Friday, 21 April 2017

Daffodils, Marie Curie, and St David's Day

We did a project on daffodils which also covered Marie Curie and St David's Day.  We made daffodils out of toilet paper rolls and paper.  We painted them green for the stems/leaves.  We cut some others to look like the trumpet-shaped corona and painted them yellow.  We made some petals out of paper and painted them yellow as well.  Once everything was dry, we assembled them.

Here is our display from when M presented her project to her peers from the Project Club.

She spoke about the life cycle of the daffodil, Marie Curie and her discoveries and St David's Day.  They are all related because the daffodil is the emblem of both Marie Curie Cancer Care (a charity in the UK) and St David's Day.

We learned that daffodil is a perennial flower or plant.  This means that you plant it and it will continue to grow for more than two years.  The life cycle is planting, pre-bloom, bloom, preparing for dormancy and then dormancy.  It will continue to do this until the bulb eventually dies out or is removed from the ground.

In Canada daffodil month is April, however, in the UK March is daffodil month.  They bloom in March and people wear them on their lapels as a symbol of support for a certain charity. That charity is Marie Curie Cancer Care.  Why is the daffodil their symbol?   The daffodil is one of the first plants to flower in spring, which marks the return of flowering plants to the eco-system after winter hibernation. Because of this the charity uses the daffodil as a metaphor for bringing life to other people through charitable giving.

Marie Curie was born in Poland on 7th November 1867.  This year will mark the 150th anniversary of her birth.  Her sister Zofia died of typhus when Marie was 10 years old.  Two years later Marie's mother died of tuberculosis.  She finished high school when she was 15.  she's the first female scientist to win a Nobel Prize in any science.  She is the only person who has ever won Nobel Prizes in two disciplines – Physics (1903) and Chemistry (1911).

She was the first woman to receive a PHD (Doctorate of Philosophy) from a French university.  She had to leave Poland in order to continue her studies as women were not allowed to go to university in Poland.  She met and married Pierre Curie in 1895.  After he died in a horse carriage accident, she took over his teaching position and was the first female professor at the Sorbonne.

Pierre and Marie Curie discovered Polonium (named after Marie's birth country) and Radium – two elements of the periodic table.  Her research was very important to developing treatment for cancer.  She discovered the x-ray and during WWI she helped to equip ambulances with x-ray equipment which drove to the front lines.  The trucks were called Little Curies (les petits Curies) and are believed to have helped over one million soldiers during the war.

The Radium Institute specialised in cancer research and treatment.  Scientists from around the world came to her institute to study radioactivity.  She was a personal friend or contemporary of Albert Einstein.  She died in 1934 of leukaemia which was caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.  Her books are still kept under lock and key because of they are still radioactive due to the exposure to radiation.

Here are some videos about Marie Curie (one of them has a word that my daughter thought was vulgar.  I can't remember which one so I recommend watching them before you show your child):

Saint David's Day is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales.  It falls on the 1st of March, which is the date of Saint David's death in 589 AD. The feast has been celebrated since the canonisation of David in the 12th century (by Pope Callistus II).  It is not a national or bank holiday in the UK.

Legend has it that on the eve of the battle against the Saxons, St David advised the Britons to wear leeks in their caps.  This helped them to distinguish friend from foe and secured a great victory.  It is also a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek. (Yuck!)

The Welsh word for leek (the original national emblem) is Cenhinen, while the Welsh word for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr. Over the years they became confused until the daffodil was adopted as a second emblem of Wales.

We really enjoyed this project and putting together our display board.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading about it :-)