TALES OUT OF SCHOOL--November 2000

by Julie Johnson

On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union. Activities relating to this event are often incorporated into the school curriculum. Anecdotal evidence from teachers indicates that there is always a need for new brainteasers for classroom use. Included in this issue of Tales Out of School is a variety of challenges for your students-arithmetic word problems that require use of Kansas facts, a library/internet scavenger hunt in which students must identify people with Kansas connections, and an acrostic. Of course, use of these activities is not limited to Kansas Day. As always, I would appreciate your comments and/or suggestions for this and future issues of Tales.

Kansas Math

1. What is the sum of the three Kansas area codes? 
2. Divide the number of counties in Kansas by five. What is the answer? 
3. Take the number of states that border Kansas. Multiply that by the number of senators in the Kansas senate. Add to that number the number of members in the Kansas House of Representatives. What is your answer? 
4. From the year that Bob Dole was the Republican nominee for U.S. President subtract the year that Alf Landon was the Republican nominee for U. S. President. What is your answer? 
5. If you drive 60 miles per hour, how long will it take you to drive from Olathe to Hugoton? 
6. On the average, how many days a year are sunny in Kansas? 
7. What is the percentage increase in elevation from the lowest elevation in Kansas to the highest elevation? 
8. How many more people are there in Kansas in 1999 than there were in 1990? What is the percentage increase in population? 
9. The state of Kansas is 411 miles from east to west and 208 miles from north to south. What is the area of the state in square miles? 
10. Using the information you discovered in problems 8 and 9, how many people per square mile are there in Kansas?

Famous People with Ties to Kansas

1. This scientist was born in 1879 near Fort Scott, Kansas. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1903; went to Yale where he earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. His research led to the discovery of vitamin A in 1913 and vitamin D in 1920. When he was 78 years old, he wrote The History of Nutrition. Who is he?

2. This boxer was born in Pottawatomie County, Kansas in 1882. When he began his professional boxing career in 1911, he was the biggest man ever in the ring-6 feet 6 inches, 235 pounds. He fought defending champion, Jack Johnson, on April 15, 1915 and defeated him after 26 rounds. His reign as champion ended on July 4, 1919 when he fought Jack Dempsey. Who is he?

3. This person grew up in the small railroad town of Ellis, Kansas. He worked as an apprentice in the Union Pacific repair yards but by 1911 he had decided that the automobile was the transportation of the future and went to work for the Buick Motor Company. In 1920 he set out on his own. In 1924 the first car of advanced design featuring four-wheel hydraulic brakes and a high compression engine was manufactured. A skyscraper in New York City is named for him. Who is he?

4. This Kansan was a writer who was as interesting as his fictional characters. He created Nero Wolfe, the 286-pound detective genius who solved cases without leaving his apartment. As a nine-year-old he toured the state as a mathematical prodigy, adding enormous columns of numbers in record time. He s also Kansas spelling bee champion. The Nero Wolfe mysteries made him famous. Who is he?

5. This multi-talented Kansan gained an international reputation as a photographer for Life magazine and then as a composer, author, producer, and director. His 1963 novel The Learning Tree was based on his boyhood experiences in Fort Scott, Kansas. Who is he?

6. This Kansan is one of few who have made their mark in show business. This native of Cherryvale began as a dancer in Flo Ziegfield's productions, became an international film star in the 1920s and 30s, and later was a writer and painter. Her autobiography is entitled Lulu in Hollywood. Who is she?

7. This Kansan was five years old when she gave her first public violin performance in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. She had been taking lessons since she was four. Although she did not become a world renowned performer, she did become a respected teacher of violinists. Among her students was Itzhak Perlman, who said she could teach anything to anyone. Who is she?

8. This Kansan from Humboldt, Kansas was called "The Big Train" because of his overpowering fast ball. One of the greatest right-handed pitchers in baseball history, he won 416 games in 21 seasons for the Washington Senators. His 3508 strikeouts and other records earned his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame after retirement in 1927. Who is he?

9. This astronaut from Chapman, Kansas sat in the commander's seat, when the space shuttle Columbia lifted off the launch pad in November 1981. His interest in aviation dates back to third grade, when he began making model planes. He carried mementoes of his hometown and state tucked aboard on his shuttle flight. Who is he?

10. This native of Independence, Kansas was one of the first playwrights to write about real Midwestern characters. One of his most famous plays about Kansas is Picnic. Who is he?

11. This Kansas and American artist was born on a farm near Dunavant, Kansas, on November 17, 1897. He studied in Paris in 1926 and returned home in 1927. His most familiar work is the famous John Brown mural in the Kansas Capitol. Who is he?

12. This western lawman was a Wichita policeman in 1875 and 1876. After he was fired, he went to Dodge City and then on to Tombstone, Arizona. It was there that he was part of the famous shootout. He died quietly in Los Angeles in 1929. Who is he?

13. This twenty-two year old New Yorker got off the train in Peabody, Kansas in March 1883. He wanted to get rich raising sheep. While working his sheep ranch, he also did some sketching. In April 1884 he sold his sheep ranch and headed west. He didn't get rich in Kansas, but he did get many ideas for his art work. Who is he?

14. As a young boy, the opportunity for an education lured him to Kansas. He graduated from Minneapolis High School in 1884. Working on a fruit farm in Beeler, Kansas, he began his agricultural experiments. He continued them as a scientist at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Who is he?

15. This Jewish writer from New York City visited William Allen White in Emporia, Kansas. She was so taken with the country and stories about it that she traveled from Emporia to see the Cherokee Strip Land Rush. Greatly affected by the experience, she returned to New York and wrote her classic novel Cimarron. Who is she? 


Solve the puzzle by filling blanks with correct answer to the clues. Then write down the first letters of all the answers. What do you have?

_ _ _ _ _ 1. Governor of Kansas (1919-23)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2. Resident of Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3. Playful animal in Kansas state song

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ 4. Current Kansas attorney general

_ _ _ _ _ _ 5. Capital of Kansas

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 6. Special area of land set aside for Native-Americans

_ _ _ 7. Governor of Kansas (1951-53)

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 8. Food of North American Indians consisting of dried foods that are pounded and mixed with melted fat

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 9. Person who leaves his country or home for a new place to live

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 10. First governor of Kansas

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 11. Kansas state animal

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 12. Kansas state flower

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 13. Landmark on edge of Smoky Hills

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 14. Most famous citizen of Abilene, Kansas

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 15. Area of Kansas west of Wellington Lowlands

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 16. Southern Kansas river named for another state 

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Kansas Math

The information used in the math problems was obtained from Kansas Land by Tom Isern and Raymond Wilson, the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing home page, and MapQuest home page.

1. Population 1990 2,477,588; 1999 2,654,052

2. Area codes-913, 785, 316

3. There are 105 counties in Kansas

4. Four states border Kansas (Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri)

5. There are 40 members of the Kansas state senate.

6. There are 125 members of the Kansas house of representatives.

7. Bob Dole ran for president in 1996.

8. Alf Landon ran for president in 1936.

9. Distance from Olathe to Hugoton is 408 miles.

10. Sixty-two percent of days in Kansas are sunny.

11. The highest elevation is 4039 feet.

12. The lowest elevation is 679 feet.