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#48 Ring of Fire Kids Science Newsletter
February 20, 2015

Tiny Triceratops Dinosaur Discovered


Our Kids Science Newsletter this month includes news about a tiny triceratops dinosaur, record snow in Boston, #1 record cold in 1899, honey bees busy making honey need 4000 flowers and a fun "Cookie Dig" kids science activity.

Question of the Month
How hot is lightning?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Snow and Ice
Snow this 2014-15 winter season in Boston is tied in the number two spot on February 20th. The snowfall is the greatest on record in 123 years. Some people living in Boston are having fun with the 8 feet of snow and snowdrifts up to 10 feet by jumping out of windows into the snow and walking away. As of February 20th they have officially 95.7 inches and only 12 inches short of a record.
Greatest Cold Outbreak Occurred in February 1899
Even though cold has dominated the weather news these past two months the greatest cold outbreak in U.S. history occurred in the first two weeks of February 1899. At the time there were only 45 states and everyone of them dipped below zero during those two weeks. The coldest weather was just before Valentine's Day that year. All time records were set in a dozen states and many still stands today. Record cold in Camp Clarke, Nebraska (-47), Milligan, Ohio (-39) and Minden, Louisiana (-16) have not been broken since that winter.
North America's First Horned Dinosaur
The skull of a tiny dinosaur recently named Aquilpos was discovered in 1997 by Scott Madsen when he saw teeth sticking out of a rock in Montana. Today after comparing the bunny size dinosaur to other dinosaurs that lived in other parts of the world scientists determined it was a new species of dinosaur. It is related to horned dinosaurs that include Triceratops. Scientists named the new dinosaur Aquilpos, which means American eagle face because it has a hooked beak unlike other horned dinosaurs. It is tiny and probably fully grown Aquilpos were only about .6 meter (2 feet) long and weighed about 1.6 kilograms (3.5 pounds). It is believed they used their beaks to break off the ends of twigs to eat.
Hungry Piranhas Attack Swimmers
During the holidays in December piranhas broke through a net and attacked about 60 swimmers on vacation in Argentina. This past month 23 people were injured on a beach in Garupa, located on the Parana River. The fish usually attack the feet and hands of swimmers. People believe the fish are hungry right now because of the hot weather and lower number of caiman in the rivers. Caiman are a type of alligator that lives in South America. The attacks on people peaks in the dry season when there is less food and the water levels are lower.

Science Trivia

  • The warm Gulf Stream, one of the strongest currents, flows east across the tropical Atlantic at 111 miles (178km) a day. It then turns north and divides, taking mild weather to Europe. In January, New York can be cold at 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degree Celcius). Lisbon, Portugal which is 100 miles (160 km) further south is a mild 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius).
  • A bee must visit 4,000 flowers in order to make one tablespoon of honey.
  • Scandinavia is a region of northern Europe with a shared geography and history. The countries of Scandinavia are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Iceland is an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The Scandinavian countries are famed for their landscapes. Norway has fjords, Sweden has beautiful lakes, Finland has many forests, Denmark has great fishing ports, and Iceland has hot springs and many volcanoes.
  • A jellyfish can be as small as a thimble or as large as two washing machines.

Simple Science Activity
Cookie Dig


In this activity you will be concerned with mining the ore with the least environmental impact. That means you want to mine as many chocolate chips as possible with the least amount of disturbance to the cookie.


  • Chocolate chip cookie
  • Toothpicks
  • Paper clips
  • Paper towel
  • Clock (if possible with a second hand)


  1. Place a cookie on a paper towel.
  2. Draw a circle around the cookie.
  3. This will be the place where all the waste from your mining operation must be returned.
  4. Place one toothpick and one paper clip beside the cookie.
  5. Your job as a miner is to recover as much ore from your mine as possible with the least damage to the environment.
  6. You will be given 10 minutes to mine your cookie for the ore. The ore is the chocolate chips in your cookie.
  7. If you break a toothpick you will have to stop working with it because the "tool" is broken and must be repaired before using it at the mining site again.
  8. Each unbroken chocolate chip is worth $1.00.
  9. Each chocolate chip that is broken and over half of the chip has been recovered is worth $0.25.
  10. You must reclaim the land by returning all the waste to the cookie area which is the circle you drew around the cookie at the beginning of the activity.
  11. The waste is broken pieces of cookie and chocolate chips that can be piled on the cookie after you are finished.

Extending the activity
Find out if your cookie dig made or lost money. Decide the cost for your tools, time, etc. Then decide after your cookie dig how much money you made or lost.

Answer to the question of the month
How hot is lightning?

Lightning is hotter than the surface of the Sun. A bolt of lightning is approximately 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A single bolt of lightning has 30 million volts of electricity as it flashes across the sky. This is enough electricity to power New York City. If you are caught in a thunderstorm take shelter. One of the safest places to take shelter is in a car with the windows rolled up. Never try to outrun lightning because a lightning bolt travels at 60,000 miles per second.

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Have a nice day,
Myrna Martin

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