<![CDATA[KidSenz - News for kids - February]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 13:52:01 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Chinese New Year - Year of the Snake]]>Tue, 26 Feb 2013 00:46:15 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/february1/chinese-new-year-year-of-the-snake
February 10, 2013 marks the first day of the first month of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year. 

The Lunar New Year is a major holiday in not only China but other Asian countries, including Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Japan stopped celebrating the Lunar New Year in 1873, when they changed to the Gregorian calendar. The  Gregorian calendar, is the solar calendar and is the same as that used in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

Lunar New Year celebrations in China traditionally run for fifteen days and end on the day of the Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day of the first month. In Chinatowns all over the world, people of all nationalities celebrate with parades, dragon dances, firecrackers, and festivals.

In China, customs include cleaning the house to sweep away bad luck; gathering for a family dinner to honor ancestors; putting up red decorations symbolizing health, prosperity, and happiness; lighting firecrackers to drive away evil spirits, and giving money to children in red paper envelopes.

This Lunar New Year is the “Year of the Snake.” The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animal signs. Kids born during lunar year 2013 are snakes. Snakes are intelligent and passionate; they may also be feared and deceitful.

Gem Words 
Lunar calendar - a calendar based on lunar cycles.
Gregorian calendar - The calendar introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII, as a modification of the Julian calendar.
nationalities - The status of belonging to a particular nation.
ancestors -  one from whom a person is descended and who is usually more remote in the line of descent than a grandparent.
symbolize - to be a symbol 
prosperity - The state of being prosperous.
deceitful - Intended to deceive or mislead.

Written by Susy Kim 
<![CDATA[Solomon Islands Earthquake & Tsunami ]]>Mon, 25 Feb 2013 08:08:21 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/february1/solomon-islandsearthquake-tsunamiPicture
Geologic History
The Solomon Islands consist of a double chain of volcanic islands, which are a part of a volcanic arc that extends from New Ireland to Vanuatu. A volcanic arc generally forms from the subduction* of an oceanic plate under a tectonic plate, and often parallel to an oceanic trench*. The oceanic plate is saturated with water and volatiles, which lowers the melting point of the mantle. Then, as the oceanic plate sinks under and is pressed, the pressure squeezes water out of the plate (much like a sponge). The squeezed water gets into the mantle. When this water is added, the mantle begins to melt and forms magma* underneath the overriding tectonic plate. This forms the chain of volcanoes in an arc shape, called a volcanic arc.

There are two types of volcanic arcs: 1. Oceanicarcs
• Form when oceanic crust subducts beneath other oceanic crust on an adjacent plate, creating an island arc. (Keep in mind that not all island arcs are volcanic island arcs.)

2. Continentalarcs
• Form when oceanic crust subducts beneath continental crust on an adjacent plate, creating an arc-shaped mountain belt. (Keep in mind that not all mountain belts are formed this way.)

The Islands also contain hot springs, and a number of volcanoes. For example, there is a submarine volcano* near New Georgia, and has erupted regularly every few years; and Simbo Island has a solfatara*. With all of this tectonic and volcanic activity, it is no surprise that earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis are extremely likely on the Solomon Islands.

Earthquake on February 6th 2013
On February 6th. 2013, a powerful 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands and generated a tsunami of up to 5 feet.  Dozens of aftershocks stronger than magnitude 5.0 followed the earthquake.
Several villages on Santa Cruz were impacted by the waves, with two facing severe damage. The Tsunami killed at least 5 people and damaged many homes. Other areas of the Solomons did not appear to have been seriously affected but officials struggled to reach the remote areas after the tsunami flooded the nearest airport. 

Solomon Islands has had 23 earthquakes in the past year. 

