<![CDATA[KidSenz - News for kids - March ]]>Sat, 05 Dec 2015 13:48:51 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[St. Patrick's day is more than just wearing green .]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2013 06:27:17 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/march1/st-patricks-day-is-more-than-just-wearing-greenPicture
On March 17, millions of people across the United States celebrate the Irish tradition* known as St. Patrick's Day. This holiday has been observed for hundreds of years.

Who was St. Patrick?
The holiday is named after an Irish saint, St. Patrick,  who was not born in Ireland. At a young age, St. Patrick was kidnapped by pirates and forced into Ireland. He escaped his job as a slave and lived on the rich, green shores of Ireland. He later left Ireland, became very involved with Christianity and returned to spread the faith in Ireland. It is rumored that he died on March 17th, and therefore this day was chosen as the official St. Patrick's Day.

Wondering why the green color?
A common St. Patrick's Day tradition is to wear the color green. There are multiple reasons for this and they have to do with country of Ireland itself. Ireland's flags has a prominent* green stripe. The Irish shamrock, a three - leaf clover, is also green which was used by St. Patrick to illustrate the doctrine* of Christianity to the Irish people.

Significance of the Four-Leaf Clovers
St. Patrick's Day is known as a day of luck and, for centuries*. People collect rare four-leaf clovers for luck. Four-leaf clovers are quite hard to find, and because of this, finding one is supposed to bring luck. These clover represent hope, happiness, love and faith.

Remember: The four- leaf clover is different from the regular Shamrock (which is a three- leaf clover) as it has an additional lucky leaf.

The magical mini-people - Leprechaun
Another celebrated figure besides St. Patrick is the leprechaun. Leprechauns are magical mini-people that have been in Irish fairy tales for years. Some of these stories tell the tale of the leprechaun who is a shoemaker that protects gold.  Legend has it that if some discovers the leprechaun’s gold, they get to keep it. Even now, children really enjoy searching for hidden pots of gold and pretend leprechaun on St. Patrick’s day.

Gem Words
Tradition- a long-established custom or belief that has been passed on
Prominent - important, famous
Doctrine- belief
Centuries - a period of one hundred years

Written by: Kanwal Raza

<![CDATA[Why the lights were out on March 23rd 2013 .]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2013 06:13:29 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/march1/why-the-lights-were-out-on-march-23rd-2013Picture
There is no doubt  that the world is facing some of the most critical environmental challenges in its history. That may make the journey to a sustainable* future seem difficult to imagine. We all need to work together to make a difference collectively.  Earth hour is one of the many efforts observed each year to create awareness among people to conserve energy and make the Earth a better place to live.

What is Earth Hour?
Earth hour is a scheduled time of one hour observed across the world in March each year. This year Earth hour was observed on March 23, 2013, from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM at the participating city’s local time.  During this hour, people are encouraged to turn off all non-essential* lights in their household or business to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. The event is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, and is started in Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia.

Where did Earth Hour take place?
152 countries around the world took part in the Earth Hour event.  Iconic* buildings and landmarks* turned dark when their time zone entered the 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM hour.  These included Big Ben (London), Westminster Abbey (United Kingdom), Durham Cathedral (England), Times Square (New York, USA), Wrigley Field (Chicago, USA), and the Sydney Opera House (Australia).

Impact of Earth Hour around the world
The Earth Hour tradition has now grown above and beyond just turning out the lights.  Organizations and individuals are using the occasion of Earth hour to challenge people to become more environmentally friendly.

In Uganda, the world’s first Earth Hour Forest was allocated with 2,700 hectares* (~10 square miles) of land, challenging Ugandans to fill it with 500,000 trees. This is to fight against the 6000 hectares (~23 square miles) of deforestation that occurs in the country every month. The Standard Chartered Bank contributed 250,000 trees and the Ugandan Minister of Water Environment contributed 1,000 trees. Several people have taken-on the challenge.

Also, individuals, corporations, organizations, and governments have joined in on the “I Will if You Will” campaign.  A novel example is the challenge from Five-year-old Panagiotis Kalkavouras’s. It is: “I will stop eating chocolates for a week IF 50 people green their balconies.”   Participants can go to the online forum and submit their challenges, or accept other challenges.  So far, Panagiotis has 97 people accept his challenge, meaning he must be craving chocolate by now!

