Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children May/June 2016

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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2 min.
nosy news

Caterpillars Head-Butt In a tight spot, some caterpillars use their heads. At least, some Psilocorsis caterpillars do. These caterpillars live in oak trees, where they make shelters for themselves out of leaves held together with silk and poop ,It’s not a very fancy home. But the caterpillars like it so much that they attack any other caterpillars who try to break in. Sometimes an intruder tries to steal another caterpillar’s shelter. The bugs fight, using their heads to shove and hit each other. The defenders usually win, keeping their humble leaf tents for another day. Same Brains Do boys and girls have different brains? A new study has found—not really. Scientists studied more than 1,400 brain images to look for differences. They did find a few small differences in certain areas—more women than men,…

6 min.
wild medicine

Life can be hard out in the wild. Animals sometimes break bones or get cuts and bruises. They’re attacked by blood-sucking parasites and disease-causing germs. Sometimes they eat poisonous plants or bad food. Yet wild animals stay pretty healthy. How do they do it? Here are some of their tricks. Tip #1 Spit on It Have you ever seen your dog or cat lick its wounds? Why do they do it? It probably feels good, but it’s good medicine too. Licking cleans a wound, and saliva contains chemicals that kill germs. For many animals in the wild, spit is great medicine for cuts and scrapes. Even a human being will suck on a cut finger. Now you know why. Tip #2 Keep It Clean To avoid disease, many animals practice good hygiene. Chimpanzees, for…

1 min.
ask polly proper

Ms. Polly Proper Dear Polly, I have an appointment with a wrasse to have my gills cleaned. From what I’ve heard, I have to dance first. But I’m such a klutz! I’m terrified I’ll look like a clown fish. Two Left Fins in the Indian Ocean Dear Lefty, The wrasse wriggles to show he’s open for business. Then you shake your fins to let him know you’re there to get clean and not to get a meal. If you don’t dance, there isn’t a wrasse in the sea who would dare get near your teeth. I suggest you learn a basic fin-head-fin-tail step, in the interests of hygiene. Happy Dancing! Polly Dear Polly, I recently picked up a few hitchhiking fleas. Ever since, I’ve been feeling sick, weak, and itchy. I even overheard these freeloading pests…

4 min.
why is this salamander smiling?

Ouch! Life in the wild can be tough, and animals can get hurt. They don’t fall off their bikes and skin their knees, but they can break bones and get scratched up in brambly undergrowth. They can get trapped and hurt in bad weather or natural disasters like forest fires or tornadoes. They sometimes injure each other in fights over mates. Some tough old animal warriors rack up battle scars, limps, and broken tusks like medals. Injured or sick animals make easy targets for hungry predators, so they often hide or pretend not to be hurt. That can make it hard for scientists to study what injured animals in the wild do to heal their hurts. We know they lick their wounds and rest. Some animals help others in their group. Dolphins…

8 min.
plenty to do at the zoo

With keepers to feed them, vets to cure them, and no predators to eat them, animals in a zoo usually live much longer than animals in the wild. Zoo life is safe, but it can also be boring. In the wild, survival is a full-time job, what with finding food, taking care of babies, and steering clear of all the things that might want to eat you. Compared with their wild cousins, says one zoo veterinarian, zoo animals are unemployed. Scientists observing animals in their natural environments realized that some zoo animals were doing all sorts of unnatural things those species don’t do in the wild. Tigers paced back and forth endlessly. Elephants bobbed their heads up and down. Gorillas vomited up food then ate it again. Monkeys groomed to the point…

5 min.
rescuing orphan elephants

Little lost elephants may not be common in your neighborhood, but they are in Kenya in East Africa. And the best thing to do there is call the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. They’ve been rescuing orphan elephants and successfully reintroducing them to the wild since 1977. Raising a baby elephant is a big responsibility. Like people, healthy elephants can live 70 years or more. And when young, they need a lot of care. Babies two years and younger need almost constant attention. After that, young elephants begin doing some things on their own but still need to be with their families. Teenagers are more independent, but elephants aren’t considered fully adult until they’re over 30 years old. So taking in a stray elephant is a longterm commitment. It’s hard work too. A…