Archives for January, 2013
Do you want to help change the world? Google is encouraging young researchers, innovators, and inventors from around the world to share their projects in the third annual Google Science Fair. If you are between the ages of 13 and 18, all you need is an idea to get started!
If you are chosen as one of the 15 global finalists, you will get to go to Google’s headquarters in California to present your idea in front of a group of panelists including two National Geographic Explorers. Not only do you get a chance to share your great idea on how to change the world, you’ll also be competing to win the grand prize: a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos Islands!
Just because you’re a kid doesn’t mean you can’t help change the world. Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, was just 14 when he got his start. Albert Einstein was 16 and his fascination with magnets led to his famous E = mc2. Google’s Science Fair can help you develop your science or engineering ideas on how to better our world.
The Google Science Fair launches January 30, 2013 and will be accepting applications up through April 30, 2013. This is the largest online science fair in the world. What are you waiting for? Start submitting your great ideas today; it’s your turn to change the world!
The winners of the 2012 International Photo Contest for Kids winners have been announced! The grand prize winner is Isabella Barbaro, 11, from the United Kingdom. She has won a trip to Washington, D.C. and a tour of National Geographic headquarters.
Kids submitted more then 13,500 photos to this years contest from countries all over the world.
Africa started with a bang! When the 4X4 showed up at our door and they told us how to set up our roof top tents I could feel the excitement in the air. We were all busting to hit the road.
Our first stop was Naukluft National Park where the baboons stalked our camp, but we were surrounded by spectacular canyons, natural pools and waterfalls perfect for swimming. The next morning we saw a herd of mountain zebra galloping through the bush.
In the trees there were these giant birds’ nests created by birds called sociable weavers. We also spotted springbok playing around. Our next stop was Sesriem, home to some truly enormous sand dunes. We woke up with the moon still high in the sky, the stars glistening and we started out for Dune 45. The color was a radiant red.
We hiked up the dune’s spine, and sat down in the warm sand just in time to watch the sun rise. We later drove our speedy 4X4 to Big Daddy, perhaps the largest sand dune in the world. Do you know the reason the sand is red? The sand has iron in it and when it rains the iron rusts and turns the sand a reddish rust color. Well now you know!
Later we went deep into the desert and saw the dry remains of an old lake basin. Crazy right? Actually the entire desert was once believed to have been an ocean. That night our campsite was incredible. We slept under our own acacia tree. When the sun was setting we made our brai (African barbeque) and watched the sun slip below the horizon. As darkness fell we could hear the animals crunching in the bush just a few feet below us. While we were driving through the park we saw our first oryx. The oryx has the most beautiful horns I have ever seen. Another spectacular stop was Mirabeb, a campsite in the middle of absolutely nowhere. There was nothing in sight for miles. We slept under a rock escarpment (over hang). While we were hiking we found mica, a rock with thin pieces of translucent papery material running through it like a mirror. Later in the day we visited the local people in their village and delivered a bag of clothes, toys and school supplies. The children had big smiles on their faces. How about that for another epic week… wow, I am SO lucky!
The ten finalists of the 2012 DogEared Blogger contest have been chosen! Click here to read the reviews and vote for your favorite. Cast your vote in the poll on the right side of the review page.
The last day to vote is February 1, so be sure to come back once a day and vote for your favorite review!
Tell all your friends to help vote. The three reviewers that receive the most votes will become our new DogEared Bloggers!
Illustration by Chris Rooney
Today National Geographic Kids reporter Mallory Moore, age 12, sat down at the White House with First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden to discuss this weekend’s Inauguration and the Joining Forces initiative to support military families.
Mallory kicked off the roundtable discussion by asking about why the Joint Forces initiative was important and how kids could help.
Both Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden emphasized the fact that we need to show our support, not just say that we are supporting military families. Many military families have to move a lot and we kids can help by being kind and inclusive. Dr. Biden also offered advice for kids in military families. She says that it helps to be involved in extracurricular activities like being on a sports team or working on the school newspaper. She also reminded us that even though these kids are not fighting, they are still serving so we should show our support to these families through our actions and our words and join forces to support and serve as a nation.
MRS. OBAMA: Well, for me, I came to the issue of military families in a different way from Dr. Biden. I had an opportunity to meet military families and kids when the President was first campaigning. And that was some of the first opportunities I had to go on military bases and really understand the huge sacrifice that these families make.
The average military kid goes to multiple schools over the course of going to high school; they may go to five or six or seven different schools. We just talked about one individual military kid whose father had been deployed for about half of their life. Imagine that. For half of your life your dad is away because he’s serving this country.
And I would hear those stories and I would just be overwhelmed by that level of sacrifice, and I realized that a lot of people in this country were like me– they never got to meet military families, they never got to know anything about them, so their service is something that most people don’t know about.
So I sort of follow up–I get to be First Lady. I want to take this spotlight that I have as First Lady and shine it on these individuals and make sure that the country understands that we have to show these families just how grateful we are for their service. It’s not enough for us just to say it. We have to show them, and make sure that they’re beings supported and they feel our love and support because of what they’re going through. And that’s one of the things we’re trying to do with Joining Forces.
