Archives for August, 2010
We are celebrating 35 years of the National Geographic Kids magazine!
The September 2010 issue of National Geographic Kids magazine marks the 35th anniversary of the magazine. To celebrate, every day in September we are going to show you an amazing, silly, or awesome feature on the NG Kids website, so be sure to come back to see all 35 Best Online Features.
1. Best NG Kids Covers Puzzler
See if you can solve the jigsaw or slide puzzles based on some of our awesome covers.
2. Best Pet Craft
Give your dog (or cat!) a comfy place to chill out with this pet bed.
3. Best Laugh Out Loud Video
These goats don’t run or yell when they’re startled–they faint instead!
4. Best Multi-Level Game
Explore the solar system as Nat and Geo in “Pluto’s Secret,” an out of this world multi-level adventure game.
5. Best Jokes
Stock up on jokes and make your friends giggle with this Just Joking interactive!
6. Best Global Adventure
Read about brothers Stefan and Tyler and their awesome adventure around the world.
7. Best Hands-On Exploration Blog
Relive the amazing adventures of the Hands-On Explorer expeditions to Australia and Peru. Plus, you can find out how to enter the 2011 Hands-On Explorer Challenge contest!
8. Best Science Experiment
Ants keep track of where they are, where they’re going, and how to get there. Can you make an ant get lost? Find out when you try this experiment.
9. Best Recycling Game
Do you know the difference between recyclable stuff, compostable stuff, and trash? Try this recycling game and see how high you can score.
10. Best Gross-Out Video
How many spiders could you stand to have crawling all over you? Find out how many Tom had crawling on him (for 30 whole seconds)!
11. Best Earth-Friendly Craft
One easy and fun way to help the planet is to decorate a canvas bag. You or your parents can use your personalized bag while shopping instead of using plastic bags.
12. Best Whale Quiz
Get ready to bend your brain and answer these questions about the world’s biggest whale (make that the world’s biggest animal)!
13. Best Animal Profile
What’s this cuddly-looking creature? It’s a harp seal! Get the facts on this adorable animal in the Creature Feature.
14. Best Scary Treat
When you look at this snack, it feels like it’s looking back! Check out this activity to learn how to make your own eyeball deviled eggs.
15. Best Lightning Photos
See the awesome power of lightning in this photo gallery.
16. Best Silly Fill-In-the-Blank Story
Going back to school is always a little awkward, but in this story going back to school is the zaniest it’s ever been.
17. Best Animal Balancing Trick
Most cats aren’t too happy when they’re around lots of people, but Nicholas likes crowds just fine. He gets a great view of New York City from the top of his owner’s head!
18. Best Trivia Challenge
Do you think you know more trivia than their parents? Try this quiz, and then email a challenge to your mom or dad! (Or your brother, or your sister, or your friend…)
19. Best Ways to Help the Environment
It’s up to everyone to do what they can to help the environment. Check out these green tips for inspiration.
20. Best Creepy Video
Get a spider’s perspective in this video, where you’ll watch a jumping spider stalking a honeybee.
21. Best Way to Get to Know the NG Explorers
Meet National Geographic’s team of awesome explorers! Click the figures to learn more about what they do.
22. Best Pet Treat
Who doesn’t like snacks? Your dog or cat will go wild for these tasty treats.
23. Best Halloween Costume
Do you know what you’re going to be for Halloween yet? Try this awesome make-it-yourself spaghetti and meatballs costume!
24. Best Way to Travel for Free
Explore the world from your computer screen when you visit the National Geographic Kids People & Places area. Get facts about countries around the world and check out beautiful pictures.
25. Best Book Blog
Looking for a book to read? Find a new favorite on DogEared, featuring book reviews from real kids.
26. Best Water Adventure Game
Join Nat & Geo (and their monkey Gordo!) as they raft a raging river and explore an underwater shipwreck!
27. Best “Backpack”
Carrier crabs pick up whatever’s handy to use as defense, even if the closest thing is another animal!
28. Best Animal Custodian
Speaking of crabs, trapeziid crabs help keep coral reefs alive by keeping them clean!
29. Best Animal Reader
Willow the dog has an unusual talent: reading! When her owner holds up a card with a command on it, Willow does what the card says.
