<![CDATA[KidSenz - News for kids - December]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 13:40:16 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Christmas]]>Sat, 21 Dec 2013 07:14:45 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/december1/christmas
Christmas is a holiday observed to celebrate the birth of Jesus. There are a number of traditions associated with the occasion. Modern traditions include the display of Christmas trees, decoration of houses, singing Christmas Carols, the exchange of gifts and cards, and the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.

Giving Gifts
Gift-giving at Christmas time is common custom.  For most stores it means a huge increase in sales. Stores are full of shoppers from Thanksgiving time in late November until the day before Christmas. Gifts are given to children, members of the family and close friends. Some people bake cookies or make candies or other special food treats for friends and neighbors.

For some people, the tradition comes from remembering Saint Nicholas’s good deeds and charitable gift-giving. For others, the custom has to do with the Wise Men (Magi) of the Christmas story, who traveled from very far to bring gift offerings to baby Jesus.

Christmas is also a time when most Americans show great generosity to other less fortunate than themselves. They send money to hospitals or orphanages or contribute to funds that help the poor.

Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a huge attraction for children. The history behind Santa Claus is associated with St. Nicholas.
St. Nicholas was a Christian priest who was born in 280 AD and lived in Asia. He later became a bishop. He was a very kind man and always helped the poor and the needy. He loved children greatly and gave gifts to them. He was a rich person, and traveled the country helping people, giving gifts of money and other presents. His gifts were given late at night, so that the gift giver's identity would remain a secret. St. Nicholas did not like to be seen when he gave away presents, so the children of the day were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come!

A famous story about St. Nicholas, is about a poor man who had no money to give to his three daughters on their wedding day. St Nick dropped bags of gold into the stockings which the girls had left to dry by the fire. The sisters found the gold and ever since, children have hung up stockings on Christmas Eve hoping that they will be filled with presents by Christmas morning.

Santa Claus is thought of as the transformation of Saint Nicholas. Like Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus will not arrive in Christmas unless the children go to sleep early.

Christmas Tree
The decorating of homes for Christmas is very common. Most American who observe Christmas have a Christmas tree in their homes. This may be a real evergreen tree or an artificial one. In either case, the tree is decorated and trimmed with small lights and ornaments. Other decorations such as lights and wreaths of evergreen and signs wishing a "Merry Christmas" can be found inside and outside of many homes.

There are many legends about why we have a Christmas tree. One of the most famous legend is that of Martin Luther, a founder of the Protestant faith. Martin Luther was walking through the forest one Christmas Eve. As he walked he was awed by the beauty of millions of stars glimmering through the branches of the evergreen trees. He was so taken by this beautiful sight that he cut a small tree and took it home to his family. To recreate that same starlight beauty he saw in the wood, he placed candles on all its branches.

People decorate Christmas tree in their house to recreate the feeling of what Martin Luther saw and felt.

Gem Words
less fortunate- Having a low living standard.
orphanages - A residential institution for the care and education of orphans
Artificial – not real
Ornaments – something used to beautify something
Glimmering - Shine faintly
Awe –  A feeling of respect mixed with fear
Christmas eve – the night before Christmas day (the night of December 24th)
Protestant - A member or follower of any of the Western Christian churches that are separate from the Roman Catholic Church

By Andrea Brand-Sanchez and Kanwal Raza
<![CDATA[FIFA ]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2012 07:27:10 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/december1/fifaPicture
The FIFA (Federation Internationale De Football Association) World Cup has been played every four years since 1930, with the exception of the war years of 1942 and 1946. FIFA was founded in 1904 and made football an official Olympic sport in the 1906 Olympic Games in London, England.

In 1928, FIFA decided to host its own international competition besides the Olympics. Uruguay's proposal stood out above five European nations' so FIFA selected them to host the first FIFA World Cup in 1930.   13 teams, 7 from South America, 4 from Europe and 2 from North America participated in the tournament. The final was played between the Uruguay and Argentina to an audience of 93,000 people. Uruguay beat Argentina four - two.

