Monday, September 10, 2012

Take a Little Trip to Brazil !!

Ola from Brazil!

Well, here we are in South America, in a country with the greatest biodiversity of any country in the world.  In a country that is home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest, as well as, grasslands, swamplands, prairies, redwood forests and famous beaches - Brazil.   On the map, the capital Brasilia is located at 15º.48S/ 47º.54W.  If you look at South America, Brazil is by far the largest country and, also, the longest at 2800 miles from top to bottom.  Brazil is home to most of the Amazon river, where 20% of all the world's fresh water flows through it's tributaries and estuaries.  The country is the world's largest producer of coffee, sugar, and alcohol and also has a few other titles to be proud of:
  • Most species of Monkeys in the world
  • Has won the Soccer World Cup more than any other country- 5 times! Also has the world's largest Soccer Stadium!
  • 100% Energy dependent and one of the leading producers of hydroelectric power (makes sense with that big river)
Brazil is an interesting country so let's get a little history.  The first people were the Indian natives who still live in the country in more than 651 Indian reservations.  The Yanomami have the largest numbers with around 18,000 members.  The first European settlers came in April, 1500, when Portuguese sailor Pedro Alvares, landed on the shores.  They named the country for the Brazilwood trees that were found along the shoreline.  These first immigrants produced sugar and found some gemstones and gold, but soon a major discovery of gold and diamonds brought many more immigrants.  Soon, coffee plantations were adding to the wealth and bringing even more immigrants.  The Queen of Portugal and her son fled to Brazil to escape Napolean in 1808 and, even after the Queen's death and the end of Napolean's reign, the Prince (now King) stayed on until 1821.  He chose to leave his son Pedro behind to rule Brazil.  Well, his son must've really like Brazil, because a year after his dad left, he decided to declare Brazil an independent country and appoint himself the Emperor! Lucky for him his father peacefully agreed and Brazil was now independent from Portugal.  It was a monarchy until 1889, when it peacefully (again) became a Republic.  After a few periods of military rule, Brazil became a democracy in 1982 and has been one since. 

Project 1:  The Brazilian Flag

The flag of Brazil is pretty cool.  On the surface it looks like a normal flag, but it is an astronomy lesson, a history lesson and a geometry lesson, if you really want to stretch it :)  The flag is a green background with a yellow diamond on it.  Inside the yellow diamond is a dark blue circle with stars and a banner - nothing special right?  What I wouldn't ever have known without doing this blog, is that the stars on the blue circle are the constellations that were seen over Rio de Janiero on November 11th, 1889.  That was the night that Emperor Dom Pedro II was deposed and the Republic of Brazil was declared.  How cool is that?  If you want to know the names of all the constellations you can find the info on, along with other cool facts! The banner across the "sky" reads "Ordem E Progresso" which is Portuguese for Order and Progress.  And progress we will - onto the project!

For the project you will need:
  • Green, yellow, blue and white construction paper
  • stars - here is where a star hole punch would be handy.  I don't have one so we used 27 silver stickers
  • glue and scissors
1. Cut a yellow diamond (see? geometry.) and glue it to the center of the green rectangle.  Also cut a blue circle about 6" in diameter.
2. Glue blue circle to center of yellow diamond
3. Cut a small white banner that can go across circle about 3/4 of the way up. This should say - Ordem E Progresso
4. Now the astronomy part - place 27 stars (symbols of the 27 states of Brazil) in the exact constellations that were seen on November 15th, 1889.  Got it?  OR, you can just randomly stick them all over the bottom of the circle with one above the banner - kinda how the real flag looks to the untrained eye :)
There you go, now you are all set for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Brazil!  And you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge of Brazil :)

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