30. Best Place to Learn About Going Green
Get the scoop on all things green on the Green Scene blog.
31. Best Animal Invasion
The jellies are coming! Giant jellyfish are invading the Sea of Japan. Find out why.
32. Best Easy Snack
The next time you get tortilla chips, why not try making your own salsa? Pico de gallo is an easy (and tasty!) chip topping.
33. Best Big Cat Profile
Tigers are the biggest cats in the world! Get the facts on these fantastic felines in the Creature Feature.
34. Best Mystery Game
Who is buried in the ancient Egyptian tomb? Find the clues and solve the mystery.
35. Best Virtual World
Customize an animal character, explore, play minigames, and much much more in Animal Jam, a cool new virtual world from National Geographic.
Is your class looking for a green project to do together? Tell your teacher about the Find Your Footprint contest! Your classroom can choose one of three categories: Save Water, Reduce Waste, or Save Energy. Your class must think of a way to reduce your school’s footprint in one of these areas, and create a description of your proposal. The winning classroom or school will get some pretty cool prizes, including five Promethean ActivBoards and $1000 worth of National Geographic books.
All entries must be received by December 3, 2010, so go green and get going!
Want to find out how big your family’s water footprint is? Grab Mom or Dad and check out the Water Footprint Calculator.
Image Source / Getty Images
We all make an impact on the Earth with all the the stuff we buy, use, and throw away. This is called our human footprint. How your footprint changes the Earth is up to you.
Want to make a difference?
Work with your teacher to enter the Find Your Footprint Contest. You can learn about your footprint so you can help make the world greener and your school too! Your school could win five Promethean interactive whiteboards, which could help cut down on the amount of paper you use. So go green and have your teacher enter your classroom’s best idea now!
Get more information about the Find Your Footprint Contest.
Photographs by Pavel Losevsky, Shutterstock and altafulla/Shutterstock
BOOK NAME: I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President
AUTHOR: Josh Lieb
Hi, it’s Mairen again and yes, that is a very long title. However, don’t let it deter you from picking up this book. I started to read it a little skeptically, but was drawn in from the first page. The story is about a young boy, Oliver Watson, who has two identities: a less-than-smart overweight boy who loves his parents and an international business magnate who has absolute control over thousands of people. The book follows his double-life as he tries to integrate his evil genius personality and his normal kid personality to try to win a school election. Because he has so much control, he bribes, threatens, and steals his way to be a contender in the competition without anyone knowing what is going on.
The plotline is intriguing and the dialogue and narrative are absolutely hilarious, so much so that I was laughing out loud while reading on a few occasions! That garnered me a couple of weird looks from the bystanders (I was reading in my local library), but I just couldn’t stop laughing! Anyway, this book is amazing. It’s charming yet nerve-racking. We can all relate to Oliver’s yearning for his father’s pride, and these kinds of books are the kinds that will always stick in the reader’s mind, no matter how many other books they read. I would recommend this book to all readers, no matter how young or old.
BOOK NAME: Life As We Knew It
AUTHOR: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Miranda was happy being a senior in high school. She had friends and family that loved her. Mainly what she had was a normal life. All that changed one day when a meteor hit the moon unexpectedly and pushed the moon closer to earth!
The moon controls the tides and it was that night that the waves stared crashing over Florida, New York City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and other major cities around the world!!! Millions of people started dying. People were going crazy at the grocery store as Miranda and her family stocked up on their food supply. Nobody knew how long this could last! Lightning storms exploded and volcanoes erupted. A loss of electricity and MASSIVE snow storms were causing Miranda and her family to struggle through these harsh times. They hadn’t heard from their dad and they didn’t know if they ever would once the post office closed. Would Miranda and her family live to tell the tale? Or would mankind die off and never be able to survive?
This book was absolutely amazing! I couldn’t put it down. It never got boring because it was so intense in some parts. It really gets you wondering if a meteor really could push the moon closer to earth! It also get really scary in some parts and its sort of depressing too so don’t read this if you are looking for a happy book. There are two sequels to it so I will have to find a chance to read them sometime. It is a great fiction novel!
