Lion Book

Lion Book
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY with HOMESTEAD ELEMENTARY in Aurora, Illinois. Click on this photo to find out about my school visits on SANDRA MARKLE SPEAKS!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

WIN A Chance To Become A Markle's Book Explorers School


Here's a group of Markle's Book Explorers at Beacon Cover Intermediate School in Jupiter, Florida

WOW!  The first year of Markle's Book Explorers was amazing.  Through my on-line contest, I adopted nine schools across the United States.  



I love it when my books make readers smile!
I gave copies of my books to these schools.  I shared action-packed opportunities for young readers to explore my books.  










That's me on the BIG screen performing science magic.



Thanks to email and Skype, I also stayed connected to the Markle's Book Explorer schools and even visited most of the schools.









I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response I received from the children and the teachers.   So I'm going to stay connected with those nine schools.  They'll become Markle's Book Explorers Alumni.  However, with the start of 2013, it's time to pick a new group of schools to become Markle's Book Explorers.  Any teacher, librarian, or school administrator can enter their school before February 28th.  I'll announce the winners on March 15, 2013.

To enter, just use the post option to enter your school's name and contact information.

The names of all entries will go into a hat and I’ll select nine.Please be sure to include your email address to make it easier for me to be in touch!


Of course, everyone can still join me and share special activities here at my blog. I look forward to continuing to meet you here and can’t wait to start connecting with the 2013 Markle’s Book Explorers.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Twelve Arachnids of Christmas--Back By Popular Demand




Grab copies of the twelve books in my exciting ARACHNID WORLD series published by Lerner (2010-2011) to join in the fun. You see my true love is an arachnologist, someone who studies all kinds of arachnids. So this year my Christmas gifts were very different, but definitely ones I'll always remember.




On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave me to a black widow in a fir tree.









As I watched, that black widow spider dangled upside down from a silk thread. Next, its exoskeleton (armor-like covering) split open along the back. Then the spider pushed and pulled and crawled out of its exoskeleton.

What in the world just happened? To find out, read Black Widows: Deadly Biters pages 22 through 23.


On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two striped bark scorpions--one big female 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and a smaller male.






As I watched, the male grabbed the female's pedipalps (body parts near the mouth). He tugged her forward and then they turned around in a circle. They did this over and over for hours.

What was happening to my scorpions? To find out, read Scorpions: Armored Stingers pages 28 and 29.









On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three female
Carolina wolf spiders.





As I watched, a round ball about one-third as big as the spider and stuck to its spinnerets split open. Hundreds of tiny spiders crawled out and climbed onto the big spider.

What's likely to happen next? To find out, read Wolf Spiders: Mothers On Guard pages 26 through 29.











On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four wind scorpions.







Almost at once, one of the wind scorpions ran straight up a nearly vertical rock. How did it keep from falling off? To find out, read Wind Scorpions: Killer Jaws pages 24 and 25.











On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five tarantulas.



One goliath bird-eater tarantula was holding a gecko. As I watched it sank in its fangs and brought up digestive juices.

Why in the world did it do that? To find out read Tarantulas: Supersized Predators pages 32 and 33.







Then keep on reading quickly to let me know whether I should stay to watch or run away. Two of the other tarantulas have turned their hairy rear ends toward me and look ready to rub these with their hind legs.

Help me decide what action to take by reading pages 30 and 31.








On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love to me six female cross spiders spinning their webs.







As I watched, a fly landed on one spider's web. That female ran to the fly and shots strands of silk over it.

Why did she do that? To find out, read Orb Weavers: Hungry Spinners pages 24 and 25.









I kept on watching and saw a fly zip into another spider's web. I expected the web to break, but it didn't. Why not? To find out, read page 17 and page 22.



On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven fishing spiders fishing in a pond.







At just that moment, a bat flew past and all the fishing spiders dived beneath the surface. They stayed underwater for nearly thirty minutes.

How were they able to stay underwater for so long? To find out, read Fishing Spiders: Water Ninjas pages 22 through 23.









On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight crab spiders
lurking inside flowers.








Some goldenrod crab spiders were inside yellow flowers and they were yellow. Other goldenrod crab spiders were inside white flowers and they were white.

How were these spiders able to be just the right flower color to hide and wait to ambush insects? To find out, read Crab Spiders: Phantom Hunters pages 22 and 23.






On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine harvestmen packed close together and bobbing up and down.



Why were they doing that? To find out, read Harvestmen: Secret Operatives page 21.


On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten ticks-a-sucking blood from their host.






As I watched these female dog ticks over several days, their bodies swelled up until they were nearly six hundred times bigger.

