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Kids & Teens
Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

Ask Science and Arts Magazine for Kids and Children

February 2020

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

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Cricket Media, Inc.
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9 Issues

In this issue

2 min.
nosy news

AN EEL-ECTRIFYING SURPRISE Electric eels are long, snake-shaped fish that live in South America. They use electrical shocks to kill their prey. Scientists thought there was only one species of electric eel. But then the eels gave them a shock. Researchers studied 107 electric eels from around South America. On the outside, the fish all looked the same. But inside, they had differences in their DNA. The eels were really three separate species, living in different parts of South America. One of the eel species can deliver a shock of 860 volts. That’s much higher than the previous record for electric eels. Please, no hugs! CHILL OUT, NEIGHBOR Squirrels are famous for chattering, but sometimes they also listen. In fact, scientists have discovered that they often eavesdrop on their animal neighbors. And what they hear from…

5 min.
feeding tikal

Meet the Maya The year is 700 CE. In what is now Guatemala, a tall city rises out of the jungle. This is Tikal, one of the great cities of the ancient Maya. In its market square, traders sell obsidian knives and jade from the mountains, shells from the sea, and colorful feathers. Potters offer fancy painted mugs and bowls. Weavers show off striped cotton robes. Up at the palace, scribes record the deeds of the king in picture writing that the Maya invented. In another room, astronomers and mathematicians are hard at work figuring out the date of the next eclipse. Tikal is one of many Maya cities in the Yucatán. Each has its own king who rules the lands around it. Cities trade with each other and sometimes fight. Citizens…

1 min.
maya meal

Where Are the Tortillas? Modern Maya certainly eat tortillas. But did the ancient Maya? There’s some debate. On the one hand, there’s no proof they did. No remains of tortillas, pictures of tortillas, or recipes for them have been found in Maya ruins. On the other hand, many other cultures in the region ate tortillas—were the Maya really the only ones who didn’t? They had corn dough and hot stones…so it’s possible that they did eat tortillas, but left no record of them. art byRaul Del Rio art © 2020 by Raul Del Rio…

4 min.
a day at cerén

Around 600 CE, a volcano completely buried a Maya village in ash. Earthquakes leading up to the explosion warned the villagers, and they all escaped safely. But nearly everything they owned was left behind, lost in layers of ash. Centuries later, archaeologists uncovered Cerén. What they found lets us imagine life in an ancient Maya farming village… At Cerén, your day starts with the sunrise. There’s always so much to do! You roll up your sleeping mat and store it under the grass roof. The adobe floor is cool under your feet. Time for breakfast! You go down the front step. The ground between the buildings of your home is bare dirt, packed hard and smooth by many feet. You pass the storehouse. That’s where your family keeps jars of dry corn,…

4 min.
a cool sip of cocoa

The Magic Bean Tree Deep in the shady forests of Central America, there grows a funny-looking tree called the cacao. Its trunk sprouts football-sized fruits in colors of reddish brown, green, purple, or yellow. But inside is magic. Each pod holds 20 to 50 large bean-like seeds, covered in a milky white pulp. These seeds—also called cocoa beans—are where chocolate begins. No one knows who first had the idea to eat cacao seeds. The first cocoa eaters may have snacked on the pulp and thrown away the bitter seeds. But eventually, someone discovered that roasting the seeds makes them delicious. Archaeologists have found traces of cooked cacao in pots dating as far back as 1500 BCE. The pots came from the Olmec people, who lived in southern Mexico. The Maya may have learned…

3 min.
gifts of the rain god

Out in the fields, farmers place offerings of jade and food on an altar of branches. Young boys croak and peep like toads. It’s spring, time for Chaak, the rain god of the ancient Maya, to throw axes and snakes at the clouds to make it rain. The thirsty corn needs water. The part of Central America where the Maya live has a rainy season and a dry season. Most of the year’s rain falls between May and October. Winter is dry. But people need water all year round. How did the ancient Maya get the water they needed? With some clever engineering. Water for Cities In a large city like Tikal, 50,000 people needed water every day. Water to drink, to cook with, and to wash clothes. Potters needed water to make…