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Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1990s

Celebrate The CenturySearch the Web to learn more about the stories behind the stamps that commemorate the people, places, events, and trends of the 1990s. Explore Web sites related to the explosion of the World Wide Web and the preservation of the endangered peregrine falcon, as well as John Glenn's landmark second trip into space and Mark McGwire's amazing home run record! Included: An Internet scavenger hunt for students!

Last May, 15 paradigms of pop culture from the 1990s claimed permanent places in American history when the U.S. Postal Service issued the final installment of commemorative stamps in the Celebrate the Century series.

The 1990s commemorative stamps, representing the last decade of the century, are part of the Postal Service's Celebrate the Century program.

The 1990s stamps, selected by the public during nationwide balloting, were issued at San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido, California.

"The Celebrate the Century program has given people a voice in the way many of us will remember the 20th century," said Diane M. Regan, associate vice president, western sales region, who dedicated the stamps. "This one-of-a-kind collection brings together postage stamps and 100 years of American history, celebrating a nation bound by universal mail service and founded by great achievements and achievers."

IN FINAL DECADE, COLD WAR ENDS, ECONOMY BOOMS

The Soviet Union collapsed, effectively ending the cold war. The United States deployed troops in the Persian Gulf, in Somalia, and in the Balkans. In 1992 -- often called the Year of the Woman -- a record number of women won political office.

American astronauts joined Russian cosmonauts on the Mir space station, and Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor sent back extraordinary images of the "red planet." Astronomers found a grouping of planets resembling Earth's solar system.

The World Wide Web and e-mail revolutionized communications. Millions of Americans bought cellular phones as service expanded.

In Washington, D.C., the Holocaust Museum drew huge crowds; in Los Angeles, the architecture of the Getty Center got rave reviews. Moviegoers flocked to see Titanic and Jurassic Park.

Extreme sports, such as snowboarding and BMX biking, attracted young people, and the U.S. women's softball, soccer, and basketball teams proved they were the best in the world.

New words: e-commerce, Web site, and Y2K.

THE STAGE IS SET

The scavenger hunt activity that follows will engage students in exploring Web sites as they search for information related to ten of the 1990s stamps. For each stamp, we pose a question and provide a Web site URL. Challenge students to use the listed Web sites to answer all ten questions. Click here for the answers to the questions.

Be sure to check out other stories in Education World's Celebrate the Century series:

  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1900s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1910s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1920s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1930s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1940s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1950s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1960s
  • Celebrate the Century: Search the Web for U.S. History of the 1980s
  • SITCOM SENSATION SEINFELD

    A New York stand-up comic and his eccentric friends entertained television audiences for nine seasons on Seinfeld, an award-winning sitcom "about nothing" that gave fans an offbeat and hilarious look at city life.


    Question 1:
    The Web site classic-tv.com rated the top 100 TV shows of all time. Where does Seinfeld fall on that list?

    The Web site:
    http://www.classic-tv.com/top100
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Top 100 TV Shows Web page on the classic-tv.com Web site.

    GULF WAR

    On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait. After negotiations failed, Operation Desert Storm was launched on January 17, 1991. Multinational forces led by the United States liberated Kuwait within six weeks.


    Question 2:
    Which countries joined the United States in fighting Iraq during the Persian Gulf War? Name at least three other nations.

    The Web site:
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/10055.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Persian Gulf War Web page on the Encyclopedia.com Web site.

    BASEBALL RECORDS

    The pursuit of three important and long-standing records thrilled major-league baseball fans. Players set new marks for career strikeouts, consecutive games played, and home runs in a single season.

    Question 3:
    Mark McGwire hit a record 65 homeruns in 1999. How many players -- past or present -- have hit more career homeruns than McGwire has hit?

    The Web site:
    http://www.homerunrecord.com
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Homerun Record Web site. Click All-Time Leaders to see where Mark McGwire stands.

    EXTREME SPORTS

    Extreme sports added an element of adventure and increased risk to the sports world. Daredevil sports such as aggressive inline skating, BMX biking, snowboarding, and street luge achieved greater popularity.


    Question 4:
    Snowboarding became popular in the 1990s, but when was the first snowboard-like equipment introduced?

    The Web site:
    http://www.sbhistory.de
    To find the answer to that question, go to the History of Snowboarding Web page.

    JURASSIC PARK

    Cloned dinosaurs terrorized visitors at an island theme park in the 1993 hit Jurassic Park. Noted for its stunning, lifelike creatures, the Steven Spielberg film won Academy Awards for best visual effects, best sound, and best sound effects editing.


    Question 5:
    Jurassic Park is one of the top ten moneymaking movies of all time. Did Jurassic Park earn close to $300 million, $350 million, or $400 million at the box office?

    The Web site:
    http://www.hollywood.com/news/boxoffice/alltime.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Top 100 All-Time Films at the USA Box Office list on the Hollywood.com Web site.

    SPECIAL OLYMPICS

    In 1998, Special Olympics marked its 30th anniversary. The organization provides year-round sports training and competition for children and adults with mental retardation, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness and demonstrate courage.

    Question 6: What is the motto of Special Olympics athletes?

    The Web site:
    http://www.specialolympics.org
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Special Olympics Web page. Click on About Special Olympics.

    RETURN TO SPACE

    In 1962, aboard the Mercury Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. His 1998 return to space at age 77, aboard the shuttle Discovery, heightened interest in the space program.


    Question 7:
    John Glenn also served as a United States senator. Between which years did he serve in the Senate?

    The Web site:
    http://www.famouspeople.com/famous/54.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the John Glenn Web page on FamousPeople.com Web site.

    RECOVERING SPECIES

    Coordinated efforts led to the recovery of some animals that once were endangered or threatened. In the 1990s, two peregrine falcon subspecies -- Arctic and American -- were removed from the Endangered Species List.


    Question 8:
    At what age do most young falcons first attempt to fly?

    The Web site:
    http://www.ucalgary.ca/~tull/falcon/govt/factsheet.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Peregrine Falcon Fact SheetPeregrine Falcon Home Page.

    WORLD WIDE WEB

    The World Wide Web brought the text-based Internet to life by adding pictures, sound, and video. Millions of people accessed the Internet with user-friendly browsers for business, entertainment, and educational purposes.


    Question 9:
    When was the term Internet first used?

    The Web site:
    http://www.pbs.org/internet/timeline/timeline-txt.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Net Timeline Web page on the PBS Web site.

    BLOCKBUSTER FILM TITANIC

    Adding romance and elaborate special effects to the tragic story of the ill-fated luxury liner, James Cameron's 1997 film Titanic was a colossal success at box offices worldwide. The movie won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture.


    Question 10:
    For many years, the wreck of the Titanic sat undiscovered on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. When was the ship finally located?

    The Web site:
    http://titanic.eb.com/01_01.html
    To find the answer to that question, go to the Titanic entry in the on-line Encyclopedia Britannica.

    Gary Hopkins
    Education World® Editor-in-Chief
    Copyright © 2000 Education World

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    12/18/2000

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