Gem Words
Subduction: When one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate (oceanic or continental) and sinks into the mantle as the plates converge.
Oceanic trench: Deepest parts of the ocean floor, and are hemispheric-scale long, narrow topographic depressions.
Magma: Mixture of molten or semi-molten rock, volatiles, and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth.
Submarine volcano: Underwater fissures (natural division) in the Earth’s surface from which magma can erupt.
Solfatara: a volcanic area or vent that yields only hot vapors and sulferous gases 

Written by Sally Sautner

<![CDATA[Meteors and Asteroids]]>Mon, 25 Feb 2013 07:51:18 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/february1/meteors-and-asteroidsPicture
Meteors, also known  as shooting stars, are usually as large as a grain of sand to about a softball. As the meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere it becomes very hot due to friction like when you rub your hands together for a few moments. They become bright and seem to streak across the sky. Meteor showers can produce different colors of light. Meteors can travel as slow as 25,000 mph and reach speeds up to 160,000 miles per hour. When a large particle of a meteor actually hits the Earth, it is called a meteoroid.

A Meteorite, starts out as little chunks of rock and debris in space called meteoroids. They become meteors when they fall through a planet’s atmosphere; leaving a bright trail caused by the friction of the atmosphere. Pieces that survive the journey and hit the ground are called meteorites. Occasionally, an object large enough to be considered an asteroid will enter an atmosphere.

An Asteroid is sometimes called a minor planet or planetoid. They are small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. There are thousands of them grouped in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They are smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids, meaning that an asteroid can range from a few meters wide to hundreds of km wide. In general, they are rocky bodies that do not have an atmosphere.

So what is the difference between asteroids and meteorites?
Mainly, it is their location. An asteroid is always going to be in space. Once it enters an atmosphere it becomes a meteor, then a meteorite if it hits the ground. A meteorite is always going to be on the ground. Each is made of the same basic materials: metal and rock. Each originated in space. The main difference is where they are when they are being observed.

Recently in the morning of February 15th, in Central Russia, a 10-ton meteor, moving at a speed of 33,000 miles per hour, exploded on Earth. The blast injured nearly 1,500 people and damaged buildings and other property. It was the largest recorded space rock to hit Earth in more than a century.Then on the same day, an asteroid DA14 flew by 17,000 miles away from earth. It looked like a shooting gallery in the sky.

Gem Words
Friction: The action of one surface or object rubbing against another.
Debris: Loose natural material consisting esp. of broken pieces of rock.
Planetoid: minor planet: any of numerous small celestial bodies that move around the sun.
Exploded: Burst or shatter violently and noisily as a result of excessive internal pressure.

Written by Ekta Kapur

<![CDATA[Curiosity Rover First Drill on Mars ]]>Fri, 22 Feb 2013 08:11:12 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/february1/curiosity-rover-first-drill-on-marsPicture
For the first time, NASA’s Curiosity rover has used the drill carried at the end of its robotic arm. It was used to bore* into a flat, veiny rock on Mars and collected the sample, which is the first time that a robot has ever drilled into a sample on Mars. 

The rock was a patch of fine-grained sedimentary* bedrock, which was believed to hold evidence about long-gone wet environments on the planet. Now that the rock sample has been collected, Curiosity will then use the laboratory instruments it contains to analyze the rock powder that was collected by the drill. This process of analyzing the sample will take place over several days, and will all take place with the use of Curiosity’s robot arms. These arms deliver portions of the powder to the sample- handling mechanisms of the rover’s “Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis,” also known as “CHIMRA” device.

Before the powder can be analyzed, some will be used to clean Curiosity, just in-case some materials remained on the rover while it was still located on Earth, despite a thorough cleaning before the launch. The powder will be swished around the rover to scrub the internal surfaces of the drill bits assembly. Then the arm is used to transfer the powder out of the drill into the scoop, where it will be NASA’s first chance to see the sample.

When the sample is added to the CHIMRA device, the powder will be vibrated once or twice over a sieve* that will remove larger particles. Then, small portions of the sample will fall into two different instruments. One is the Chemistry and Minerology (CheMin) instrument, which will identify the composition of the rock it was taken from. The other is the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which will search for compounds of the element carbon, including methane, that are associated with life and explore ways in which they are generated and destroyed in the martian ecosphere*.