An organization named One million trees in one day also challenged that if 1,000 people  turned out their lights for Earth Hour they would plant one million NATIVE trees in Ireland in a single day.

What would you do to make our Earth greener?

Gem Words
Sustainable: Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.
Iconic : pertaining to, or characteristic of an icon.
Hectares: A metric unit of square measure, equal to 100 ares.
Non- essential: not important
Landmark: a prominent or conspicuous object on land that serves as a guide.

Written by: Sally Sautner 

<![CDATA[Frogs back from extinction?]]>Mon, 01 Apr 2013 05:58:22 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/march1/will-scientists-bring-back-a-frog-after-30-years-of-extinctionPicture
Scientists at the University of Newcastle in Australia have revived DNA of the extinct mouth-brooding frog through cloning techniques. If the frog species comes back to life, it will be a huge accomplishment, since it is the first time we will bring something back from extinction.

The Mouth-brooding frog
The species of frog being brought back to life is a gastric*-brooding* frog. This species of frog became extinct in 1983. The name “Gastric brooding” comes from the female frog that swallows the fertilized egg, to brood* it in the stomach, and give birth through the mouth. These frogs are also known as “Platypus frogs” and are native to Australia.  

How did the scientists reactivate the cells of the frog?
The research, known as the “Lazarus Project” is primarily happening at the University of Newcastle in Australia.  A team of scientists at the University used frozen tissues* collected in 1970 and recovered cell nuclei*. The cell nuclei acts like the brain of the cell. It helps control eating, movement, and reproduction. The scientists place these cell nuclei into the live eggs of a related frog species. This causes the extinct frog’s cells to be reactivated in the newly developing cells and can revive the frog’s genome* in the process. And the process makes it possible for scientist to clone* and revive the extinct species.

Why is this so important to the scientists?
The embryos* only survived a few days, but researchers were able to confirm that the cells contained the gastro-brooding frog’s genetic material.  This opens doors in the biological conservation world, as hundreds of world’s species of amphibians are declining and are in the danger of becoming extinct.

Scientists have also met in London to discuss the possibility of bringing back 24 other species of animal, including the dodo bird, the Passenger Pigeon, the Woolly Mammoth, and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.  These were chosen based on a number of criteria.  Are the species desirable?  Would they be able to contribute to existing environments?  Are they loved by humans?  After this was determined, scientists have been tasked with deciding whether or not DNA can be extracted from the extinct animal.

It is not possible to bring back species like the Dinosaurs because their live DNA is not available. Questions continue to arise in this process and there are numerous viewpoints to consider.  Would it be possible for the species to be reintroduced into the world?  Depending on the reasons for them becoming extinct, would they be able to survive?  Is it ethical to bring back a species back from extinction?

Gem Words
Gastric: relating to the stomach
Brooding: the young being hatched or cared for all at one time
Brood: a family of young animals, esp. of a bird, produced at one hatching or birth.
Amphibian: cold-blooded and can live on both land and water
Cell nuclei: part of the cell that contains most of the genetic material
Genome: the genetic material of an organism
Embryos: any state of development before the animal is born or hatched
Tissues: a distinct type of material of which animals or plants are made
Reactivate: activate or anew
Clone: to which they are genetically identical

Written by: Sally Sautner

<![CDATA[Global Warming]]>Sun, 31 Mar 2013 21:03:17 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/march1/global-warming
The start of 2013 brought on new concerns for scientists and researchers on the topic of global warming. Rising seas, heat waves, erratic and intense rainfall, storm surges, and droughts are among the side effects of the accelerating climate changes now under way. A 60-person team that was built to advise President Obama and Congress on climate-change issues presented the latest findings.

Global warming is occurring at record high levels.  Scientists report that this is due to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases generated by human activities.

They track this by monitoring the Earth’s global average temperature. Climatologists, who are scientists that study the weather conditions over a period of time, have been tracking trends in Earth’s temperature for decades. They found that temperatures have been increasing consistently each year since the late 1970s.