But Jill’s experiences are very different from mine.
DR. BIDEN: I wanted to work on military families because I am a military mom and a military grandmom. And so before I was Second Lady, in my state of Delaware my husband was a senator, and so I was working with Delaware Boots on the Ground helping military families already.
So it was so great when Michelle and I got together as First and Second Lady that she said, Jill, what do you want to work on? And I said, I want to work on military families, and she said, I want to work on military families, too. So it was so great that this was an issue–Michelle has her issues that she likes to work on, and I have mine that I like. But this is one that we share together, so it has–it’s great for both of us because then we get to spend a lot of time together which is nice as well.
MALLORY: Well, what do you like to read?
MRS. OBAMA: You know what, I like to read–I read a great book–I don’t get a chance to read that often. Jill is–she is always recommending great books, but by the time I get into bed I can read a page and I fall asleep. But I read this wonderful mystery that was really very good. So mysteries are good. I love fictional history. I just love a good book, a good story. So it’s almost–it really doesn’t matter. I’m pretty open-minded.
And last summer I read a lot of the old classics with Malia, as she’s getting to the age of reading The Catcher in the Rye and Tender is the Night. So we’ve read some of those. All of our family read together Life of Pi, which is our family’s favorite book, and we watched the movie, which we loved, Life of Pi. That was the other movie that I saw–Life of Pi. I remembered. So I love Life of Pi, because it was also something that we shared as a family, and it was a great story of adventure and fantasy.
MRS. OBAMA: Do you guys want to be journalists?
MALLORY: A book reviewer, maybe.
MRS. OBAMA: You want to be a book reviewer? What’s your favorite book?
MALLORY: To pick one, well, I guess it would be the one I last read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
DR. BIDEN: I just bought that.
MALLORY: Yes, it’s really interesting. It’s an interesting perspective.
What question would you ask Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden?
If you like to do hands-on science activities, you’ll want to visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. The museum opened its doors in early December 2012, and has already had nearly 200,000 visitors! Some favorite exhibits are been the hands-on robots in the Bio Lab, and the Rose Hall of Birds, where you can have a 3-D flying experience.
BOOK NAME: Gathering Blue
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
Gathering Blue is an amazing book about a young girl named Kira. Kira’s father had been killed on a hunt, even before she was born, and her mother has now died of illness. In Kira’s community, if you can’t do work, you might as well be brought to the field to be eaten by the beasts. Kira, who was born with a twisted leg, is too young to weave by herself, so she has the small job of picking up the scraps at the weaving shed. Now that both of her parents have died, Vandara, an evil woman in the community, wants Kira to be taken to the field.
Kira is taken to court. The judges decide that Kira can stay in the community, but now she will have a new job. Every year, the entire village would get together, and the “Singer” would sing a long song about all the good and bad things that had happened to the village. While he sang, he would wear a robe Because of her magnificent abilities in weaving, Kira will repair and restore the Singer’s robe. She will now live in the government building.
In the building, Kira meets Thomas the Carver. They eat their meals together and become good friends. Slowly, Kira begins to notice some strange things about her community. Could people be keeping secrets from her? Kira is determined to find out.
I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone ages 12 and up. Kira’s courage is truly inspiring, and everyone should learn from her.
This book is a sequel to The Giver. Read Mairen’s review of The Giver.
Let the planning begin. This crazy week was spent preparing for our awesome trip to Africa. We started by narrowing down the countries that were the highest on our list. After hours of studying travel books, maps, and websites our heads were spinning but our current plan is to start in Namibia and travel on to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and finally Mozambique. There are tons of incredible things to do in Sub Saharan Africa. I was only five when I came to Africa the first time so I am super excited to go again. Have you ever been to Africa?
I still can’t believe we have been to 27 countries already in the past 18 months and that this is our last continent. I could travel forever. I love everything about our journey but maybe not the packing. We spent an insanely busy weekend packing our one carryon suit case with school books, a very small amount of clothing, cameras, and binoculars. On Sunday morning we said a sad goodbye to my grandma and grandpa and hopped on the train to Chicago. In Chicago the temperature was four degrees and we nearly froze our fingers off, but we ended our day with piping hot Chicago style pizza.
We left Chicago the next morning and started out on our four day journey to Africa. Within the first five minutes of our drive from the airport to our hotel in Windhoek, Namibia we saw two gorgeous giraffes grazing in the bush.
When we arrived at our hotel we jumped in the pool and started talking to travelers from all over the world. They shared their stories and confirmed that there is an endless list of amazing things for us to do and see. Our first day we toured the city of Windhoek. We visited the handicraft center and saw handmade creations from the small villages throughout Namibia. The indigenous people use things that we would just throw away and turn them into beautiful creations. There were picture frames made of bike chains, boxes made of computer keys, African animals carved from old wood, they even took old radio parts and made solar powered portable radios. It just makes you realize our trash is their treasure. I am so excited to explore the rest of this awe inspiring African continent!
