus a partner in a single room and a double room.
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