Scientists identified one of the world’s smallest frogs on Wednesday. The itty-bitty Microhyla nepenthicola is a frog that is only found in Borneo. When fully grown, the frog is the size of a pea (the frog in the picture above is a juvenile). Although the species was recently identified, people have been spotting the tiny amphibian for a long time. “I saw some specimens in museum collections that are over a hundred years old,” co-discoverer Indraneil Das said. Das thinks that scientists may have thought the frogs were younger versions of other, larger species.
Learn more about this tiny find on National Geographic News.
Photograph courtesy Indraneil Das, Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation
BOOK NAME: The London Eye Mystery
AUTHOR: Siobhan Dowd
Welcome to August’s last book club meeting!
jindo2108, we agree with you! It would be disappointing to get this far and not have Kat and Ted solve the mystery. 2whitie, it’s true that a lot of mysteries have leads earlier in the story. Can anyone think why the author might wait so long to give readers a lead to follow?
We’ll be talking about the end of the book today. Click “See More” to jump into the discussion.
If you haven’t finished the book, stop here!
Read the whole post »
If you look at tonight’s full moon and think it looks smaller than usual, you’d be right. It’s the smallest full moon of the year!
The moon’s orbit around the Earth isn’t a perfect circle–it’s shaped more like an egg. That means the moon isn’t always the same distance from the Earth. Tonight the moon will be at its furthest point from the Earth, at what is called its apogee. That makes the Earth seem smaller when viewed from Earth. It also affects the moon’s pull on tides. The pull will be weaker than usual.
Read more about tonight’s full moon on National Geographic News.
How much do you know about the moon? Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Photograph by Marti Kallas, My Shot
BOOK NAME: Noonie’s Masterpiece
Noonie Norton always had an odd view of art; she went through phases. Blue phases, purple phases, even polka dot phases! Unlike others, she painted everything as she saw it. Noonie painted for only two reasons: first, Noonie wanted to be like her artistic mother; second, she desperately wanted her father to come back for her from his travels. Noonie believed that if her father was impressed by her art, he’d come back to her! When Noonie’s school had an art contest, she saw it as an opportunity to make her father come for her. Would she win?
At age 10, Noonie is younger than me, but a lot like me. She is different from the other people in her school and doesn’t really care what they think of her. She’s artistic, but nobody seems to care. Her best friend, Reno is a math and science geek who assists her with her art; she bosses him and he willingly obeys her. Even though her family really loves her, they don’t always respect her artistic ways.
This book is one I’d pick up for a quick read, but it wouldn’t make it into my list of favorites. The characters are interesting and each has a weird personality. Every page of this book is illustrated with drawings, by the main character, Noonie Norton. The illustrations are just as amusing as the book itself. It’s great if you are interested in a quick and easy read. Being the author’s first book, I think it was impressive.
This summer, kids participating in the Junior Ranger programs at national parks across the country can earn a special sticker designating them Let’s Move Outside Junior Rangers! All you have to do to get your sticker is do a physical activity while working towards your Junior Ranger badge. Check the Let’s Move website and see if a park near you participates.
Learn more about Let’s Move Outside on the Let’s Move! website.
How much do you know about the national parks?
Quiz Your Noodle and find out!
Photograph courtesy of the National Park Service
BOOK NAME: The London Eye Mystery
AUTHOR: Siobhan Dowd
Welcome, readers! Ready to talk about The London Eye Mystery? We are too. Let’s get started!
If you’ve read through chapter 27, click “See More” to talk about the book.
If you haven’t caught up, stop here!
Stefan Jenss, world traveler and former blogger for the Global Bros, was one of 250 kids, ages 10 and 11, selected to participate in the World Children’s Baseball Fair (WCBF) in Tokyo, Japan. The event celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Stefan Jenss reports.
The World Children’s Baseball Fair was started in 1989 by the home-run kings Sadaharu Oh of Japan and Hank Aaron of the USA. Its goal is to bring kids from around the world together through their common love of baseball. Because the sport promotes teamwork, good health, discipline, and friendship, Mr. Oh and Mr. Aaron believed the event would create goodwill and global understanding and appreciation among the children of the world. Twenty-three countries were represented at the WCBF this year.