January 13 marks the 125th anniversary of the National Geographic Society! Back in 1888, 33 men founded the Society at a meeting held at the Cosmos Club in Washington D.C. Since then, the National Geographic Society has grown to be one of the world’s largest scientific and educational organizations. To celebrate, we are planning events throughout the year, and will look back on all of the amazing discoveries and adventures, as well as look ahead to the exploration that is still to come!
How are you going to explore the world this year?
BOOK NAME: A Kids’ Guide to America’s Bill of Rights: Curfews, Censorship, and the 100-Pound Giant
AUTHOR: Kathleen Krull
ILLUSTRATOR: Anna DiVito
This isn’t your average history book. This is a book with an easy to understand history of the Bill of Rights and how as a kid you can protect and use those rights. There are tons of engaging and silly illustrations which made learning the Bill of Rights a lot more easy and fun. This book goes over all the first ten amendments and gives you what you really need to know. I know most of you are thinking “What does a piece of paper some old guys wrote more than two hundred years ago have to do with me?” Actually, it turns out it has a lot to do with you! Everything you take for granted is most likely because of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Think about it, without these secured rights you might have been arrested for simply saying you think Spiderman is “lame.”
The author really gets the point across that the Bill of Rights is still very active today by using real life modern day examples and interesting cases in court. This book is great if you want a simple place to start learning about the Bill of Rights, need to understand it better, or you’re just a bit rusty and need a good review. This book is especially great for kids who love history or are interested in law. If you’re studying for your school’s Constitution test, what a great tool this can be to remember the number of each Right and what it really means. Good luck!
Paleontologists in Nevada have discovered a Triassic-era sea monster that is the size of a bus! It lived about 244 million years ago during the Triassic era. The creature is called “lizard-eating sovereign of the seas,” or Thalattoarchon saurophagis. T. saurophagis was an early ichthyosaur, a giant reptile that lived in the oceans.
The fossil was partially excavated in 1998, and National Geographic explorer and T. saurophagis study co-author Nadia Fröbisch and her colleagues excavated the rest of the fossil in 2010. The complete fossil has a huge skull and big, sharp teeth that may have been used to eat prey the same size as T. saurophagis.
BOOK NAME: The Mark of Athena
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
Hi readers! I am reporting to you about Rick Riordan’s new book, The Mark of Athena. It’s book three in the Heroes of Olympus series. I couldn’t wait for this book to come out because as you probably know by now, I think Rick Riordan rocks! Well, The Mark of Athena was worth the wait!
In the book, Jason, Percy and the five other questers meet at the Roman camp. Then all of the sudden, Leo attacks the camp with the ship’s weaponry! The demigods barely make it out and are immediately on their quest. Leo is definitely my favorite character. He’s really funny and messes around, but when it’s time to work, he WORKS HARD! I like that about him.
This is my favorite book in the series so far because the Greeks and Romans FINALLY meet. This puts a lot of tension in the story; you never know when a betrayal will happen. Talk about suspense! Also, there are a lot of new monsters in the story. Some are comical characters and others are downright nasty! Even if you haven’t been following the series, the way Rick Riordan develops his characters is a really good reason for trying this book. You won’t be disappointed.
Until next time, folks!
Hi guys! We ended our unforgettable five months in Eastern Europe and the Middle East and started our family Christmas in Michigan with a bang. We did sooo many fun things while we were home. We went sledding on our Zipfy sleds and had a few wipe outs, too. The next day we went to the movies and saw Parental Guidance which was really funny. On Christmas Eve there was a huge snowstorm, so we had to build a snowman and snow angels. We named our snowman Frosty.
We have a tradition twice a year in the summer and at Christmas to see my dad’s family at an old lodge. In the winter they have an awesome toboggan track. This year the track was covered in ice and we reached a speed of 38 mph. Yet another fantastic day we had a family bowling night, and of course I won.
One of the highlights of this holiday season was a fascinating evening at the Cranbrook Institute of Science. They have one of the most powerful telescopes ever in their brand new observatory.
On Christmas morning we decided to stay in our pajamas all day and play with our new gifts. My favorite was my iPhone and Everest’s favorite was his microscope and remote control rat.
What did you get for Christmas? What was your favorite gift? What holiday do you celebrate? When we went to Christmas mass there were stories told about the River Jordan and the Red Sea, and it was amazing to think that we were there just days ago. We had a wonderful time in Jordan, the memories that will stay with me forever. For the rest of our stay at home we saw some of our friends, spent time with my grandparents, did A LOT of school, and started preparing for our amazing trip to Africa… ROAR!
Tomorrow is the last day to send in your entry for the 2012 “So You Wanna Be a DogEared Blogger” Contest! For your chance to be chosen as one of the three new bloggers, read a book, write a review according to the instructions in the official rules, and enter the contest. We’d love to make you part of the DogEared team!
Illustration by Chris Rooney