Archives for April, 2010
Last week, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico called the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank. It first looked like the oil spill from the accident would be small, but now the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that the the damaged pipes from the BP company-owned rig are leaking 5,000 barrels a day.
The oil is thin at the surface, but because the spill is coming from deep underwater, there’s lots of oil in the water that can be seen from above.
The oil has spread over several thousand square miles and has reached the coast of Louisiana.
See more pictures and learn more about the oil spill on National Geographic News.
Read more on NG Kids Green Scene.
Photographs courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Team/NASA
This year’s BioBlitz species study in Biscayne National Park near Miami, Florida begins today. The 24-hour event teams together volunteer scientists, families, students, teachers, and other community members to find and identify as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible.
A BioBlitz gives kids and adults the opportunity to join biologists in the field and participate in a real-life research expedition. It’s a fun and exciting way to learn about the biological diversity of local parks and to better understand how to protect them.
National Geographic is helping conduct a BioBlitz in a different national park each year during the decade leading up to the U.S. National Park Service Centennial in 2016. Volunteers at the 2009 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore BioBlitz turned up more than 1,200 species compared with more than 1,700 in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in 2008, and more than 650 in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park in 2007.
Would you consider participating in a BioBlitz?
May is Get Caught Reading month. And you, our book-loving friends on DogEared can get the word out!
We’ve teamed up with several generous book publishers and the Get Caught Reading folks to give you the chance to win prizes… um, just for reading. Yup! JUST FOR READING. Which we know you love to do!
Here’s how it works. If an adult you know catches you reading, fill out this card and send it in for a chance to win these cool prizes! And who doesn’t need awesome new books for summer vacation?
Now, grab a book and Get Caught Reading!
April is National Poetry Month, and today is Poem In Your Pocket Day.
What do you do? It’s easy! Pick your favorite poem, write it down (or print it out), and put it in your pocket. Share it with your friends and family all day.
Learn more about Poem In Your Pocket Day on Poets.org.
Do you want to learn more about national parks and have some fun at the same time? First Bloom is a National Park Foundation program just for kids in grades four through six where kids do activities and meet with park rangers once a month. Kids can learn about environmental topics such as invasive species vs. native plants and how they affect an ecosystem.
This spring, First Bloom groups designed gardens that feature native plants from their local parks. You can vote for your favorite design. The group that gets the most votes will win a free trip to a national park.
Learn more about First Bloom and vote for your favorite garden designs on the National Parks Foundation website.
What are invasive plants? Get the scoop on National Geographic Kids.
Illustration courtesy National Parks Foundation
David de Rothschild and the Plastiki crew have sailed over 3,600 miles on their journey from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia. David recently recorded a video that explains the impact of plastic trash in the ocean, and why it’s not only an environmental problem, but also a health problem.
Watch the video on the Plastiki blog.
Learn more about the Plastiki’s journey.
Find out what kids asked David in a recent interview.
Read an interview with David on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083
AUTHOR: Andrea White
When you think of all of the hardships in your life, you might think of the time your pet passed away, or when you broke your leg. But I can be absolutely certain that you wouldn’t think of struggling for survival in Antarctica-on a reality TV show.
The year is 2083, and education past middle school is rare. Kids learn in a virtual classroom, watching TV shows about history or literature. One of the channels is a reality TV show called Historical Survivor. This year, the contestants will be 5 14-year-old children, and the top prize is $100,000. In a world where most kids don’t have enough to eat, let alone extra money, this is huge.
Andrea White’s book follows the five teens that are picked to compete as they journey through Antarctica, trying to recreate Robert F. Scott’s 1912 attempt to reach the South Pole. But as they trek through the barren desert, obstacles crop up in their path that make them suspicious of the fairness of the show.
