True/False Game on
Snack: Since one of the best-loved stories about George Washington had to
do with cherries, let's make a snack with cherries when we celebrate Washington's
birthday, Feb. 22.
Note that the cherry tree story ("I cannot tell a
lie") was made up about Washington by a biographer, after Washington's death,
to teach children about Washington's honesty. It was included in the McGuffey
Readers, which were books that were used to teach children to read for decades
Well, Washington really WAS honest - but apparently,
he never chopped down a cherry tree in his childhood. But let's enjoy a snack
in his memory, anyway:
1 can cherry pie filling
1 lg. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 C. pecans
1 C. mini marshmallows
½ C. sugar
Mix all but bananas. Let stand in
the refrigerator. Before serving, cut up three bananas into the bowl and gently
stir. Serves 6-8.
Covered elastic hairband
Crushed chocolate wafers in a small cup
14 mini marshmallows in a small cup
Mini diploma: roll up a dollar bill in a small piece of white paper
and tie with a ribbon
Zip-lock bag of crisp cut-up vegetables
Small sack of peanuts
Small sack of mini marshmallows
Let's bust some myths about the Father of Our Country. He was our
general in the Revolutionary War that freed us from Great Britain, and he was
our First President . . . George Washington. He was born on Feb. 22, 1732, and
lived until 1799.
Let's take a quiz about him. Select one student to ask the
questions. The others should compete to be first to raise a hand with the right
answer, true or false. The winners get the prizes listed below each question.
These are from historians at President Washington's home and
museum, Mount Vernon, our nation's most-visited historic site, which is in
Virginia a few miles outside Washington, D.C.:
1. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington had
FALSE. He had
false teeth, but they were not made of wood. As a matter of fact, the materials
used in his false teeth were probably more uncomfortable than wood. In one set
of teeth, his dentist, Dr. John Greenwood, used a cow's tooth, one of
Washington's teeth, hippopotamus ivory, metal and springs. They fit poorly and
distorted the shape of his mouth.
(For the winner, a new
2. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington threw
a silver dollar across the Potomac River.
FALSE. This myth
is often told to demonstrate his strength. The Potomac River is over a mile
wide. Even George Washington was not that good an athlete! Moreover, there were
no silver dollars when Washington was a young man. His step-grandson, George
Washington Parke Custis, reported in his memoirs that Washington once threw a
piece of slate "about the size and shape of a dollar" across the Rappahanock
River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Rappahannock River at the site of the
Washington family homestead today measures only 250 feet across, a substantial
but perhaps not impossible distance to throw.
(For the winner, a silver
3. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington
didn't wear a wig, though it looks like it in the paintings of him.
though wigs were fashionable, Washington kept his own hair, which he wore long
and tied back in a queue, or ponytail. He did, however, powder his hair as was
the custom of the time.
(For the winner: sprinkle
baby powder on the winner's hair and tie with a covered elastic band if it's
long enough for a "queue," or ponytail)
4. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington is
buried under the U.S. Capitol building.
FALSE. Congress built a burial vault under the
Capitol building, planning to bury George Washington there. But in his will,
Washington specified that he wished to be buried at Mount Vernon. His heirs
honored his wish, and the vault at the U.S. Capitol remains empty to this day.
(For the winner: a small
cup of crushed chocolate wafer, representing dirt, but a lot tastier!)
5. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington had
seven sons and seven daughters.
Washington had no children of his own, although he did help raise two of his
wife Martha's children from her first marriage, and two of her grandchildren,
at Mount Vernon.
(For the winner: 14 mini
6. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington
graduated from Harvard University.
FALSE. He did
not attend college. The death of his father ended Washington's formal
schooling. However, he believed strongly in formal education. In his will, he
left money and/or stocks to support three educational institutions.
(For the winner: the
mini-diploma with the dollar inside - showing George Washington's face)
7. TRUE OR FALSE: Besides being a general
and our first president, George Washington was a farmer.
who believed that America should become a "granary to the world," sought to
improve many aspects of farming. His advanced crop rotations, use of
fertilizers, experimentation with crops, and innovative farm equipment made him
one of the "pioneers" of modern agriculture.
