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 was our first national park?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)
Science Current Events
- Australia's Large Pink Diamond
- A large pink diamond weighing 12.76 carats was recently found in Western Austrailia's Rio Tinto diamond mine. The polishing and cutting of the diamond took eleven days. It is presently being showcased around the world to select people. It will be sold later this year at an invitation only auction. When Queen Elizabeth was married she received a similarly colored diamond that is almost twice as big. A young boy found that diamond in Tanzania.
- Cows are Texting Their Owners
- Scottish researchers have used the same technology used in video game controllers to create a new collar for cows. Farmers using the new technology will get text messages when one of their cows is in distress, in heat or about to give birth. This will make it easier for owners to monitor the health conditions of the individual cows. They can now easily and accurately know if they have any cows that need their assistance without constantly checking on them even at night.
- Moths Caught Up in Spring Storms Carried to Canada
- The huge storms that created devastating tornadoes in American have blown huge numbers of moths into neighboring areas of Canada. Black cutworm moths have increased dramatically in parts of Canada in recent weeks. These moths have been known to emerge frm their larvae and eat up entire corn crops overnight.
- First Hurricane of the Season Breaks Records
- Tropical Storm Aletta became the first named tropical cyclone in 2012. It had been 41 days without such a storm somewhere on Earth. The last time this occurred was 40 years ago. The previous record was set in 1944 when their were 38 days without a named storm. Aletta was also very early. Only two other storms had formed by May 15 since records began in 1949.
- The water-holding frog which lives in the Central Australian Desert only has a drink once every five to six years because the rain only falls often. Then the frog comes to the surface and absorbs about half its own weight in water. The frog resembles a small balloon when it is filled with water. This supply of water keeps the frog alive until the next time it rains.
- A comet's nucleus comprises of icy materials and loosely consolidated "dirt." Comets are heated by passing near the Sun. As the Sun heats the comet it slowly disintegrates producing the visible fiery tail. The rocky debris in the tail of the comet is mostly sand-size particles that continues in an elongated orbit near the comet. When the tail crosses the path of the Earth, the debris burns upon entering our atmosphere producing a meteor shower.
- The Albatross has a wing span of up to 14 feet. It only needs to land once every couple of years to breed. They can travel hundreds of thousands of miles without landing.
- In Peru it is considered good luck to wear yellow underwear on New Year's Day.
Simple Science Activity
This fun science activity is fun to do and free. All you will need is a jar or vase, limb and pictures of rocks. It is a great activity when you have some spare time and want to make an unusual table display. It is also a fun summer activity to do after collecting some rocks on a family vacation or trip.
- 8 to 10 interesting rocks
- Limb with several branches
- Felt pens or colored pencils
- Container to hold the limb.
- Find a limb that has several smaller branches to hang your pictures from.
- Find a container to put your limb inside.
- If you container might fall over from the weight of the branch fill it with rocks or some other objects to weight the bottom of your container.
- Choose 8 to 10 rocks that you like or are unusual.
- Draw a picture of each rock on a piece of paper.
- Cut the pictures out.
- On the opposite side of the pictures color the paper so it matches the front.
- Hang each picture with a string or piece of thread from the branches.
- Place the limb in the container making sure it will not tip over from the weight.
- Place your creation on a table and enjoy it.
Science behind the experiment
The art of drawing objects exactly the way they look in nature is called a scientific drawing. The pictures of the rocks in this activity should look like the actual rocks that were collected. People who look at the rocks on the branches should be able to recognize the rock depicted.
Answer to the question of the month
What was our first national park?
Yellowstone National Park was our first national park. The Lewis and Clark expedition was the first time white people to visit the Yellowstone area. Trappers would tell tales of what they saw but most people did not believe them. After many years and documented proof of the wonders found at Yellowstone the U.S. Congress in 1872 designated it a National Park and President Ulysses S. Grant signed the proclamation.
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