The original world cup trophy
Differences between FIFA and the International Olympic Committee caused FIFA to abandon plans to organize an Olympic Football Tournament for the 1932 Olympic Games.

Italy hosted the FIFA second World Cup in 1934. After qualifying matches, 16 teams made it to the finals. The home team again won the Cup. For the first time, fans unable to attend the event in person could hear the final match on the radio.

The cup for the winning team was called Victory at that time. The cup was made of sterling silver and depicted the Greek Goddess, Nike. The cup's name was changed to the Jules Rimet Cup in 1946 in honor of the founder and first president of FIFA.

France hosted the World Cup in 1938, where Italy won and returned home with the Cup. The outbreak of World War II interrupted the four-year interval schedule of the FIFA World Cup. Competition resumed in 1950, when the Cup was held in Brazil.

The FIFA cup was stolen while on show in London, on March 22nd 1966. - The cup was on show in London that year as England was the host country, the country did not win the cup until 31 of July of that year - Despite a frantic countrywide search, it was to be found one week later, wrapped in newspaper under a garden hedge, by a mongrel dog called Pickles, who was being walked by his owner in South East London. The dog's owner received a £5,000 reward and Pickles was announced a national hero.

Four years later in 1970 the cup was awarded to Brazil for winning their third title, but was stolen in 1983. It was never recovered from this theft.

The FIFA world cup trophy   
A new cup was made for the 1974 tournament. Designed by Silvio Gazzaniga, it measures 36 cm high and is made from 18 carat gold with a semi - precious malachite base. This cup depicts two human hands holding the world aloft and is simply called the FIFA World Cup Trophy. Winners of the trophy keep it until the next tournament, when they are then presented with a gold plated replica. The name of each winning team is inscribed on the base of the cup in English.

FIFA’s growth
Between 1975 and 2002, more than 60 associations joined FIFA. As global participation in FIFA increased, so did the number of teams competing in the World Cup. Since it's beginnings in 1930, the World Cup has had 18 tournaments with FIFA now having 208 members from the six continental zones of Africa, Asia, North and Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Oceania and Europe. The contest's expansion grew to 16 teams from 1934 to 1976, 24 teams from 1982 to 1998 and 32 teams from 1998 to 2010.

A growing FIFA organization also considered World Cup host sites beyond Europe and the Americas. In 2002, the World Cup went to Asia as Korea and Japan won the bid to co-host the event, and in 2010, South Africa was the first African country to host.

Two hundred and four countries attempted to qualify for the 2010 world cup tournament, with games being played over a two year period. The World Cup was first televised in 1954. Today the tournament is the most viewed sporting event in the world, with the 2006 tournament having over 700 million viewers from around the world.

For every World Cup a special ball is made for use in the finals.

Gem Words
Abandon- Give up completely
Hedge- A fence or boundary formed by closely growing bushes
Theft- To steal
Replica- An exact copy or model of something
Inscribe- to write or carve

Written by Kanwal Raza

<![CDATA[Dinosaurs]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2012 07:20:22 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/december1/dinosaursPicture
Million years ago, even long before there were any people, there were dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were one of several kinds of prehistoric reptiles that have lived on Earth. The dinosaurs dominated the Earth for over 165 million years, but mysteriously went extinct 65 million years ago.

Features of Dinosaurs
There were lots of different kinds of dinosaurs that lived at different times. Some were huge, some were small. Some walked on two legs, some walked on four. Some were speedy, and some were slow and lumbering. Some were carnivores and some were herbivores. Some were some had thick, bumpy skin, some had horns, and some even had feathers.

No one knows what colors or patterns they were, how they sounded, how they behaved, or even how to tell whether a fossil came from a male or a female dinosaur.

