According to Brooksville Elementary School first-graders, marshmallows date to ancient Egypt. Marshmallow plant roots were used to make a honey-sweetened confection to treat sore throats. The plant's sap was used to make candy.
Second-graders say the television showThe Simpsons is banned in Venezuela.
These are two of the facts that the students have been collecting for this year's geography research event, "Quarters to MOOve the World Global Celebration."
Each year, the students research different countries, make displays to show what they have learned and make things to sell to raise money for a yearly cause. This year's recipient is Heifer International, a nonprofit charitable organization that provides livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially-disadvantaged families around the world.
Kindergarteners studied Australia and made sea star necklaces to sell at the Grand Mercado (grand market). Their display included pictures of wildlife, a boomerang, a cardboard tube made into a didgeridoo, wooden plates decorated with Aboriginal art, a map and country facts.
Besides handing out marshmallows (very popular with all grade levels that visited), the first-graders' Egypt display showed the hieroglyphic alphabet, a map, pictures and a video. The children made hair bands and bookmarks with hieroglyphics to sell.
The second-grade Venezuela exhibit had a computer slide show, maps, photos and facts. This grade level's contribution to the market was key chains.
Third-graders focused on Italy. Their display had flags, a map, pasta, a bagged pizza crust and information books. They made bookmarks to sell.
The fourth grade studied Indonesia. They displayed masks, tea bags, chili pepper and a dish of dry rice.
"I learned that their main food is rice," said fourth-grader Carson Lashley, 10. He says he doesn't care for rice or snakes, both of which can be found there.
As for his schoolmates' displays, he appreciated one newly learned fact in particular. "My favorite thing that I learned was that marshmallows came from Egypt," he said. "That was awesome."
Fourth-grader Elizabeth Guckian, 10, likes flags. She studied Indonesia and said, "I learned that their flag is red on top and white on the bottom and it's actually the Polish flag upside down."
Looking around at the other displays, she was impressed with Italy's flag. "I liked how in Italy the flag is just stripes," she said. "It's really easy to draw."
The fourth-graders provided colorful, paper pinwheels for the mercado.
The fifth-graders took on an entire continent, making a display of Mexico, the United States and Canada. There were sombreros, maracas, a stuffed toy chihuahua, picture books, pictures and maps for Mexico. The United States display included a globe, flags, stars and copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address.
Canada's exhibit was pictures of the country's money, maps, photos of national interest and a reproduction of a totem pole. The fifth-graders made red, white and blue bracelets for the sale.
Third-grader Samantha Smith, 9, was visiting the displays and said what she likes about the global celebration. "This is where we get the facts about every country we've studied," she said. "I like it. I like that we can collect different facts and can help out for all kinds of places."