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History CAN be fun!

History may sound like a bunch of boring dates and names that you have to memorize as a student. In fact, history learned that way is quite dull. Names and numbers become meaningless if you don't place them in context- that is, if you don't know the stories of those lives and why they're important to history.

For example, did you know that we have the Shakers to thank for the flat bottom of a broom, for drill saw, and apple peelers? Some of the most common household items today come from their dedication to perfecting their crafts as a form of worship.

Did you know that Cleopatra, the infamous last Pharaoh of Egypt, was one of four children? As was customary to prevent civil war, she had her two brothers and sister murdered. When her own children died abroad, there were no more heirs to the Ptolemy line and the age of the Egyptian pharaohs was over.

And did you know that even though President Teddy Roosevelt was a famous hunter, it was he and other hunters who lobbied for the preservation of endangered species in the United States and the creation of national parks?

There are plenty of resources out there that make history learning fun. Among my favorite is a podcast called "Stuff You Missed in History Class," which offers more insight and detail about all kinds of people and events (http://www.howstuffworks.com). This is a great resource for students who are always on the go, and are easy to listen to on your computer or smartphone. I love trolling the aisles at my local library and picking up anything that sounds interesting to me.

History doesn't have to be a drag. Our history tells the story of how we came to be the people that we are today. That grand story is made up of the many personal stories of people who lived exciting, dramatic, unique lives that weren't boring at all!