Although dinosaurs' fossils have been known since 1818, the term dinosaur (deinos = terrifying; sauros = lizard) was chosen by the English man named Sir Richard Owen in 1842. The only three dinosaurs known at that time were Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus. They all were very large dinosaurs.

Dinosaur food
Some dinosaurs ate lizards, turtles, eggs, or early mammals. Some hunted other dinosaurs or scavenged dead animals. Most, however, ate plants (but not grass, which hadn't evolved yet). Many of these plants had edible leaves, including evergreen conifers (pine trees, redwoods, and their relatives), ferns, mosses, horsetail rushes, cycads, ginkos, and in the latter part of the dinosaur age flowering (fruiting) plants. Although the exact time of origin for flowering plants is still uncertain, the last of the dinosaurs certainly had fruit available to eat.

Oldest, Largest and smallest Dinosaurs
The first dinosaurs were small and lightly built, mostly about 10-15 feet long (3 to 4.5 m). They were carnivores or omnivores, and probably very agile and fast.

The world’s oldest-known dinosaurs have been found on Madagascar, an island off the coast of south East Africa. These fossils date from about 230 million years ago.

The largest complete dinosaur we know of was Brachiosaurus ("arm lizard"); it reached 23 m in length and 12 m in height (about the length of two large school buses and the height of a four-story building). Fragmented leg bones and vertebrae of even larger dinosaur species are known, but these remains are too incomplete to determine their exact size. Several of these (Argentinasaurus and Amphicoelias) might have been one and a half to two times larger than Brachiosaurus. The smallest dinosaurs, Compsognathus ("pretty jaw"), were just slightly larger than a chicken. They were 1 m (3 ft) long and probably weighed about 2.5 kg (about 6.5 lb). If birds are advanced dinosaurs, then the smallest dinosaur would be the hummingbird!

Eoraptor  is one of the earliest known dinosaurs. It was a very small carnivore (meat-eater) that lived about 228 million years ago. Recently, even older dinosaurs have been found in Madagascar.

Dinosaurs suddenly became extinct about 65 million years ago, which was a time of high volcanic and tectonic activity. There are a lot of theories why the extinction occurred. The most widely accepted theory is that an asteroid impact caused major climactic changes which the dinosaurs couldn't adapt to.

Gem Words
Omnivores – An animal that feeds on food of both plant and animal origin
Carnivores – An animal that feeds on other animals.
Agile - Able to move quickly and easily
Fragmented – Disconnected or in complete
Vertebrae - Series of small bones forming the backbone

Written by Kanwal Raza

<![CDATA[Tsunami]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2012 07:09:10 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/december1/tsunamiPicture
We have seen images of buildings collapsing and fires raging as a result of earthquakes. People living in places like California may have even felt the earth shaking. One might wish earthquakes would happen far away, in the ocean, where they may not be able to do any harm. Unfortunately, even water does not always provide a safe zone for earthquakes.

The problem: earthquakes that happen in the ocean can cause tsunamis. The word “tsunami” comes from Japanese, to mean “harbor wave.” The term reflects the experience of fishermen who went out to the ocean in their boats, experienced nothing unusual while fishing out there, but when they came back to the harbor, found that huge waves had caused tremendous destruction.
The massive waves, tsunamis, are nearly imperceptible out in sea, where they may cause a one-foot swell. As they get closer to shore, however, the waves push against the rising sea floor and get taller – much taller.  Tsunami waves have been known to be as much as ten stories tall.

Another devastating feature of tsunamis is their wave length. If you look at a wave as it wiggles up and down, the length of the wave is from one peak to the next peak. Whereas a normal wave in the ocean may be 100 feet long, a tsunami’s length can extend to hundreds of kilometers. Although this length shrinks as it approaches the shore, it is still a very long wave. That means once the water starts coming on shore, it doesn’t stop for several minutes.

