Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children July/August 2017

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

en este número

2 min.
nosy news

Get Ready for the Eclipse! On August 21 you may get to see a rare event: a total solar eclipse. This is when the moon briefly blocks our view of the sun. (Think of your mom walking in front of the TV while your favorite show is on.) Eclipses happen about every 18 months—but this will be the first total solar eclipse visible over the U.S. mainland since 1979. For people who live in the direct path of the eclipse, the sun will seem to totally darken for a few minutes. For the rest of the country, it will look like a shadow erasing part of the sun. The eclipse will start at 9:05 a.m. for people on the West Coast, then move east. To safely look at the eclipse, you’ll need some…

4 min.
a bumpy ride

1818 How did bikes get started? A German forest ranger named Karl von Drais wanted a faster way to roam around the woods. His contraption, called a draisienne (he named it after himself, of course), didn’t have pedals. It was more like a sit-on scooter. Special schools sprang up to teach people how to ride these “hobbyhorses,” but only the rich could afford them. And the dirt roads, meant for real horses, were too rough for comfortable riding. 1821 The hobbyhorse needed more oomph, but people didn’t believe you could balance on two wheels without your feet touching the ground. One solution was a hobbyhorse with a handlebar you pulled to make the front wheel spin faster. These awkward machines were not a hit with anyone but mail carriers, who used…

1 min.
art moves

Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and architect who makes sculptures out of tables, chairs, backpacks, and other ordinary objects. Even bikes! His works often rearrange familiar items in surprising ways that make you look at them again. He also designed the “Bird’s Nest” stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. When Ai was growing up, most ordinary Chinese got around by bike. Now more and more are buying cars, but for Ai bicycles still mean freedom of movement. A crowd of bikes can also give a sense of community, everyone riding together. And bikes have a beautiful, strong shape. Ai says that “when I teach students architecture, how to build, I use the bicycle to tell them they can build with any material, not just bricks and concrete.”…

4 min.
making a place for bikes

At first glance, bikes and cities might seem like a bad mix. There’s so much traffic! Everyone is in such a hurry! Not to mention all those trucks and buses. But for many city people, getting around by bike makes a lot of sense. Bikes are small, cheap, and easy to park. Biking is fun and good exercise. In cities around the world, more and more people are riding bikes—and cities are finding ways to help them share the road. Ways to Go One of the simplest ways cities can help bikers is to make bike lanes. This is a traffic lane just for cyclists. Just like lanes for cars, bike lanes are marked with painted lines. Symbols and colors say, “No cars allowed!” Some cities put barriers between bike lanes and…

2 min.
meet your bike

Gears The toothed circle around the rear hub is the gear ring. Gears catch the chain to make your bike move. If your bike has several gear rings on the back and a shifter on the handlebars, it means your bike has different speeds. What speed is best? Low gears (low numbers, bigger gear rings) are easier to pedal, but you need to pedal faster. They’re good for starting out and climbing hills. Higher gears (high numbers, small gear rings) move the back wheel more each time you pedal. They are good for going fast once you’re already moving. Rear hub Why don’t you go backward when you pedal backward? Inside the gear rings on the rear wheel is a clever part called a ratchet. Your bike chain moves the outer ring around (see the teeth?). The…

6 min.
the bike soldiers

In the 1890s, a new bicycle was taking the world by storm. This bike had two wheels the same size, gears, and air-filled tires. “Safety bikes” were the first to look like the bikes we ride today. They were speedy, comfortable, and fun. Everyone wanted one. Even the army! Steeds of Steel Why would the army be interested in bikes? Back in the 1890s, there were no cars. To get somewhere, you walked, took a train, or rode a horse. But bikes were cheaper than horses. You didn’t have to feed them, brush them, or keep them warm at night. A bike never got sick, bit you, or ran away. You could hide a bike easily, and they were hard to track. Some armies in Europe were already using bicycles for scouting and…