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Kids Science Newsletter, Issue #29
Portland Zoo's Baby Elephants

December 06, 2012

Portland Zoo's Baby Elephants


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 is a marsupial?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Portland Zoos Baby Elephants
Packy was born on April 14, 1962 at the Portland Zoo in Oregon. It was the first Asian elephant born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years. Today Packy is one of the largest elephants in North America and has fathered several babies. Since that time the Portland Zoo has had a success breeding program for elephants. The latest baby born at the zoo was on November 30. The zoo has a contract with Have Trunk Will Travel. The baby will officially belong to the Have Trunk Will Travel company but will stay with her mother and at the Portland Zoo for the rest of her life. You can go online to view pictures of the baby that has not been named at the time this newsletter was written.
Mary Lee - A Great White Shark
A GPS device attached to this great white shark has been living off North Carolina's coast. The website OCEARCH tracks sharks to find out about their lives. Mary Lee is a single shark that was tagged in September traveling in the Atlantic Ocean. Each time the shark's fin comes above the surface of the water a signal is sent where she is located. You can follow Mary Lee on your smart phones or on your computer by going to the website and follow the shark just like the researchers trying to discover more about a shark's life, history and migrations.
Dead Sea is Shrinking
The Dead Sea is a salty inland lake. The depth of the lake dropped 4.9 ft (1.5 m) in the last 12 months. Potash companies in Israel and Jordan have drawn down the water in the lake so much that it has affected the tourist industry in the countries surrounding the Dead Sea. The potash companies produce fertilizer and use large amounts of water to produce their products.
Large British Columbia, Canada Earthquake
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck the coast of British Columbia last month. It was the strongest earthquake in over 60 years in that area. It was strong enough to generate a tsunami that reached Hawaii. No significant damage was reported on the mainland and small islands of the coast.

Science Trivia

  • As long ago as the 5th century BC the Greeks sent out weather forecasts to their sailors. In the 4th century BC calendars of weather facts and forecasts called peg calendars were put up on important buildings in many Greek cities and were very popular.
  • Almost 90% of snow is air. New York State is home to the snowiest cities in the United States. Valdez, Alaska where the Alaska pipeline ends averages 326 inches of snow a year.
  • Montana mountain goats will butt heads so hard their hooves will fall off. It is thought they dig in their horns when they butt heads cracking the hooves. Mountain goats in the western part of the United States are species that are not found in any other place worldwide.
  • The Moon looks much larger near the horizon because the ground and horizon make it appear relatively close. The Moon is changing its apparent position in depth while the light stimulus remains constant. The brain size and distance calculation changes it perceived size and makes the moon appear larger than it does higher in the sky.

Simple Science Activity
Dinosaur Placemats


Dinosaurs are giant and small animals that lived a long time ago. In this activity you will find a picture of a dinosaur that you like a create your own placemat to use when you eat. You might even make a whole set for your family to use.

  • Picture of a dinosaur
  • White drawing paper
  • Colored pens or pencils
  • Clear contact paper


  1. Tape a picture of a dinosaur to the back of a sheet of white drawing paper.
  2. Place the paper in a window or sliding glass door so the picture on the backside shows through the white drawing paper.
  3. Draw the dinosaur on the front of the white drawing paper with a pencil.
  4. Remove the white drawing paper from the window and place it on a table to finish your picture.
  5. Draw in some background to show where the dinosaur lived.
  6. Color the picture using colored pens and pencils.
  7. Cut out a sheep of clear contact paper approximately 1-inch larger than the drawing paper.
  8. Apply the contact paper to the front of the picture covering it completely.
  9. Trim off the excess contact paper.
  10. Apply another sheet of clear contact paper to the backside of the placemat. Trim this piece also.
  11. Use your placemat any time you are eating.
Science behind the experiment

Scientists use the remains of dinosaurs to study these animals that lived in the past. Dinosaur bones, skin impressions, footprints and eggs are just some of the remains of these animals that have lived in the past. Today we know a great deal about them by studying animals that are alive today to give us a key to the animals that lived in the past

Answer to the question of the month

What is a marsupial?

Marsupials are animals with a pouch that they carry their young in after birth. The babies are undeveloped and often measure less than an inch when they are born. They crawl inside the pouch which is warm and safe. They also find their mother's nipples which provide them milk for the next five to ten months they live in the pouch. Kangaroos, opossums, koalas and wombats are all marsupials that carry their young in pouches after they are born.

Please share the newsletter

Please share this newsletter with a friend by forwarding it to them. If you know of a group who might enjoy the newsletter please let them know about it also.

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


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