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Kids Science Newsletter, Issue #30
Singing Passwords by Fairy Wrens

January 04, 2013

Singing Passwords by Fairy Wrens


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.

We are making some changes to our websites. This ezine newsletter and all future newsletters will contain links to pages on our websites. We hope you visit out five websites that we currently host to see what is new and interesting on these locations.

Question of the Month

What is acid rain?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Fairy Wrens Sing Passwords to Their Chicks
Fairy wrens in Australia have enough trouble feeding their own chicks without having to feed cuckoo nestlings. The mother fairy wrens sing to their unhatched eggs a password note that they learn to sing when their are begging for food. The mother wren also teaches it to her mate so he will feed only their chicks. This keeps the wrens who have invaded their nests to feed the cuckoo birds babies.
Gourma Elephants in Crossfire
The Gourma elephants are the toughest elephants on Earth. They have learned to adapt to frequent sand storms, water shortages and temperatures aobve 122 degrees Fahrenheit. They search for food and water over a 12,000 square mile area each year. This is the largest area ever recorded for an elephant species to range looking for food and water. Today there are only 350 of these elephants alive. Part of the elephants range is the northern region of Mali where rebels forces are living. They are killing the animals for their ivory to fund their rebellion.
Shark Sanctuaries
New refuges have recently been added to keep sharks safe this past month. The new refuges cover more than 2.5 million square miles in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands. Venezuela and the European Union have also banned the practice of cutting off shark fins and discarding their bodies in their territorial waters. Shark fins are cut off the sharks and made into Shark Fin Soup a favorite of people living in China. Today at one-third of the shark species world wide face some threat of extinction due to their slaughter in recent years.
NASA & NOAA Black Marble Images of Earth
After the Black Marble images were released by NASA/NOAA this past month careful observers noticed that there were lights in remote areas of Australia where there shouldn't be any lights. The images were generated in April and October 2012 over a total of 22days. Wildfires were raging in Australia during this period in very remote areas. The areas burned in different parts of the continent during these two times and when the images where combined they give the appearance of a massive blade. The other bright lights that are not due to cities are fishing boats, gas flaring from woil drilling rigs and lightning.

Science Trivia

  • Bogor in Java has at least 220 thundery days a year and has had as many as 322. It has has at least 25 severe storms a year with lightning often striking a small area every 30 seconds for up to half an hour.
  • Here are some interesting facts about our $1 bill. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS mens "God has favored our undertaking. The Latin below the pyramid on the $1 bill, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM means a new order for the ages. 1776 appears at the base of the pyramid in Roman numerals.
  • Fleas have changed history. More human deaths have been attributed to fleas than all the wars ever fought. As carriers of the bubonic plague, fleas were responsible for killing one-third of the population of Europe in the 14th century.
  • Dogs appear to have glowing blue eyes when flash photographs are taken of them when they look into the camera because they have a reflective layer in the back of their eyes called the tapetum. It is used to enhance night vision for the animals. The light from the flash goes through the retina and is reflected back by the tapetal layer. While our eyes in a photograph will not reflect back and a red shown on pictues are the blood vessels in our retina.

Simple Science Activity
Sedimentary Jello Layers


Scientists studying layers of soil that have been laid down in the past know that the oldest layers are located near the bottom. In this activity you will see how layers form one on top of the other by creating four different layers of yellow in a clear glass. This activity can take several days if you allow the lower layers of jello to cool each time before adding a new layer.

  • Small packages of peach, lime lemon and strawberry Jell-O
  • Clear plastic glasses
  • Tea kettle
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Refrigerator


  1. This activity should be completed under the supervision of an adult.
  2. Boil some water in a tea kettle.
  3. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into a measuring cup.
  4. Add the peach Jell-O to the water and stir until the entire package of gelatin is dissolved.
  5. Allow the Jell-O to cool for approximately 15 minutes before pouring into 4 clear plastic glasses.
  6. Allow the Jell-O to set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  7. Repeat the previous steps with lime Jell-O.
  8. Repeat the previous steps with lemon Jell-O.
  9. Repeat the previous steps with strawberry Jell-O.
  10. These layers of Jell-O represent different layers of sedimentary rock with the peach Jell-O at the bottom and the first layer that formed.
Science behind the experiment

Scientists study the layers of the Earth to determine where the land in the past was wet and boggy or dry and humid. They also look for fossils in the layers to determine the kind of plant and animal life that flourished in the area.

Answer to the question of the month

What is acid rain?

Acid rain is rain that contains chemical pollution. The chemical polution occurs in the air when industries burn coal, oil, sulfur, and nitrogen the chemicals are expelled from the factory by smokestacks. The chemicals rise in the air and dissolve in the atmosphere. When water vapor forms rain and falls to the ground it carries the chemical back to the Earth sometimes hundreds of miles from the factories that produced the chemicals.

Our Other Websites

Ring of Fire Science
Science Kits for Kids website

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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


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