This book was amazing. It incorporates action, adventure, and survival, while still allowing the reader to connect with the characters. It offers an intriguing concept of the future, and really made me think about what people want in life, as well as ideals of friendship and perseverance. I also gave this book to my 9-year-old brother to read, and he loved it as well-proving that it appeals to all audiences, both young and old! It provides a history lesson as well-but it doesn’t feel like you’re learning because you need to find out what happens to the main characters. In short, this book is a great futuristic read that serves a dual role as a science fiction and historical fiction novel.
On “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” April 22, kids took over National Geographic headquarters. They got the inside scoop on what it’s like to work for National Geographic and reported on what they learned.
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The nook is an electronic book where you can download books for cheaper than at the stores. You can download books or newspapers and read them in the “My Library” section on your nook. You can buy cases and different screen savers also.
You get the books by either looking them up on the nook by title or author or you can look on the Barnes and Noble website and they have a section for eBooks. When you find a book that you like, you can download a sample for free, which is the first couple of pages and if you like it, you just click on “buy now”. It takes about a minute for the book to get on your nook. Then you click on “Check for new Barnes and Noble Content” and the books get there by a wireless internet connection.
You can get kids books and ones for adults. The nook is my Dad’s, but I have some books on it. I’ve read Arabian Nights on the nook and I might even review it here.
On the Barnes and Noble website, you can make a wish list where you put all your books that you hope to get and you can save up your money to buy them.
My favorite part of the nook was exploring it when you first get it.
This weekend April 23-25 is Global Youth Service Day. Kids and youth ages 5 to 25 years old get involved in community projects all over the globe. In the Washington, D.C. area alone, there are 40 projects that will involve about 3,500 youth. Around the U.S., there are events in communities focusing not only on Earth Day clean ups and the environment, but also childhood obesity, helping the hungry, and many other service projects.
Find out if there are any projects in your neighborhood by visiting the Global Youth Service Day website.
How will you help your community this weekend?
Let’s celebrate planet Earth today and vow to be better stewards of the environment! Over the past 40 years, people all over the globe have participated in projects to bring attention to issues such as pollution and come up with solutions that everyone can support, like cleanup projects and tree planting!
As part of an Earth Day project last year, 100 Bulgarian students participated in a school and park beautification project led by a now Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Alison Bell of Alpharetta, Georgia (in pink shirt below). Students planted over 350
donated trees and plants.
They also cleaned up trash from the town, school grounds, and park.
Play a Peace Corps Challenge game and solve issues like volunteers.
Photographs courtesy Peace Corps
The average bathtub can hold 40-50 gallons of water. That’s a LOT of water going down the drain when you’re ready to dry off. Want a quick way to save water on Earth Day (April 22)? Skip the bath!
If your parents insist that you wash off mud from soccer practice, think about taking a shower instead of hopping in the tub. Conventional showers use 7-10 gallons per minute, and water-saving shower heads use 2-4 gallons per minute. So if you jump in for a 5-minute shower, you’ll use about 10 to 35 gallons during a 5-minute shower.
Play Creek Cleanup and see how much trash you can scoop out of the water.
BOOK NAME: Flightsend
AUTHOR: Linda Newberry
House hunting first started when Charlie’s mum wanted to move away from all her past and have a new beginning. Charlie seemed to be satisfied with her life, but her mum (Kathy) wasn’t so impressed. For a while, Charlie and Kathy looked through every single house recommendation from the estate agency and compared prices, quality, and even went to see some, only to be left disappointed. After many discouraging visits to different houses Kathy and Charlie seemed to slow down on looking for a house… until Flightsend. A flyer for Flightsend came in the mail one morning and while Charlie was at school, Kathy went to see it and came back reporting perfection. Taking Charlie with her, Kathy went to see the little cabin in the country town once more; they moved there in a matter of a month.
Charlie didn’t know how much her life would change in that little cabin, but it did. Many people entered her life while others left. Charlie also learned the importance of her small family.
I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with the way this book ended. I wanted to take the last chapter and rewrite it. Other than that, I thought this was a great story. There are some heavier concepts discussed in the end of the book that were a little confusing to me because I can’t really relate to them. This is a book about a girl who lived like any other person in this world. It was realistic and believable – definitely a book I would read again someday.
