Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children April 2018

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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Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Números

en este número

2 min.
nosy news

APES GET A FRIZZY NEW FAMILY MEMBER Scientists have discovered a new species of orangutan, hiding in plain sight. This animal joins the “great apes,” a family that also includes chimps and gorillas. Two other orangutan species swing through the trees in Sumatra and Borneo, islands in Southeast Asia. The new species also lives in Sumatra. But it lives apart from the other orangutans there. When researchers studied this separate group of orangutans, they found some differences. The new or angutans have smaller heads and frizzier hair. Scientists also found differences in their DNA. They decided the frizzy apes are different enough to be their own species, called Pongo tapanuliensis. There are only about 800 of the new orangutans. That makes Pongo tapanuliensis one of the world’s most endangered great apes. Sheep Spot…

5 min.
plants that poison

Like you and your pet dog, plants are living things. They eat, drink, and grow. Unlike you and your dog, plants can’t run away, yowl, bite, or hide under the covers when they’re threatened. But they can fight back. Why would a plant need to fight back? To avoid being eaten, of course! Plants have many ways to defend themselves. Some like to grow in hidden or hard-to-reach places, like steep, rocky cliffs. Or a plant could make some parts of itself so tasty that hungry insects and animals don’t eat anything else. If a plant has tasty leaves, nibbling animals might ignore the seeds. The plant needs its seeds to make more plants, so it would rather lose a few leaves. And some plants grow slippery or sharp outsides, like…

3 min.
pepper tree potions

“What a pretty tree!” That’s what people thought when they imported the Brazilian peppertree from South America. They liked its shiny green leaves and bright red berries. The peppertree, also called “Christmas berry” and “Florida holly,” was first brought to Florida more than 100 years ago. Gardeners thought it would look nice in their yards and hedges. Outlaw Tree But the peppertrees spread like weeds. They escaped gardens and grew wild. Today, peppertrees cover more than 700,000 acres in Florida. That’s an area larger than the state of Rhode Island! Peppertrees have crowded out native mangrove and pine trees. They grow quickly and shade out other plants. And peppertrees have an even sneakier trick. When their pretty red berries fall and get crushed, they release a poison that stops other plants from sprouting nearby.…

1 min.

AMANITA A.K.A. “DESTROYING ANGEL,” “DEATH CAP” Notorious poisoner! Extremely dangerous! Do not approach! Amanita’s powerful toxin will shut down your liver and cause a painful, lingering death. No known antidote! A favorite of assassins, this fungus is suspected in the deaths of emperors, kings, popes, inconvenient heirs, and many careless wild mushroom eaters every year. Last seen: all over Europe and North America. PHYTOPHTHORA INFESTANS A.K.A. “POTATO BLIGHT” Wanted for causing famine! Public Enemy No. 1 in Ireland and other potato-eating countries since 1845. Responsible for the great Irish potato famine, when horrified farmers watched potatoes turn to black, slimy mush in the ground. Forced a million Irish to leave the country, and a million more starved. Still on the loose. ERGOT A.K.A. “ST. ANTHONY’S FIRE” Wanted for making people believe in witches! Hides out in rye and…

2 min.
the poison garden

Welcome to the Poison Garden of Alnwick castle in England. Inside, 100 different kinds of poisonous flowers, trees, and shrubs grow in neat beds. Every one can sicken people and even kill. Some are famous poisons. Here’s deadly nightshade. Over there is monk’s hood. And look, yew! Some visitors are surprised to see familiar plants from their own gardens. There’s laurel, daffodils, and lily of the valley. But yes, they too are poisonous (if you eat them). The poison garden was planted in 2005 by Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland, who lives in Alnwick castle. She got the idea from an old medical garden in Italy. Hundreds of years ago, castles and towns often had special gardens that grew plants for medicines—and poisons. Percy thinks poisons are a great way to get people…

7 min.
on the trail of the snail

More than 700 species of cone snails live in tropical oceans around the world, from the Caribbean to the South Pacific. They hide under rocks or dig under the sand around coral reefs. At night, they come out to hunt. Each kind of cone snail hunts a different kind of prey. Some hunt sea worms. Some eat other snails. Some prey on fish. And they make some of the most potent poisons around. Secret Weapons How can a slow, nearly blind snail catch a speedy fish? First, the cone snail has a fine sense of smell. It sniffs the water with its long nose. When it smells a fish, it slowly extends another long tube, called a proboscis. This long, flexible straw can stretch more than twice the length of the snail’s body.…