Creative kids are coming up with innovative design solutions to environmental problems around the world. Inhabitat.com recently showcased eight kids who invented some cool new products, from the wall-climbing backpack designed by Hibiki Kono (pictured above) to a water filtration system conceived by Kelydra Welcker.
Read about these young inventors on Inhabitat.com and come up with your own inventions!
Photograph by Geoffrey Robinson, Rex USA
Have you ever thought about how much water you and your family use each day? Grab your mom or dad and find out your water footprint using the National Geographic water calculator! You can also compare your family’s water usage to other people in your area, and pledge to reduce your water footprint.
Check out the water footprint calculator on National Geographic.
Learn more about conserving resources on National Geographic Kids.
BOOK NAME: The Big Book of Fun
AUTHOR: National Geographic
This is a good book because you can take it anywhere if you don’t have anything to do like on an airplane, or if you’re going to the beach during summer vacation.
There are lots of games and activities that you have to figure out. My favorites are mazes. The games have different themes like oceans and jungles. Another one of the games takes animals heads and swirls them around and you have to guess what it is. There’s another activity where there are pictures of animals in different places, but they’re in the wrong place, so you have to find where they belong.
There are also look and find pages, and Funny Fill Ins, which are just like Mad Libs. I like those because they’re funny.
This book is good for maybe ages 4-8; Kindergarten through 2nd grade. I needed my dad to help me read some of the harder instructions. It’s a lot of fun.
Interested in seeing The Big Book of Fun for yourself? Enter the giveaway for a chance to get your own copy!
BOOK NAME: Little House on the Prairie
AUTHOR: Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie is a classic book that takes you to the wide-open prairie where a clear sky seems to completely surround you. Now I am sure that many of you have read this book or series before. And the reason you read the series is usually because your mother read it as a kid and insisted that you too read it. When I finally gave it a try, I was intrigued by the story and how it was written by a woman who actually went through these hardships, joys, and events. I was amazed at the little things like how white flour and sugar were such a big luxury when now we use it in everything.
In the story Laura and her family leave their cozy log cabin in the Wisconsin woods to go southwest and live on the prairie. Pa says that the woods are too crowded and they have to leave their family behind including cousins, aunts, and uncles. Can you imagine wondering if you would ever see your family again? Laura has to stand the roughness and boredom of the long journey to the prairie in a covered wagon. Then they face the challenge of building a house, barn, well, and fireplace. They are in Indian Territory so they face a hostile environment, and the prairie fires and illnesses don’t help either. After many disasters and joys they finally have the perfect little house and most importantly, each other. This book is a classic that will continue to be passed down through the generations (meaning that mothers will keep nagging their daughters to read it). And hey, you might even learn something about pioneer life!
Every August, skywatchers look to the heavens to see the Perseids meteor shower. This shower peaks today, from about 3 p.m. ET to 2 a.m. ET tomorrow morning. The Perseids meteor shower is caused by the Earth passing through a debris field left by the Swift-Tuttle comet, which passes around the sun every 135 years. Swift-Tuttle’s last visit was in 1992.
To watch tonight’s display, head outside and lie down on the ground, or sit in a comfy chair and look up! Observers in Europe and North America will have the best show on this dark, moonless night. Scientists can’t predict what sort of show people will see, but some of the streaks may be bigger than others. “As the Earth passes through the dust trail of comets, it encounters debris from the size of grains of sand to [the size of] boulders,” said Raminder Singh Samra, resident astronomer at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Learn more about the Perseids on National Geographic News.
Learn how to go stargazing on National Geographic Kids.
Photograph by Michel Tournay, My Shot
The average American uses a lot of water. In fact the total can be as much as 2,000 gallons of H2O a day. That seems impossible, doesn’t it? Surprisingly, very little of that–only five
percent–runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95
percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy
you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.
Work with your mom or dad to help you figure out your water footprint, and then pledge to reduce it.
Up to a billion migrating birds stop over in the Gulf of Mexico region on their annual journey southward. Although BP has capped the Deepwater Horizon leak, scientists say the birds may face ill effects from the Gulf oil spill for years to come.
BOOK NAME: The London Eye Mystery
AUTHOR: Siobhan Dowd
Welcome to the book club meeting. We’re reading The London Eye Mystery. The mystery is starting to unfold–Ted and Kat’s cousin Salim has gone missing!
