Our Kids Science Newsletter is published each month. The newsletter includes a question of the month, current science events, and a simple science activity that is fun for kids of all ages.

Question of the Month
How did people clean their teeth before toothbrushes were invented?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Cameron Reaches Challenger Deep
Before Man stepped on the Moon in 1969 two brave men went to the deepest place on our planet. The bottom of the Challenger Deep located in the Marian Trench. The event took place in January 1960 aboard the Trieste. They only stayed about 20 minutes. James Cameron, film director of Avatar and many other action movies repeated the trip on March 26, 2012 over 52 years after the first descent. He went down in a "vertical torpedo" he had been secretly been building for several years. On his solo dive he took all kinds of camera equipment to film a documentary. During his 3 hours spent on the bottom he only found some small shrimp-like animals. He plans to return and continue taking pictures of his historic dives.
Ghost Ship Gunned Down Off Alaska Coast
The tsunami in Japan last year sent thousands of tons of debris floating in the North Pacific Ocean. The ocean currents in this area make a great circle called the North Pacific Gyre. Floating on this ocean current was a "ghost ship" that had been swept out to sea and abandoned during the earthquake and tsunami. It had drifted for over a year before coming close to the North American coast. Officials concerned about radiation contamination and other major environmental hazards from the ship sent it to the bottom of the ocean using a canon to sink the ship.
Large Strange Snakes Come to Visit
A small village in Namibia was invaded by strange snakes. Typical snakes encountered by people living in the area include pythons, puffadders, whip snakes and mambas. Pretty deadly bunch of snakes! These new snakes are thought to have been washed down into the region by a recent flood. They come into the houses like they live there. One even entered a living room where a child was watching TV and started "fighting" with the images on the television screen!

Science Trivia

  • Radar is used by air traffic controllers to determine where aircraft are in the sky as they approach the airport. The waves are similar to radio waves that bounce off the aircraft sending signals to the transmitter. The transmitter turns the radar signals into pictures used to direct the planes as they approach the airport.
  • Ninety seven percent of the water on Earth is salty. The remaining 3% of fresh water is primarily locked in glaciers and ice sheets. Ninety percent of the ice caps are located in Greenland and Antarctica.
  • Lassie was played by several male dogs, despite the female name, because male collies were thought to look better on camera. The main "actor" was a collie name Pal.
  • Human hair can be used to measure humidity. Hair expands in moist air and shrinks as it dries out. The change in length and in humidity can be measured using a hair hygrometer.

Simple Science Activity
Ice Cube Race


This activity will test the speed that different ice cubes melt. You will either use ice cubes made with different shapes that contain the same amount of water in this activity.


  • Two different shaped ice cube trays.
  • Measuring spoons
  • Food coloring
  • Clock
  • Water
  • Plastic glasses
  • Red and blue food coloring


  1. Wash and clean two different ice cube trays.
  2. If you don't have two different shaped ice cube trays use different sizes of paper cups or make them from tin foil.
  3. Mix red food coloring with water for one of your ice cube trays.
  4. Mix blue food coloring with water for your second ice cube tray.
  5. Using your measuring spoons determine the maximum amount of water you can add to each individual compartment in each of your ice cube trays.
  6. Using your measuring spoons add the exact same amount of colored water to the compartments in each ice cube tray.
  7. Freeze the ice cubes for 24 hours.
  8. Fill two glasses with water that is the same temperature.
  9. Place a red ice cube in one glass and a blue ice cube in the other glass.
  10. Time how long it takes for each ice cube to melt.
  11. Time several ice cubes to see how fast they melt to see if it takes the same amount of time.
  12. Time how long it takes for the ice cubes to melt if they are placed on plates instead of in water.

Science behind the experiment
Great icebergs break off from glaciers near the North Pole an South Pole. As the North Pole ice continues to shrink more icebergs are floating in the water as the ice breaks apart. Icebergs in the South Pole break off from the ice that forms around the shelf of the continent. Huge pieces of ice have broken off and began floating around in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years. How long these icebergs last depends on their size and temperature of the ocean water.

Answer to the question of the month
How did people clean their teeth before toothbrushes were invented?

People would break off small twigs chew on the end until it shredded. They used the shredded end of the twig for a toothbrush. Others would dip their fingers in salt and scrub on their teeth to clean them. Approximately 300 years ago the first true toothbrush was made of hog bristles inside a wooden handle.

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Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this Just For Kids Science Newsletter and tell me what you think!

Sincerely yours,
Myrna Martin