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Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and ChildrenCobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children

Cobblestone American History and Current Events for Kids and Children September 2017

COBBLESTONE is the award-winning and respected leader in the study of American history for young people. COBBLESTONE tells America’s story through a unique mix of captivating articles, lively graphics, historical photographs, primary sources, and maps. Each themed-issue examines historical events in detail making them exciting and relevant to today. A must-have for every history classroom and media center. Grades 5-9.

United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Issues


access_time1 min.
editor’s note

Most people today are familiar with the slogan “Save the Whales,” but 200 years ago, hunting whales was a major economic driver in America. Back then sailors hoped to hear “Thar blows!” It meant that a whale had been sighted. Whales provided the raw material for a number of things, but the most important product was oil. Before petroleum, natural gas, and electricity became sources of energy, whale oil, melted down from whales’ thick layer of blubber, provided the fuel to shine light. By the mid-20th century, however, the commercial whaling industry had killed so many whales that many populations were endangered. Today, the international community is trying to stop the hunting of marine mammals—whales in particular—and give them a chance to recover.…

access_time4 min.
riches of the ocean

For hundreds of years, whales were one of the riches of the ocean. Commercial whaling was viewed as an important and admirable occupation because the main industry it supported—supplying oil for light—was invaluable in a time before electricity or natural gas were introduced. The first humans to learn the value of a whale probably made the discovery by accident. They most likely came across a beached whale or a whale carcass that had washed ashore. In an age when survival was part of daily life, finding a source of food and something that yielded material to make tools must have been an amazing event. People learned how to use every part of the whale. They ate the whale’s blubber and meat. They wove its baleen into baskets or fashioned it into fishing…

access_time4 min.
meet the crew

New England whaling crews were made up of a diverse community of men. They often included local New Englanders, white Europeans, African Americans, Native Americans, and Polynesians. Whaling attracted all sorts of men because whaling ships offered more freedom and less prejudice than other jobs or trades at that time, thanks in large part to the Quaker ship owners and captains that dominated the industry in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Most Quakers were abolitionists and active in the Underground Railroad, which brought them into contact with fugitive slaves. Quakers often did not hesitate to hire nonwhite men as crewmembers or waterfront workers. Ships also picked up crew along the way. Cape Verde, a group of islands off the coast of northern Africa, became a regular stopping place for…

access_time3 min.
a variety of whales

Whales are members of a scientific order known as Cetacea. Cetaceans are found in every ocean and consist of two main suborders: baleen whales (or Mysticeti) and toothed whales (Odontoceti), which also include dolphins and porpoises. Whales are mammals, so they are warm-blooded, females give birth to live young and nurse them with milk, and they have hair (although not a lot). They can remain under water for a long time, but they need to breathe air and must surface to fill their lungs. They have a dramatic range in size: The blue whale is the largest whale and the largest living creature in the world today: It can reach almost 100 feet long. The dwarf sperm whale is the smallest whale, generally growing to about eight feet. Baleen whales…

access_time7 min.

A 19th-century whaler sailed the ocean alone, set apart from the rest of the world. A crew never knew where the hunt would take them. Big bowhead whales, the ones that would bring in large profits, often inhabited the icy waters of the Arctic. The crew tried to stay busy keeping the ship clean, maintaining their tools, and practicing how to lower and man the 30-foot-long whaleboats. But as the ship sailed the oceans, the men also endured long periods of waiting and hoping to catch sight of a whale. If they did see another ship, the two crews might participate in a gam, or a social get-together. After months at sea, visiting with other ships was a way to share news about home and information about whale sightings. Once…

access_time1 min.
parts and products

People used different parts of the whale in their daily lives in the 1800s. They used oil rendered from whale blubber, or fat, for lamp oil before kerosene and electricity became available. They also used whale oil for cosmetics, soap, and paint. The highest quality oil came from spermaceti, a waxy substance found in the sperm whale’s head. Spermaceti was valued for making candles and lamp oil because it took a long time to burn, it burned brightly, and it didn’t smoke or smell while burning. It was also useful as a lubricant in machinery, such as in clock-making and firearms, and in cosmetics and ointments. Ambergris, a greasy substance sometimes found in a sperm whale’s intestines, initially was used to make medicine before it became popular in making perfume and…