(For the winner: a zip-lock
bag of crisp vegetables)
8. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington realized
slavery was wrong, long before most American plantation owners did, and he
freed his slaves.
attitude toward slavery gradually changed as he grew older and especially as he
fought for liberty in the American Revolution. Almost every landowner had
slaves back in those days, but Washington was one of the first to realize it
was very wrong. In his will, he freed those slaves belonging to him (about 124)
and his estate paid for the care of former Mount Vernon slaves for decades
after his death. At least nine early presidents owned slaves, but only one --
Washington -- freed all of his slaves.
(for the winner: a small
sack of peanuts, since slavery is NUTS!)
9. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington only
got 60 votes in the first presidential election.
TRUE. At that
time, there was no popular vote for president. The president was elected only by
the votes of the electoral college, which was made up of representatives from
each state. The 69 votes Washington received, however, represented one vote
from each elector -- thereby making George Washington the only president in
history to have been unanimously elected.
(for the winner: a small
sack containing 69 sunflower seed kernels)
10. TRUE OR FALSE: George Washington lived
in the White House.
Washington was the only U.S. President who did not live in the White House,
which was not completed until after his death. During his two terms as
president, the capital of the United States was located in New York and, later,
in Philadelphia. George Washington played a large role, however, in the
development of the new Federal City named after him - Washington, D.C. -- and
in overseeing the design of both the Capitol Building and the White House.
the winner: a small sack of mini marshmallows to build into mini columns like
the ones on the front of the White House, and then eat!)
Let's get to know our first President a little
He grew up on a farm in Virginia. In
those days, the United States wasn't a separate country. It was a "colony"
owned by England.
George loved to ride his pony, Whitefoot. He even
rode his pony to school, which was in a little cabin on his own farm.
George Washington . . .
by the artist Dick Smolinski
He learned about horses and farming from
his father and his brothers. He was the best rider anyone knew.
When he was 11, his father died.
From then on, he often stayed at Mount Vernon, which was the home of his
brother Lawrence. George was tall, strong and good-looking. Lawrence and his friends
treated George like a man.
When he was about 15, he decided to
become a surveyor, like his father had been. To "survey" means to look at
something in detail. A surveyor measures land, so that when people buy land and
farms, they will know exactly where the property begins and ends. George got a
job working with a surveyor, making maps for him.
He got to go out into the wilderness
and camp, loved to tell stories about his experiences, and learned surveying
very well. By age 17, he had passed the surveying exam, and was working
The more he went around surveying
his country, the more he loved it. So he decided to serve his country in the
army. By age 21, he was already a major. He was still a surveyor, too, and took
a lot of long trips into the wilderness.
At about this time, the army from
France was building a big fort near Lake Erie, very far away, and the English
leaders were mad about that. They thought it mean that France would try to take
away their colonies, too. So George offered to travel all the way to the new
big fort and delivered a message from England, that the French shouldn't build
a fort there. He was very brave.
Soon thereafter, war broke out
between the French and the British. It took seven years. The British won, and
took Canada away from the French. George fought in the war and by the time it
was oven, he was a colonel. He had become the main leader of Virginia.
By that time, his older brother had
died, so he owned Mount Vernon. He added on to it and got married to Martha
Custis. She had been married before and had two children, so it was a blended
He was a very good farmer and got
very rich. But he continued to serve Virginia, helping to make laws for the
Pretty soon, the American Revolution
began. People didn't want England to own the United States any more. They
didn't want to pay taxes to England, and wanted to buy and sell things wherever
they wanted to, not just in England. So they decided to go to war to win their
They chose George Washington as
He had to make an army out of
basically farm boys. He had to train them in how to shoot and fight, and get
enough food, clothing and guns for them.
During one winter at Valley Forge in
Pennsylvania, the soldiers were sick and hungry. Many of them had no shoes.
That was probably the low point of the war. But George Washington stuck with
his troops, and encouraged them.
Even though it took eight years, and
they lost a lot of battles, in the end, the American soldiers won. A lot of
people think it was because of the great leadership of their general, George
Not long thereafter, he was elected
the first president of the United States of America.
He rode his horse all the way to the
capital, which was then in New York City, and in every town people waved flags
and cheered for him. They threw flowers beneath his horse's feet. They really
It was the first time in world
history that a government would be run by ordinary people, like George
Washington, and not by a king or queen. It was very hard, and some Americans
wanted to make George a king instead of an elected President, but he insisted
that America should be governed by regular people and not get into royalty like
so many other countries had.
Everyone loved him so much that this
was what they often said about him:
"First in war, first in peace, and
first in the hearts of his countrymen."
After he served as President for
eight years, he was very happy to go back to Mount Vernon and farm until he