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This Week's Facts:

  1. Online Aerospace Tools Help Kids Track Santa

  2. LOC Connects Educators to American History Resources

  3. MedlinePlus Offers Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

  4. Celebrate Holidays with Family Fun Events at ISM

Census: Facts for Features Fun Holiday Facts from the US Census

According to the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features for the 2009 Holiday Season, the 683 American businesses that produced toys, games, and children’s vehicles in 2007 employed 10,708 workers. California had the largest number of these businesses with 112 establishments. Christmas tree farmers in the U.S. generated $410 million in sales in 2007. Almost one quarter of these sales ($109.3 million) were made in Oregon. Names of places across the country that bring to mind the holiday season include Santa Claus, IN; Noel, MO; Rudolph, WI; and Snowflake, AZ. A safe and happy holiday season to everyone, at home and while you travel.

Friday Facts is a production of the Indiana State Library

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth O’Donnell
Documents Librarian
Kim Brown-Harden
Documents Coordinator

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Online Aerospace Tools Help Kids Track Santa

Norad Santa TrackerWhy just wait for Santa to arrive on Christmas, when you can also track where his sleigh is?  The International, Space & Response Division (ISR) of Los Alamos National Laboratory will be tracking Santa’s movements from the moment he leaves the North Pole this year.  According to Where’s Santa Claus Now?, he will leave the North Pole at 6:00 AM (Mountain Standard Time) and reach Siberia at 7:00 AM.  Hoosier children will be happy to hear that he will reach Indiana some time between 9:00 and 10:00 PM.  ISR will use sensors on the FORTE satellite to track Santa and will also be aided by the US Air Force.  Because of Rudolph’s glowing nose, they are confident that he will be easy to detect.  It is hoped that the glow from his nose will give satellite trackers an actual glimpse of the sleigh. 

ISR is not the only agency to track Santa this year.  The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is doing so as well.  NORAD is a bi-national military organization between the United States and Canada and is responsible for aerospace and maritime defense.  In addition to allowing users to track Santa once he leaves the North Pole, NORAD tracks Santa includes a countdown to when his journey begins and also includes daily updates from Mrs. Claus.  You will also be able to view video of his journey once he leaves.  Check out their FAQs for further information about Santa, the history of NORAD’s Santa-tracking devices and just how exactly Santa is able to deliver all those toys.

LOC Connects Teachers to American History Resources

Library of Congress: Teacher's PageTeachers in your library community may be interested in the Teachers Page from the Library of Congress.  The site has a variety of extra teaching sources available.  Classroom materials are divided into Primary Source Sets, Themed Resources, Lesson Plans, Collection Connections and Presentations and Activities.  Each of these has different types of materials available.  For example, under Primary Source Sets, you can click on Baseball across a divided society and access photographs, old advertisements, a 7-page Teacher Guide, and analysis tools.  You can also choose displays by theme.  So, if you are interested in that same baseball topic, you could choose Themed Resources and access everything available on baseball.  Other topics include government, early aviation, and the Great Depression, among others.

The Teachers Page also contains information on professional development.  Teachers are able to participate in training modules in order to develop research, analysis, and general teaching skills.  As the main focus is teaching with primary materials, this is a particularly great resource for social studies teachers.

MedlinePlus Offers Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

MedlinePlusAchoo! Your patron has been sneezing and he or she wants to know whether it’s a cold or could be the flu… Will the answer be online?  Before starting a search, read the MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing. It gives eight criteria and tips you can check to demonstrate the reliability of health information found online. One of these eight is to “Be a Cyberskeptic,” or to be aware of websites that make false claims about health. It’s important to rely on your skills to weed out the false information from the authoritative, and to share these skills with the public. To be even more prepared for health-related questions, watch or download Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine.

Celebrate Holidays with Family Fun Events at the State Museum

Indiana State MuseumWhat better way to get into the holiday spirit than to have tea with Mrs. Claus, a ride on the Santa Claus Express, or breakfast with Santa himself? The Indiana State Museum comes alive with holiday merriment and fun for the entire family.  Celebration Crossing is an annual event that combines traditional holiday nostalgia with new, exciting activities for children of all ages.  Check the events calendar for exact times and days of specific activities or to purchase tickets.  The museum will be open extended hours December 21-23 so plan your visit  with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and enjoy some of the other fascinating exhibits while you’re there.  Have a wonderful holiday season at the Crossing and look out for reindeer tracks!