This Kids Science Newsletter includes a question of the month, current science events, science trivia and a simple science experiment.

What is a Marsupial?
(answer follows the simple science experiment)

Science Current Events

Manatees Looking for Warmer Waters
Manatees love warm water. The Gulf of Mexico has been too cold for them this winter so they are swimming into places where there are warm springs or places where power plants discharge warm water into canals. On Christmas Day 300 manatees were spotted floating in the outflow of Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. According to an environmental specialist the manatees come to the power station to hang out and loll around in the water because it feels like a warm bath to them.
Ancient Romans Recycled Too
British scientists have been studying 1700-year-old samples of Roman glassware at 19 sites in the Britain. They found there was widespread recycling of glass in those days. The Romans used two very different processes when they created their glass. Each process required a very different set of chemicals. Recycled glass was found in the 19 sites and the amount of chemicals in the glass indicated they were made from broken bits and pieces of older glass.
15,000 New Plant and Animals Identified
Scientists all over the world are studying plants and animals hoping to discover new species. Last year they find approximately 15,000 new species. The animals include a timid relative of the Komodo dragon that lives in the Philippines in the Northern Sierra Madre Forest. The six-foot-long lizard is yellow and black. A new monkey has been named, Caqueta titi. It is red-bearded and about the size of a cat. It also purrs like a kitten when it is cuddled.

Science Trivia

  • A sloth travels so slowly that it would take a sloth one month to travel a mile.
  • Twelve rocks are known to have landed on Earth from Mars.
  • It is an urban legend that there are no lakes in Ohio. They have oxbow lakes and Kettle-hole lakes. Kettle-hole lakes formed when the glaciers receded forming small pot holes.
  • Dollar bills last a long time because they can be folded about 4000 times before they tear apart.
  • Off the coast of Australia there is a heart-shaped coral reef.
  • Some dolphins can look in a mirror and recognize themselves.
  • Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.
  • Astronauts traveling in space could see the golds and browns of autumn leaves last fall.

Simple Science Activity

Earth's Moving Plates

Earth's crustal plates move around the Earth. In this activity you will create four crustal plate boundaries.

  • Wax paper
  • Three long graham crackers (2 squares each)
  • Three Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Cup of water
  • Pink frosting
  • Plastic knife and spoon


  1. Place a 15 inch piece of wax paper on a table or bread board.
  2. Place a large spoonful of pink frosting in the center of the wax paper and smooth the frosting over the paper to represent the asthenosphere.
  3. Divergent boundary Place two pieces of Fruit Roll-Ups on the wax paper so the edges meet.
  4. Press down and spread them apart so the frosting oozes up between the two pieces of fruit.
  5. Convergent boundary in subduction zone Place a piece of Fruit Roll-Ups on the frosting about the size of a graham cracker square.
  6. Break a graham cracker in half and place it next to the fruit. Push the graham cracker so it overrides the Fruit Roll-Up about 1/4 of an inch.
  7. Convergent boundary between two continentsBreak a graham cracker into a square and moisten the broken edges with water.
  8. Place the moisten edges of the two cracker squares next together on the frosting. Push the two crackers together so the moistened edges are forced upward between the two cracker squares.
  9. Transform boundaryBreak a graham cracker in half lengthwise.
  10. Place the broken sides of the graham cracker together on the frosting. Slip the pieces of graham cracker so they move past each other.

Science behind the experiment

  1. The divergent boundary is an example of where crustal plates are separating. This is happening in the floors of all the oceans here on Earth.
  2. Convergent boundaries are places where an oceanic plate is forced beneath a continental plate. The Aleutian Trench is a convergent boundary between the Pacific Ocean Plate and the North American Plate.
  3. The convergent boundary between two continents creates mountain like the Himalayas where the Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate are colliding.
  4. The San Andreas Fault is the most famous transform fault. The North American Plate and the Pacific Ocean Plate are slipping past each other along this boundary.
Answer to the question of the month

What is a Marsupial?
Marsupials are mammals that have a pouch to carry their baby after they are born. Marsupial babies do most of their growing inside their mother's pouch after they are born. They are usually less than an inch long and must crawl into the pouch after being born to survive. In the pouch it is a warm safe place with nipples for milk.

More Fun and Interesting Web Pages

Click on these links to find more fun and interesting information about crustal plate movement that causes large and small earthquakes.

1960 Chile Earthquake
The 1960 Chile earthquake was a magnitude 9.5 the largest earthquake ever recorded!
Megathrust Earthquake
Find out why megathrust earthquakes will occur off the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California in the future.
Earthquake Zones
Find out where and why earthquakes occur and why there are earthquake zones.
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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