Related to this development, researchers have found out that airborne black carbon particles hold twice the warming potential as previously thought. Black carbon particles occur through soot. It has many different sources, including coal burning, broilers, house fires, forest fires, and furnaces. These emissions influence the climate strongly as they absorb and store heat from the sun. For example, if they are deposited on snow or ice during the winter months, they reduce the reflectivity of the surfaces causing melting. This is because black particles absorb heat, and light-colored particles reflect heat. So, it’s better to wear white when you want to be cool during the summer, compared to black.

After discovering the large role that airborne black carbon particles play in global warming, they believe that the best short-term, immediate action that we can take to slow the process is to better control their output.

Governments and industries around the world need to start taking action quickly to slow this down.

What can we do?

We can start by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels by using more fuel-efficient cars, driving less and carpooling and burn less wood and coal in our homes. And, we need to plant more trees which will help reduce the carbon dioxide in the long term.

Gem Words
Climatologists - scientists that study the weather conditions over a period of time
erratic - not in a predictable way

Written by: Sally Sautner

<![CDATA[Pope Francis and the Papacy]]>Sun, 31 Mar 2013 18:28:59 GMThttp://www.kidsenz.com/march1/selection-of-the-new-pope
Pope Francis was elected as the new Pope on March 13th 2013.  He is being hailed with pride and wonder as the "first Latino pope," a native Spanish speaker born and raised in the South American nation of Argentina.

Who exactly is the Pope and how does he get elected?
  • The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church worldwide.  The word “Pope” comes from Latin “Papa” and Greek “Papas” for Daddy. His position is designed to last for the rest of his life on earth.  This tradition began with St. Peter, when Jesus said to him “You are the Rock on which I build my Church.” The Pope’s job is to guide the Church in matters of faith and morality in an ever changing world.
  • The Pope lives in Vatican City.
  • The Pope is chosen from among the Cardinals.

Who are the Cardinals?
They are a special group of  advisers of the Catholic Church made up of bishops and priests from around the world. They are nominated by Popes to this special position. One of their main responsibilities is to elect a new Pope when the previous Pope dies or steps down.

The importance of Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican City - is only spread over 0.2 square miles.  It is the world's smallest country.The Vatican has a population of 770 people! This tiny country is the spiritual center for the world's Roman Catholics. Also known as the “Holy See”, Vatican City is surrounded by Rome, Italy.

St. Peter’s Basilica the most famous and holiest Roman Catholic church, is at the heart of Vatican city. It is surrounded by St. Peters square, which is in the shape of a key, signifying the “keys” given to St. Peter to the Kingdom of heaven. The square can hold 300,000 people.

Pope Francis is the new Pope!
The Cardinals announced the selection of a new Pope from St. Peter’s square on March 13, 2013. The most eminent and most reverend Lord, Lord Jorge Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church Bergoglio is the new Pope. He takes for himself the name of Pope Francis. The newly elected Pope is the 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope chose a papal name “Francis” in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi. 

Pope Francis celebrated his first Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square on March 24th. He encouraged people to be humble and young at heart and promised to go to a youth rally in Brazil in July! His followers enthusiastically waved olive branches and braided palm leaves.The Vatican square in Rome overflowed with a crowd of about 250,000 people! Pilgrims, tourists and Romans were eager to get a glimpse of Pope Francis as he began the Holy Week ceremonies that lead up to Easter, Christianity's most important day. 

Pope Francis is a very simple man and prefers to live in his simple two bedroom apartment, instead of the luxurious papal apartment. In his first public act as pontiff, Pope Francis broke with tradition by asking the estimated 150,000 people packed into St. Peter's Square to pray for him, rather than him blessing the crowd first. The pontiff  broke with another tradition by refusing to use a platform to elevate himself above the cardinals standing with him as he was introduced to the world as Pope Francis. He met everyone at their own level.

Gem Words
elevate - raise or lift (something) up to a higher position.
glimpse - see briefly
luxurious - extremely comfortable
bishop - a senior member of the Christian clergy
nominate - propose or formally enter as a candidate for election or for an honor or award.
spiritual - affecting the human spirit

Written by: Kanwal Raza