Did you know that the average bathtub holds about 40-50 gallons (151 to 189 liters) of water? So when you take a bath you use a lot of water. Why not skip the bath on Earth Day and save some precious water?
Or take a quick shower to wash off the day’s grime. If you have a water-saving shower head installed on your shower, you might use only 10 gallons (38 liters) of water during a 5-minute shower.
What other water-saving tips do you have to share with other kids?
Earth Day celebrations began 40 years ago on April 22, 1970 to make people aware of pollution and other environmental problems that are harming the Earth. Small choices that people make every day contribute to the health or cause harm to the planet. When you think about it, every day should be Earth Day!
Many kids are finding ways to help the environment. Two committed kids on different continents have started websites to help kids around the world understand the issues and give solutions to some of the problems facing the planet.
Fifteen-year-old Alec (right, and with friends above) started Kids vs. Global Warming after he saw former Vice President Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. Alec’s website explains the issue of global warming so kids can understand the causes, but he also offers solutions in his iMatter area of his site. He is planning a million kid march next year to bring attention to the issue, and he also has an iPod/iPhone application to connect kids and their projects around the world.
BOOK NAME: Before Green Gables
AUTHOR: Budge Wilson
This book is actually a prequel to the Anne of Green Gables series. My mother and grandmother read the books as girls and really encouraged me to read them too, and I’ll never regret it. This amazing prequel is written by a different author than the original, but is written just as beautifully. It is the most amazing book I have ever read and I hope that the rest of the series is even better!
It is a very heart wrenching story because this little girl, Anne Shirley, makes so much out of so little and is able to scrape together a decent life while working non-stop. Anne is orphaned at three months old and is deprived a wonderful life with her amazing parents. From then on she goes to different households until she finally somehow lands on a train that may take her to the place of her dreams. Anne is wise beyond her years due to all the responsibility she must carry on her small shoulders. But she has a wonderful imagination which helps her survive all her hardships.
I would recommend this book to anyone, but I would especially recommend this book to fourth graders and up just so you can sympathize and enjoy it more. What I love about it is that you can always find some way to relate to Anne and can really imagine in your head what she’s doing at that moment. No matter how many books I read I don’t think any can beat this one except maybe the original, but I’ll have to read it and find out. Stay tuned!
This weekend is the perfect opportunity to pitch a tent, take a hike, or tour a national park near you to celebrate National Park Week, from April 17 to April 25. The park service is also waiving the entrance fees at all 392 parks in the U.S., and many parks are holding special events during the week, including some Earth Day activities.
Learn more about National Park Week on the National Park Service website.
Photograph by Caity Lynch, My Shot
The National Geographic Kids website has been nominated for a 2010 Webby Award! Grab your parents and ask if you can register and vote for NG Kids (kids.nationalgeographic.com), in the Website – Living – Youth category on the Webby Awards People’s Voice page.
BOOK NAME: Viola in Reel Life
AUTHOR: Adriana Trigiani
I just finished the book Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani. This book is a realistic fiction book. It’s about a girl named Viola who has to move from her beloved home in Brooklyn to an all-girls boarding school in Indiana. She has to leave her BFFAA (best friend forever and always) Andrew, and replace him with three new roommates, Romy, Marisol, and Suzanne. They actually seem to want to be there. At first she hates it but then she realizes this could be a good change. She also gets a boyfriend. Viola loves filming, that’s what her life is around. She keeps a video diary and everything. So she begins filming for the school and enters a video contest. This year might be the best for her.
This book was not the worst but not the best. I would not recommend it. For about a day she hates school and then she likes it, but she mentions it throughout the book. She keeps saying that I can’t believe I was so mean in the beginning but she was only grumpy for one day. Also I get it if someone kind of obsesses over her first boyfriend but she counts how many times she sees him. She will say like two kisses, one dance, and three hugs. I mean that seems just a little weird, doesn’t it?
Thank you for reading this review!
