Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children May/June 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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Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Números

en este número

2 min.
nosy news

Dinosaur Feathers Millions of years ago, bugs and other things got stuck in oozing tree sap. This tree sap fossilized to form golden stones called amber. Scientists have found all kinds of ancient treasures in pieces of amber. And now they’ve found something new: a piece of a feathered dinosaur’s tail. The chunk of amber came from Myanmar. Inside it, scientists found a bit of tail with thin feathers, probably from a small dinosaur called a coelurosaur, which lived about 99 million years ago and walked on two legs. Scientists think lots of dinosaurs had feathers. But fossils are usually just bones, so actual feathers are a very lucky find. The feathers probably adorned a small dinosaur that looked like this. No Naps for Dolphins Spinner dolphins are named for the way they twirl while jumping…

2 min.
what is glass?

How does melting sand turn it into glass? Inside, at the tiny scale of atoms, silica is made up of silicon and oxygen atoms arranged in a regular pattern called a crystal. Sand grains are tiny chunks of these crystals. When silica melts, the pattern breaks apart and silicon-oxygen clumps flow around freely. That’s liquid rock. If this liquid cools very slowly, the crystal will form again. For such an amazing material, glass is pretty simple at heart. Its main ingredient is silica (quartz), the most common mineral on Earth. Sand is mostly tiny grains of quartz. Add a little sodium carbonate to help it melt and limestone to keep out water, heat it to 2,500º F (1,400º C), and it softens into a thick, clear blob ready for shaping—glass. But if it cools more…

4 min.
breaking news in glassmaking

20,000 BCE Volcano Glass Obsidian is natural glass that forms when hot lava melts quartz rock. Ancient humans collected obsidian to make extra-sharp tools. 1500 BCE Fake Gems Egyptians learned how to color glass by adding powdered metals. A little copper dust made red glass. Cobalt made blue, and tin made white. Colored glass made great fake gems for jewelry and tombs. 3000 BCE? Glaze to Glass Glassmaking may have started near Iraq about 5,000 years ago—as glaze for pots. Some potter may have decorated a clay pot with crushed quartz or sand. When the pot was baked, the rock melted into a glassy coating—glaze. Then maybe someone tried melting a batch of glaze by itself. 1350 BCE Dribble Glass Ancient Egyptians made glass jars by dribbling molten glass around a clay shape. When the glass cooled,…

4 min.
in the hot shop

The hot shop at Chicago’s Ignite Glass Studio sizzles with activity. Furnaces glow as teams of artists and students turn melted sand into art. Do you think of glass as fragile? Tough? Clear? Colorful? Flat? Shapely? In the hands of talented glass artists, it can be all of these things. “Anything you can draw, you can turn into a piece of glass art,” says Jalen, a high-school student and artist at Ignition Community Glass. His advice for budding glass artists? Draw everything and save your drawings. You’ll be able to shape them in glass someday. Turning a molten mass of glass into beautiful works of art takes some special skills. “It’s kind of like playing a sport,” explains Joe Waropay, a glass artist and teacher. “It takes teamwork, concentration, and coordination.” Today Joe,…

4 min.
the glass ocean

Nearby cases are filled with life-like jellyfish, sea worms, sponges, and corals—all crafted out of glass more than 150 years ago. There is even some glass seaweed. Who made all these creatures? And why? The story of the glass octopus begins in 1822, when Leopold Blaschka was born to a family of glassmakers in what is now the Czech Republic. The Blaschka family had been making glass for 300 years. They specialized in glass eyes—the best in Europe. Leopold, too, became a master glassmaker. Then he took a trip to America. On the long sea voyage, Leopold marveled at the delicate jellyfish and Portuguese men-o-war he could see in the water. They looked like living glass. He itched to see if he could capture their beauty in a more permanent form. After his…

2 min.
living glass

Most creatures in the ocean build their shells and skeletons out of hard calcium—the same mineral that’s in our own bones. But the delicate glass sponges are different. These simple animals build their skeletons out of silica—the stuff of glass. To make its skeleton, a glass sponge pulls tiny bits of silica out of the water. The sponge assembles the silica into glassy spines, called spicules, which it fuses together into a skeleton. Up close, the skeleton looks a bit like a net woven of thin glassy fibers. This makes a scaffold that gives shape to the living tissue, similar to our own bones. Though skeletons made of glass might sound fragile, they are strong enough to help these sponges keep their shape in the crushing pressure of the deep oceans. The many holes…