The Curiosity rover practiced making this drill hole by boring more than 20 types of rock on Earth, and made more than 8 types of drills until NASA scientists felt they were ready.

Gem Words
Bore: Drilling a hole.
Sedimentary: Types of rocks that are formed by the deposition of material on land or in water.
Sieve: Separates wanted elements from unwanted materials using a woven material, such as mesh or net.
Ecosphere: A planetary ecosystem consisting of the atmosphere (if there is one present), geosphere (lithosphere, or crust and mantle present), the hydrosphere (water found), and the biosphere (life found). 

<![CDATA[Pope Benedict XVI and the Papacy]]>Fri, 22 Feb 2013 08:01:25 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/february1/pope-benedict-xvi-and-the-papacyPicture
A Pope is considered the leader of the Christian Catholic church. He is believed to be a ‘chief of all the shepherds on earth’. The Pope teaches and defends peoples’ faith and lives and works in the Vatican, in Italy. On most Sundays he gives a special message and blessing to pilgrims* who gather at St Peter’s Square, and to people throughout the whole world.

Ever since the time of Jesus, there has always been a Pope. It was Jesus who chose the first Pope, St Peter. When a Pope dies, all the Cardinals* come together in the Chapel at the Vatican to choose the next Pope. They pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance on who to choose. When a new Pope has been chosen, it is announced from the balcony of the Vatican so the whole world can see the new Pontiff!

The Pope makes visits to many different countries, during which huge numbers of people gather to try to catch a glimpse of this special person.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI is a quiet, humble and an intelligent man.  He is the 265th Pope since the time of Jesus (St Peter was the first). Pope Benedict was born in Bavaria, Germany on April 16th 1927 (he’s 83 years old now).

He was named Joseph Ratzinger. He lived through the very dark and difficult times of Nazi Germany and the Second World War. He served in the military in the 1940’s. Pope Benedict was ordained a priest in 1951.  He earned his doctorate at the University of Munich in 1953. Very soon after that he earned his teaching license and became a professor of Freising College in 1958.

During the 1960’s he became more involved in the Vatican council. He was viewed as a reformer during this time. In March 1977, he was named archbishop of Munich and Freising and, three months later, was named a Cardinal* by Pope Paul VI.

In late 1990’s and early 2000’s, he became Vice Dean of the College of Cardinals and was soon elected as the Dean. Pope Benedict defended and reaffirmed Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control, homosexuality and inter-religious dialogue.

Pope Benedict was elevated* to the papacy* on April 19, 2005, upon the death of Pope John Paul II, and celebrated his Papal Inauguration* Mass five days later. Known for his rigid views on Catholicism, he has sought a more inclusive image as pope.

Pope Benedict XVI stepping down
Pope Benedict has served as a pope for eight years.  On February 11th 2013, at age 85, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be resigning* on February 28, 2013—becoming the first pope in centuries to step down from his post.

According to several media reports, Benedict's decision centered on his old age, and physical and mental weakness. In one statement, the pope explained, "I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate* exercise." He also added, "In today's world, subject to so many rapid* changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern* the bark* of St. Peter and proclaim* the gospel*, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me ... For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom, I declare that I renounce* the ministry of bishop* of Rome, successor* of St. Peter."

Gem words:
Pilgrims - A person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons.
Cardinal - A leading dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church
Papacy - The office or authority of the pope
Elevated - Raise or lift (something) up to a higher position.
Inauguration - The act of starting a new operation or practice.
Resign - Voluntarily leave a job or other position.
Adequate - Satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity
Rapid - Happening in a short time or at a great rate
govern - Conduct the policy, actions, and affairs of (a state, organization, or people)
Proclaim – announce officially or publicly
Gospel - The teaching or revelation of Christ
Renounce - Refuse to recognize or abide by any longer.
Bishop - A senior member of the Christian clergy
Successor - A person or thing that succeeds another – inheritor

Written by Kanwal Raza