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Kids & Teens
Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

January 2021

Each themed issue of ASK invites newly independent readers to explore the world of science and ideas with topics that really appeal to kids: What makes wind? Where do colors come from? Were pirates real? Filled with lively, well-written articles, vivid graphics, activities, cartoons, and plenty of humor, ASK is science kids demand to read! Grades 3-5

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United States
Cricket Media, Inc.
9 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
nosy news

BUBBLE GARDENING Bees do an important job. As they fly from flower to flower, they gather and spread pollen. This helps plants make fruit and seeds. But what if there aren’t enough bees? Researchers have found a new tool that could help: soap bubbles. The scientists collected pollen from plants and mixed it into bubble liquid. They loaded the liquid into a toy bubble-blowing gun and blew bubbles at pear trees in an orchard. When a bubble hit a flower, it burst, releasing the pollen to pollinate the tree. The scientists also tried attaching the bubble gun to a drone, a small flying robot. This could fly over many trees, spreading bubbles. Bubbles are not as efficient as bees—for one thing, bees collect the pollen themselves. Bees also seek out flowers to land…

6 min.
why do we sleep?

Sleep has puzzled people for a long time.Why do we lie down and zone out for hours every night? Isn’t sleep just a giant waste of time? Could we learn to do without it? Now scientists are beginning to answer some of those questions. They’ve discovered that brains and bodies don’t just shut down at night. Quite the contrary! At night, your body repairs itself and grows strong. Your brain is busy making memories and learning. Sleep is so useful that all animals do it. And without it, waking life would be impossible. All Through the Night What happens when you go to sleep each night? The sun goes down. You take a bath and read a book. Your eyelids start to droop. Time for bed! After lying down, most people take about…

1 min.

Some sleepers talk and even walk around when fast asleep. What’s going on? Sleepwalking and sleep talking can happen when the brain gets stuck halfway between sleep and waking. A sleepwalker’s body may think it’s still awake, while the brain is completely asleep. Sleepwalkers usually wander around for a few minutes or do ordinary things like get dressed, then return to bed without waking up. It’s best not to wake a sleepwalker—just help them find their way back to bed. Sleepwalking and sleep talking are common (and normal) in children, whose brains and bodies are still learning to work together.…

1 min.
will soda keep me up all night?

You might have heard grown-ups say that you shouldn’t drink some kinds of soda or tea at night because they have caffeine. What is that, and what does it have to do with anything? Caffeine is a natural chemical found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and some kinds of soda. It has an interesting effect on humans: it keeps us awake. Why? It turns out that caffeine sticks into the brain’s sensors that detect sleep signals. If the signals find their doors blocked by bits of caffeine, you don’t feel sleepy. But you still need sleep! You will feel more and more tired, even if you can’t fall asleep. And without sleep, your brain will stop working. So staying away from caffeine in the evening is a good idea. That will…

1 min.
dream discoveries

Many creative people have discovered the power of dreams, which Aristotle called "thinking while asleep." Dreams can spark creative connections that the waking brain overlooks. Often these are just weird. But once in a while, they are brilliant. In 1845, Elias Howe invented a sewing machine. But he couldn’t figure out how to thread the needle. One night he dreamed that he was taken prisoner by soldiers carrying spears with holes at the tips. The solution came to him: for the needle to work, he had to put the hole at the sharp end. In 1865, chemist August Kekule could not figure out how benzene molecules held together—until he dreamed of a snake biting its own tail. When he awoke, he realized that benzene must be ring-shaped. And it is. Songwriter Paul…

2 min.
the best bed

Ancient Egyptians slept under linen sheets on carved wood bed frames. The pillow was made of wood, too. It was more like a padded stand that held the back of the head. These wood pillows kept the head away from crawling insects, and didn’t mess up fancy hairdos. In Europe during the Middle Ages, a real bed was an expensive luxury. Most people slept on bags of straw. The straw was often infested with biting bugs and other critters looking for a warm place to hide. In northern China, it was traditional for families to sleep together on raised platforms called kangs. The whole bed was warmed from below by a small heater. In the day, the sleeping mats were rolled up and the kang could be used as a…