Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Under God the People Rule"

This is the official state motto of South Dakota. I came across this as I was looking at the map as we crossed the state on our travels back from an amazing vacation in Wyoming. I was reminded of the Godly dominion spoken of in Genesis 1:28 and Psalm 8:6. Also the motto "Under God the people rule" testifies to His sovereign rule (see Proverbs 21:1, Psalm 96:9Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 10Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"). There are other states with motto's that reflect our dependence and trust in God. Florida's official motto is the same as the United States motto, "In God We Trust." It was on their state seal since 1868, but it wasn't until July 1, 2006 that it became their official motto. I really like the license plate option we have in Indiana, it is also nice to know that it is constitutional. Ohio's motto "With God All Things are Possible" was, of course, challenged by the ACLU in 1997, but Ohio's motto was shown not to violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

The reason we journeyed up to South Dakota was to see the National Parks. I had never been to Mount Rushmore. Aw we were driving there we saw a dark rock. I wondered how they got the name Black Hills. We learned it had nothing to do with the color of this rock, but because of how dark the hills can look with the rich ponderosa pines. Especially when a cloud would come, I clearly understood why they were the Black Hills. We got there just in time for the last park ranger walk of the day. The sun was getting low as the kids worked on the Junior Ranger workbook.

It was a beautiful site, a monument to democracy (that was one of the answers we had a hard time finding in the workbook). Around 9 o'clock they started a lighting ceremony. We soon discovered that they wouldn't turn the lights on until the end of the hour long ceremony. We hadn't reserved a hotel room for the night and we had already been driving all day, so we hit the road before illumination.

Before we left we learned about some great mathematics involved in the construction of Mount Rushmore. They made a model with the scale ratio of 1:12. One foot on the scale model corresponded to 12 feet on the mountain, or as the picture below indicates, 1 inch = 1 foot. This reminds me of an activity I have my students do when they are learning about vectors and, depending on the spring scale they use, 1 newton is set to equal 1 centimeter. Scale comes up in many math classes as well. Similar triangles is taught in geometry and the last year I worked on a cool activity to help students explore a topic in the Prentice Hall Algebra 1 text.
The monument was made using protractors, plumb bob, distance measuring devices (and some explosives). To read more about the mathematical details of Rushmore, check out this site.
Do you get the irony/humor in the picture on the right? ... "Math Rocks!" ... Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln are rocks. I read that 90% of Americans can't name the faces on Rushmore. After my kids had the interview with a ranger at the end of searching all the exhibits to find answers for the Junior Ranger workbook, I'm certain they will remember which president is which for quite some time.

We have learned so much by doing the Junior Ranger Programs all over the country, including FL, KY, MO, IN, DC, and now SD. Here is a picture of adventures in the past.

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