Writing Prompts for MarchBy James Wayne
According to tradition, migrating turkey buzzards arrive in Hinckley, Ohio, every year on this date. The people of Hinckley have a huge celebration, and people come from all over the US to attend it. Write an advertisement or poem for Buzzard Day in Hinckley.
In 1911, Gustave Otto started a factory to make modern gasoline engines, which he had invented several years before. Gasoline engines are lightweight and powerful, and are used for cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, lawnmowers, snow blowers, and many other useful machines. List five ways your life would change if Otto had not invented the gasoline engine.
In 1812, a group of Russians set up a settlement on the banks of the Russian River in California. Suppose the entire state of California had been settled by Russians. How do you think life there would be different from life today? List at least 3 ways.
Henny Youngman, a comic famous for his many corny jokes, was born in 1906. A corny joke is one that is silly and seems not to make sense. Here is a corny joke: “Q. What is huge and purple and looks like a mouse? A. A mouse—I was just kidding about it being huge and purple.” Write down the corniest joke you can remember or invent. Share your corny joke with your classmates.
The US Military Academy was founded in 1802 at West Point, New York, to train officers for the army. What are four qualities a good officer must have? Explain your choices.
Today is St. Urho Day in Finland. St. Urho didn’t really exist, but was made up by a department store manager as an excuse to have a sale—and a party. It is said he chose today for his saint to get ahead of the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day. He made up a story about St. Urho’s holy chanting driving away the grasshoppers that threatened to ravage the wild grape vines of Finland. Since grapes have never grown wild in Finland, the story is way bogus. The Finns know it, but many of them celebrate the holiday anyway. A fake saint deserves some fake traditions to go with his holiday. Invent a tradition about how St. Urho’s Day should be celebrated.
Ferdinand Porsche produces the first Porsche car in 1949. Porsche cars are famous for being fast and agile. What are 2 qualities a good car must have, in your opinion? Why do you think those qualities are most important?
Shemp Howard, one of the original Three Stooges, was born in 1895. Some people love the Stooges, other people don’t like them. How do you feel about them and the kind of comedy they do (called slapstick).
What signs of spring have you been able to observe so far? What natural event do you consider proves that winter is over?
Novelist John Updike was born in 1932. He once wrote, “Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them.” What do you think he meant by that?
Daylight Savings Time was first used in 1918 as a way to cut down the used of electricity during World War 1. Do you like Daylight Savings Time? Why or why not?
Electric eels were first described in science publications by Alexander von Humboldt in 1800. Until his experiments, it was not known that animals could use electric current as a defense, and many people at first thought the report a hoax or mistake. Electric eels are very strange animals, but there are many others. What do you think is the strangest animal you have ever heard of or read about? Write a brief description of the animal, stressing its strangeness.
This is the official First Day of Spring on most years. Make a list of the springtime activities you like the best. Tell why you like them.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was published in 1852. This harrowing story of slave life was the first big international best seller published by an American. Its plot, based on real events, changed many people’s mind about slavery. Have you ever read a book that changed your mind, or the mind of someone you know, about something? What was the book, and what did it change your mind about?
Psychologist B.F. Skinner was born in 1904. When asked about the future of computers, he said, “The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.” What do think he meant by that?
In 1942, two American scientists describe element 94, which they named “plutonium,” after the newly discovered planet. If you discovered a new element, what would you name it? Describe what a new element might be like, and why you chose the name you did.
French scientist Louis Pasteur began work on a vaccine against anthrax in 1877. Pasteur had already proved that microorganisms cause disease, and had invented a way to purify milk and other liquids that cannot be boiled. This process was named pasteurization, after him. If something was to be named after you, what would you like it to be, or to do?
Today is Bird Day in Iowa, to encourage the appreciation of songbirds. What is your favorite songbird?
If you move to the United States from another country, it will take you seven years (at least) to become an American citizen. You will have to take and pass a test about American history, government, and laws. Some people think seven years is too long, others that it is too short. How long do you think it should take to become an American citizen? Give reasons for your answer.