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Kids Science Newsletter #40, Dolphins are Ocean Athletes
March 02, 2014

Ocean Going Weather Forecasters


This Kids Science Newsletter includes news about sharks helping weather forecasters during hurricane season. A science recycling activity and fun facts about tiny frogs, giant new jelly fish discovered.

Question of the Month

Why does a year have 365 days?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Ocean Going Weather Forecasters
More than 750 sharks, tarpon, tuna and billfish are gathering data for hurricane forecasters. The animals have been fitted with satellite-linked tags that send back data on temperature and salinity of the ocean at various depths in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. A hurricane's strength largely depends on how much warm water the storm encounters. The tags will give forecasters information on the upper layers of the ocean which will be used to determine the future strength of a hurricane as it moves over the ocean.
Australian Giant Jellyfish
A huge unknown species of jellyfish washed up on a beach near Hobart, Australia. People walking the beach spotted the jellyfish and took its picture. The species looks like a giant dinner plate with a mop hanging underneath. The jellyfish that washed ashore was 5-foot wide. In recent years there have been huge blooms of jellyfish in the Tasmania Sea near where the jellyfish was found. Scientists at the present time are in the process of naming the new type of lion's mane jelly.
Squirrels Nabbed in Russian Parks
Many Russians have decided they want squirrels as pets. Someone has been going out in Moscow parks and poaching the squirrels. It has become so serious a threat to the squirrel population that they are beefing up surveillance in the city's parks to catch the poachers. Th e squirrels are resold as pets for 5,000 rubles ($144) each.
California Getting Much Needed Rain
Severe drought has brought the prospect of farmers not having enough water to grow crops in California this summer. Two major storms are helping to fill reservoirs as rain pounded parts of California causing widespread flooding. Several areas that had wildfires this winter are now facing the prospect of mudslides destroying people's homes that escaped the wildfires. The hillsides are no longer protected by brush and other vegetation that normally keeps the soil intact during rainstorms.

Science Trivia

  • The spinning Earth acts like a magnet. At the center of the Earth is liquid iron. As the Earth spins, it makes the iron behave like a magnet, with a North and South Pole. These act on the magnet in a compass to make the needle point to the North Pole.
  • Dogs have about 100 different facial expressions, most of them are made with their ears.
  • Weather occurs in the troposphere, the layer directly above the Earth's surface. The highest part of the troposphere is over the equator where it is 10 miles (16 km). It decreases in height as you move toward the North or South Pole. Over the poles the troposphere reaches to a height of around 6 miles (9 km). Mount Everest the highest point on Earth reaches about half way up.
  • The world's smallest frog is the size of a cheerio.

Simple Science Activity
Recycling in a Jug


Recycling in a Jug is a fun way to recycle leftover table scraps, yard debris and other vegetable matter. Using an empty gallon milk jug for this project is a fun and inexpensive way to recycle materials.


  • Variety of plant material such as lettuce leaves, leaves and twigs
  • Garden soil ( not sterilized)
  • Gallon size plastic jug
  • Water


  1. Find a warm place where the smell of rotting vegetable matter will not be a problem.
  2. Wash out the plastic jug
  3. Have an adult cut a plastic jug in half.
  4. Poke several holes in the bottom half of the plastic jug for drainage.
  5. Place a layer of soil on the bottom of the plastic jug.
  6. Add a layer of vegetable matter (for example left over scraps from making a dinner salad)
  7. Add a thin layer of soil
  8. Repeat the last two steps until the bottom half of the jug is filled with soil and vegetable matter ending with a layer of soil on the top.
  9. Sprinkle water over the vegetable matter.
  10. Place the top half of the plastic jug over the bottom of the jug and tape the two parts together.
  11. Set the plastic jug on a plate or the dry ground in a warm spot
  12. Check the milk jug every few days and observe what is happening to the vegetable matter.
  13. Sprinkle a little water over the top layer if the mixture begins to dry out.
  14. After several weeks spread everything out on a dry surface and observe what happened in each layer of the compost.

Science behind the experiment

The leaves, twigs and other decaying matter return nutrients to the soil when it decomposes. Gardens with a lot of compost are more likely to grow sturdy plants and flowers than those with poor soil not enriched with decaying vegetable matter.

Answer to the question of the month
Why does a year have 365 days?

The number of days in a year is based on the time it takes the Earth to make a complete circle around the Sun. This is called a solar year and it is exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. Every four years we have leap year because the extra five hour and 48 minutes add up to another day.

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Sincerely yours,
Myrna Martin

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