California's Lone Gray Wolf
Our Kids Science Newsletter is published each month. The newsletter includes a question of the month, current science events, science trivia and a simple science activity that is fun for kids of all ages.
Question of the Month
What do bats and dolphins have in common?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)
Science Current Events
- California's Long Gray Wolf
- A lone gray wolf has been roaming around the remote areas of California for over a year. The wolf has captivated the public interest with people following the travels of the wolf on twitter and other social media. The wolf known as OR-7 was the seventh male wolf to receive a radio collar in the state of Oregon. He left Oregon last year in search of a mate and his own territory and has traveled over 2000 miles in his quest. The wolves were hunted to extinction in California. The last California wolf was shot in 1924. Today wolves are being reintroduced into states where they roam freely. OR-7 does not hunt cattle and hates Interstate 5.
- Nuclear Blast Could Trigger Volcanic Eruption
- Scientists in South Korea are concerned that a nuclear blast near a dormant volcano could reactivate Mount Baekdu. After a previous nuclear test near the volcano satellite images showed an increase in temperature on the mountain that was due to new magma beneath the volcano moving into a magma chamber near the summit. If the latest nuclear test on February 17 jolts the dormant volcano enough it might trigger an eruption.
- Beavers Help Migrating Canada Geese
- Beavers living in ponds in Canada move around during the spring building their lodges and looking for food cause their ponds to melt 11 days earlier that ponds that do not have beavers living in them. This give the Canada Geese that migrate to Canada an extra 11 days to raise their young. The wetlands where they live also protect the land against drought.
- Red Deer Adopts Sheep in England
- Red deer in England are slightly smaller that American elk but are one of the largest deer species on our planet. A herd of red deer were migrating when one young buck joined a flock of sheep. The sheep seem to like the young buck and it has become part of the flock. The young buck eats, plays, and sleeps with the sheep. He comes and goes whenever he wants by jumping over fences. The National Trust in the UK is keeping an eye on the deer to make sure he stays safe. They hope he will rejoin his own herd when they travel through the area again.
- In North America, a black cat crossing your path is thought to bring bad luck. In Great Britain a black cat crossing your path is thought to bring good luck. A white cat sleeping outside your home on your wedding day is said to bring lasting happiness.
- Dew traps are used in the Canary Islands. Farmers in Lanzarotte, Canary Islands, collect dew to water their crops. The dew traps look like moon craters, that are 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep. A layer of volcanic ash inside makes a good surface for condensation. Vines planted in the craters can live on the dew if it does not rain.
- Tsunamis in the open ocean can travel as fast as a jet plane. The waves in the open ocean rise sometimes only a meter above the normal level of the ocean. It is only when they reach the continental shelf that they slow down and increase in height.
- The high altitude of the South Pole and the land under it help make the region the coldest place on our planet. The lowest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole was -113 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest temperature ever recorded at the North Pole was -56 degrees Fahrenheit.
Simple Science Activity
Tin Can Seismograph
In this activity you are going to make a simple seismograph to record earthquake waves produced by a shaking table. Three people will need to work together on this activity.
- Large tin can
- White paper
- Small table
Science behind the experiment
Seismographs are instruments used by scientists to record the vibrations produced by earthquakes when rocks fracture. All earthquakes produce P waves and S waves when the rocks break. These waves are what we feel when an earthquake occurs.
- An adult needs to punch two holes in the tin can with a nail or can opener.
- Make a loop with a piece of rope so that it makes a handle for the tin can.
- Tape a pencil to the side of the tin can.
- Fill the tin can about half full of sand.
- Place a sheet of paper on the table.
- One person holds the tin can so that the pencil just touches the table.
- One person moves the table back and for to gently simulate the Earth's movement during an earthquake.
- The third person pulls the paper as the pencil traces the table movement.
- The paper you recorded the table movement on is called a seismogram.
Answer to the question of the month
What do bats and dolphins have in common?
Bats and dolphins use echolocation to find their prey. They send out sound waves as they travel which sound like high-pitched shrieks. These sound waves bounce off objects. The sound waves bouncing off objects let the bats and dolphins know the direction and distances of things they cannot see. Bats can catch moths and other insects in flight while dolphins can single out a fish when they are swimming in a school.
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