Scientists still don’t fully understand why some small earthquakes can cause tsunamis while other bigger ones do not. What they do know is that at places where tectonic plates meet under the sea, as one plate dives under the other, the plate on top holds its position for a while. This top layer may buckle and fold onto itself, but tries not to let go easily from its original placement. But eventually, it slips. That slip creates a big jolt, sending a wave that can travel for thousands of miles, at the speed that airplanes fly: about 500 miles per hour.

Majority of tsunamis happen in the Pacific Ocean, because that is where majority of the underwater earthquakes happen. The most recent large tsunami took place in June 2011 in Japan. Water rushed in up to 6 miles inland in places, wiping out entire villages in its path. In 200, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean hit Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, claiming more than 230,000 lives and billions of dollars in damage.

Tsunami detection systems that can detect oncoming tsunamis and give people warnings are already in place in the Pacific Ocean. They are also now being installed in the Indian Ocean and the surrounding countries.

Gem Words:
Tectonic plates – the Earth’s crust is made up several large puzzle-like pieces that fit together. These plates constantly push up against one another, dive down one under another, causing slow but steady movement of the continents. Their collision also causes earthquakes, and in turn, tsunamis.

Written by Vibha Akkaraju
<![CDATA[Commercial flights to space]]>Sun, 16 Dec 2012 00:33:48 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/december1/commercial-flights-to-space
In February of 2010, President Obama proposed the use of commercial flights from the private sector industries to support research at the International Space Station(ISS). NASA’s space shuttle program was retired earlier this year and government funding for a replacement has been suspended. Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contracts were signed between commercial firms and NASA to deliver American cargo to the International Space Station. The contracts include a minimum of 12 missions for Space X and 8 missions for Orbital Sciences.

The selection of the firms re-supplying the space station was publicly discussed by NASA on December 22, 2008. There was quite a bit of competition to win the CRS contracts. NASA announced both, Space X and Orbital Sciences corporation as the winners.
Space X
SpaceX, is an American space transport company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. It has it’s headquarter in Hawthorne, California. Space X has developed two launch vehicles: Falcon 1 and Falcon 9. They are both designed to eventually become reusable. SpaceX has also developed the Dragon spacecraft that is flown into orbit by the Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The plan is to initially transport cargo and later carry humans. On 25 May 2012, SpaceX made history as the world's first private company to send a cargo payload, carried on the Dragon spacecraft, to the International Space Station (ISS).

Missions by Space X
The first CRS mission, Space X, was scheduled for October 8, 2012 from Cape Canaveral Space station in Florida. It made contact with the space station 252 miles (406 kilometers) above Earth later that day.  That was the first of 12 planned resupply missions. The capsule was packed with nearly a thousand pounds (450 kilograms) of essential supplies and gear, as well some nonessential chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream and, for a school science experiment, some silly-putty.

It re-entered the earth's atmosphere and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean for a successful return on October 28, 2012.

Orbital Sciences
Orbital Sciences since inception has built 569 launch vehicles with 82 more to be delivered by 2015. 174 satellites have been built by the company since 1982 with 24 more to be delivered by 2015. The company is expanding into the medium size launch vehicles and satellites market with the development of the Antares rockets.

Missions by Orbital Sciences
Orbital Sciences rolled out their rocket to the launch pad at the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport in October 2012 in preparation for a  hot-fire test of the rocket at the beginning of November 2012. The rocket was launched about a month after a successful hot-fire test. The demo mission of Orbital Sciences to the ISS is scheduled for 2013.

Gem Words
Commercial - suitable or fit for a wide, market with the purpose of making profits
Private Sector - The part of the national economy that is not under direct government control.
Spacecraft – a vehicle used for traveling in space.
Payload - passengers and cargo.
Launch vehicle- A rocket-powered vehicle used to send artificial satellites or spacecraft into space.
Inception - the beginning.
Satellite – An artificial body placed in orbit around the earth or another planet in order to collect information or for communication.

Written by Kanwal Raza