The 2010 National Geography Bee state competitions were held on Friday, April 9. The winners of the state GeoBees have been announced and are listed here! The finalists will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the finals on May 25-26 at National Geographic headquarters.
Photograph by Jeanne Modderman/National Geographic
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The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is only a few days away! Earth Day is a reminder to take time every day to clean up the environment, save energy, recycle plastic and paper, and reuse old items you have around the house in new ways!
If you spend time at a park this week, take a few minutes to pick up trash from the creek bed or the playground. Cleaning up your local streams can help keep waste from reaching the ocean!
After you help clean up the real world, treat yourself to an online game of Creek Cleanup!
BOOK NAME: The Giver
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
Jonas lives in a restricted world. Everyone and everything is controlled by very strict rules, and no one dares break them. But when job assignments come at the Ceremony of 12, something strange happens: the announcer skips Jonas. No one really knows what to do, but everyone stays in their seats. They know that it was intentional, as everything always was. Jonas tries to figure out what he has done wrong.
What will happen to Jonas as he awaits his fate What will his destiny be? What’s really going on in his society? All of these questions and more will be answered as you read on in Lois Lowry’s The Giver.
I absolutely loved this book, and it’s one of my all-time favorites. Jonas’ community seems a little bit odd to start with, but as he matures, he begins to see many things that it doesn’t allow and its many flaws. This book kept me thinking for days after I had finished it. For me, the main question that is pondered in the book is “How much control should a governmental body have over its people and how far should it go to keep them safe?” Safety is a big issue in this story, and in Jonas’ community, no personal choices are ever made, because the government worries people will endanger themselves if they have opinions. One word to think about while you read: color. I won’t say anything more except that this is an amazing book!
Yesterday morning, First Lady Michelle Obama had a town hall meeting to talk about childhood obesity. Our reporter Reed, along with other kids from around the country, attended the meeting at the White House to talk with Mrs. Obama about her Let’s Move program and eating healthy foods. Here’s Reed’s report from the town hall meeting.
REED: Michelle Obama got inspired to work on ending childhood obesity because she is a mom, and she wants to improve the health of all kids. Changing school lunches so that there are healthy foods will really help, and recess should never be taken out the school day because it’s exercise. Kids shouldn’t always watch TV or play video games. Get outside, because exercise is just moving! The longer you do something unhealthy, the harder it is to break the habit. Kids should start good habits, not bad ones.
How did kids grade President Obama on his first year as President? Read the News Bite and find out.
Photographs by Jason Golomb and Evan Vucci/AP Photo
BOOK NAME: Speed Machines
AUTHOR: Miranda Smith
It’s me again!
This time I’m going to write about a book called Speed Machines. It has all these motorized vehicles like cars, boats, airplanes and even bicycles.
My favorite section is about Cruise Boats. It shows the inside of the Voyager of the Seas cruise ship. It has an ice rink, miniature golf course, sport courts, theaters and a lot of other cool things. My parents once went on this ship!
There’s a picture of a car underwater. It’s unique because it can ride underwater and on land. The picture has two guys driving the car, wearing SCUBA masks connected to the car. And it’s a convertible! There’s no top!
The book is a big picture book with a lot of articles. I liked how much information it had. It shows all kinds of records like the fastest ride on the moon was 10.53 miles per hour. The “fastest man on earth” was Captain John Stapp of the U.S. Air Force. In 1954 he rode a rocket-propelled sled built out of welded tubes. He set a record of 6,402 miles per hour.
I recommend this book for everyone.
This unusual-looking creature was recently brought to the surface by a submarine exploring the deep ocean. It’s a Bathynomus giganteus, more commonly known as a giant isopod. It looks more like a bug you would find on land, but it’s related to shrimp and crabs.
Bathynomus giganteus is believed to live in the deep, cold waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It’s a scavenger, feeding on dead sea creatures such as whales.
Read more about Bathynomus giganteus on the NatGeo News Watch blog.
Did you know that trapezoid crabs help keep coral reefs alive? Get the story on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph courtesy of NOAA/OER