Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children July/August 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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9 Números

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2 min.
nosy news

Bird-Beaked Spiders What is this weird-looking critter? Would you believe, a spider? Pelican spiders are named after the birds they resemble. Pelican birds use their giant beaks to scoop up fish. Pelican spiders use their long jaws to attack other spiders. But don’t be alarmed—these beaked bugs are only about the size of a grain of rice. Pelican spiders have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, or even earlier. Scientists in Africa know about these ancient spiders from fossils. Modern species live and Australia. In fact, there are more than we thought. Researchers armed with microscopes recently discovered 18 brand-new kinds on the African island of Madagascar. Space Car In February, the world’s most powerful rocket made its first launch. The rocket is called the Falcon Heavy. Someday it may carry…

2 min.
every bird’s guide to feathers

Congratulations on being a bird! As a chick, you’ll start out with a nice, soft coat of fluffy down. But soon you’ll sprout some stiff, sleek feathers. It can be a bit confusing at first, so here’s a handy guide to help you get to know all your new feathers. A bird’s feather coat is made up of many different kinds of feathers. Each has a different shape and does a different job. The Parts of a Feather The shaft, or rachis, is the stiff, hollow backbone of the feather. Tiny hooks hold the strands of a feather together. These unclasp if the feather is disturbed, then hook together again to restore the smooth surface. The vane is the main “feathery” part of the feather. A Wing Wings have many different kinds of feathers. Long, strong…

2 min.
faq: questions about feathers

What are feathers made of? Feathers are made of keratin, a kind of protein. Hair, reptile scales, fur, and fingernails are also made of keratin. How can I get the best-looking feathers? Eat plenty of the right foods to keep your feathers strong and colors looking bright. Am I really waterproof? Water rolls right off feathers that are properly “zipped up,” with all their strands hooked together. That isn’t because they’re oily. Tiny ridge patterns push water drops off, so the water doesn’t soak in. To stay waterproof, it’s important to preen often to make sure there are no openings in your feathers. How many feathers will I have? Most birds have between 900 (for a small hummingbird) and several thousand. Tundra swans have the most—a whopping 25,000. Help! My feathers are falling out! Don’t panic—it’s perfectly normal. Feathers…

1 min.
what are feathers for?

Flight Feathers push down on the air so you can fly, then fold away when you don’t need them. They slide smoothly so you can change the shape of your wings. And feathers are light, so they don’t add too much weight. Custom Jobs Some feathers do special jobs. Desert grouse use sponge-like chest feathers to carry water many miles to their chicks. Woodpeckers have extra-strong tail feathers to help them climb trees. Many birds line their nests with old feathers. And some birds eat feathers to help them digest! Keeping Warm and Cool Downy feathers trap lots of tiny air pockets, which stop heat from getting in or out. This helps the bird stay just the right temperature. Feathers are so good at trapping heat that penguins can stay toasty warm even standing on…

2 min.
the bird that sings with its wings…TEEEE! A colorful bird the size of a sparrow sits on a branch in a Colombian cloud forest. A female is nearby. Will she be his mate? The male hops side-to-side to attract her attention. Then he puts his head down, lifts his tail, and moves his wings so fast they blur. Tk…tk…TEEEE! A clear, loud tone like a doorbell rings out through the forest. But the bird’s beak hasn’t moved. He isn’t singing to the female. He isn’t chirping. So where is the sound coming from? Scientists have known for a long time that there is something odd about the club-winged manakin’s calls. But it wasn’t until 2002 that cameras became fast enough to discover the bird’s secret. When video was played back, frame-by-frame, it revealed a surprise. The sound was coming…

3 min.
glamor birds

Birds of Paradise The birds of paradise of New Guinea take the prize for the most fantastical feathers. Each species has its own special look—and a dance to go with it. and Ducks... Even mallards sport a cunning curled tail feather! Rainbow of Birds Feathers come in every color—sometimes all on a single bird. How do birds make so many shades? Bird Paintbox Feathers get their colors in three main ways: 1. From natural pigment (color bits) in the bird’s skin 2. From pigments in food 3. By bouncing light like a prism. Black, brown, rust, dark yellow Colors from Skin Black, brown, rusty reds, and dark yellows come from melanins, the pigments that color skin, hair, and fur. Color bits get added to feathers as they grow from the skin. More melanin means a darker color. Bright red, orange, yellow, pink Colors from Food Some…