If you’ve read through chapter 17, click “See More” to talk about the book.
If you haven’t caught up, stop here!
Last year, a Dutch court ruled that Laura Dekker was too young to sail around the world by herself. Laura is now 14, and she is on her way to Portugal on her yacht, Guppy. In September, Laura will begin her official attempt to break the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe sailing solo. The current record holder, Jessica Watson, broke the record in May at the age of 16.
Would you want to sail around the world alone?
Read more about Laura in the Associated Press article.
See a video of Laura on the the BBC.
Photograph by Bas Czerwinski, AP
BOOK NAME: The Red Pyramid
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
Hi, it’s Mairen again. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan, has been the focus of a lot of controversy among fans. When the movie came out, there was outrage within the most avid followers, while the people who hadn’t read the books loved it.
But Riordan has burst out with a new book: The Red Pyramid. While this new novel does focus on myths and gods, the gods are not Greek or Roman, they’re Egyptian. We follow Carter and Sadie Kane as they quest to figure out what exactly is going on and what they need to do to stop the evil god Set. Set was released when their father worked magic with the Rosetta Stone, releasing the 5 major gods. Carter and Sadie grew up apart after their mother died: Carter traveled with their Egyptologist father around the world, and Sadie stayed with their mother’s parents in London. They are very different – Sadie has almost Caucasian skin, and Carter’s skin is much darker; Sadie has a British accent; and Carter is an expert on Egyptology.
As much as I loved the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, this book didn’t really do the trick for me. Sure, it was good–it just didn’t pack the punch that his first series did: it wasn’t as funny, and the characters didn’t come to life as much. It was confusing at times, and I couldn’t really get into it. While I was reading, I kept telling myself that it would get better, but it really didn’t. All I can hope for is that the next two books will be better. One of the big turn-downs for me was that the story was apparently told while Sadie and Carter were recording themselves retelling the story. This didn’t really work for me. It confused me, and while I could tell it was meant to be funny, it only served as an interruption to the actual plotline of the story.
The Red Pyramid was an okay book overall. If you’re a Rick Riordan fan, you should definitely read it. Please comment and tell me your thoughts!
Want another opinion? Read Reed’s review of The Red Pyramid.
I’ve been back from Iceland a few weeks now, and I miss it. I miss the people, with their awesome accents and frank sense of humor, the colorful houses, the surreal landscape with thousand year old volcanic rocks, the steam coming out of the ground everywhere you turn…all of it. I even miss the convenience stores, with those delectable Icelandic hot dogs, made with crunchy onions and sweet Icelandic mustard… my mouth is watering just remembering it.
I learned so much on this trip, about climate change, rocks, glaciers, photography, filmmaking, puffins, ice, and myself.
Scientist have found fossils of an ancient crocodile in Tanzania called Pakasuchus kapilimai. It lived about 105 million years ago, and it was smaller than most crocs–about the size of a house cat. It also had characteristics that are more like a mammal than like a reptile. Modern crocs have a mouth full of pointy teeth, but this new find had molar-like teeth in the back of its jaw. Its nose was also more like a dog’s nose than like a typical crocodile.
Learn more about the Pakasuchus kapilimai crocodile on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Nile crocodiles in the Creature Feature.
Picture courtesy Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
BOOK NAME: Andrew North Blows Up the World
AUTHOR: Adam Selzer
When I was in 3rd grade, I LOVED sneaking around my house and spying on my parents and brothers, but Andrew North takes spying to a new level. Andrew gets into spy gadgets, enemy spies, and a lot more in this book. At school, he loses his brother Jack’s spy gadget in Storage Room B without Jack knowing. The gadget looks kind of like a calculator and potentially could blow up the world. Storage Room B is a mysterious place at the school that Mr. Gormulka, a Russian spy who works at the school as a janitor, guards with his life.
The book is about how Andrew North gets back the spy gadget. You would have never guessed this is a spy book just by looking at the cover, or even reading the title. The cover makes it seem like an extremely boring book to me, but when I read it, it ended up being one of my favorites! My favorite part of the book is when Ryan, the class troublemaker, helps Andrew with his mission in the end. If you like spying and lots of excitement, you’ll love this book.