How in the world could they swell so big? To find out read Ticks: Dangerous Hitchhikers pages 14 and 15.

Why can a tick's bite make people and animals sick? Read pages 28 through 36 to find out.







On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven jumping spiders jumping.



As I watched, one leapt from one leaf to another to catch an insect.

How could it possibly jump so far? To find out, read Jumping Spiders: Gold Medal Stalkers pages 22 and 23.

What's the record for how far a jumping spider can leap? Read pages 46 and 47 to find out.




On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve mites-a-multiplying
on a bean plant.



At first, I couldn't see the tiny two-spotted mites sucking on one of the plant's leaves. In less than a month, the plant was nearly covered with web strands dotted with tiny mites. They were sucking the plant's juices and producing even more two-spotted mites.

How did there get to be so many so quickly. To find out, read Mites: Master Sneaks pages 36 and 37.

Yes, my arachnid Christmas this year is one I'll always remember. After all, it's the year I received:

12 mites-a-multiplying
11 jumping spiders jumping
10 ticks-a-sucking
harvestmen bobbing
crab spiders lurking
fishing spiders fishing
orb weavers spinning
tarantulas
4 wind scorpions
3 wolf spiders
2 scorpions
And a black widow in a fir tree

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dive Into SHARKS: BIGGEST! LITTLEST!

These fun activities will let you dive into my book SHARKS: BIGGEST! LITTLEST! to investigate some of the world's most fascinating sharks. You'll discover that big or little or having special big or little features is how sharks are just naturally adapted to being a success in their part of the ocean.

Size Matters!

Rearrange the list of sharks in order from the biggest to the very smallest.

Adult Whale Sharks, like this one, can be 45 feet (about 14 meters) long.

Start by looking at the photos and reading the text. For even more clues, check out the map on page 30.
Swell Shark
Cookie-Cutter Shark
Whale Shark
Basking Shark
Port Jackson Horned Shark
Thresher Shark
Ornate Wobbegong Shark
Longnose Sawshark
Spined Pygmy Shark
Great White Shark







Would You Believe?

Can shark skin be used as sandpaper?

Like your teeth and a shark's teeth, denticles have a soft center pulp and a hard enamel coat.
Read pages 12 and 13 to discover a shark's body is covered with little parts called denticles. Search on Google to find out if anyone ever used shark skin for sandpaper in the past.   




Check out this Myth Busters episode to see a test to find out if shark skin will work as sandpaper.


Thanks to all its denticles, this Swell Shark looks like a rough character.  You might be surprised to learn the denticles do more than act like a suit of armor. The shape helps a shark slip move more easily through the water. Sharks also regularly shed and replace denticles just the way they do the teeth in their jaws. As they grow bigger, some kinds of sharks add more little denticles to cover their body. Others replace smaller denticles with larger ones.


A Shark Gave Me The Idea
There are lots of special things about sharks. Check out the follow list.  Then think of something you might invent for people to use based on something special about sharks.
See the nictitating membrane partly covering this blue shark's eye.

  • Some sharks have a special eye membrane, called a nictitating membrane. When the shark gets close to something, such as its prey, this moves over the eye to shield it. Great Whites have a set of muscles that roll the entire eye into its socket to protect it.


  • A shark's nostrils are on the outside of its body and lead into nasal sacs. These aren't for breathing--only smelling.  The sacs are made up of lots of folds of tissues, all packed with scent sensors. No wonder a shark can detect as little as five drops of blood mixed into the amount of water it takes to fill an average swimming pool.

These spiracles are on a zebra shark.

  • What look like freckles on some sharks are the openings of special electricity sensors.  These let the shark detect tiny charges produced by a prey's heartbeats or muscle movements. This lets the shark be particularly sensitive to wounded animals, the easiest prey to catch.





  • A shark can move its upper jaw forward and out to bite. You can only move your lower jaw.
  • A shark's skeleton is entirely cartilage, the rubbery kind of supporting structure you have in your external ear.  That helps sharks in a number of ways. Cartilage is lighter than bone, which helps sharks stay afloat. It's also more flexible than bone, letting sharks make really tight turns.


Shark Tale

Pick one of the sharks you read about in SHARKS: BIGGEST! LITTLEST!.  
This Ornate Wobegong Shark ambushes its prey using fanglike teeth to snag its prey.

Read the section about that shark again. Next, go on-line to learn more about the life history of the shark you picked.  Then write a short story about a day in the life of that shark. This will be a factional story, a made-up story packed full of real facts.

Look Again!

The pictures in SHARKS: BIGGEST! LITTLEST! have their own stories to tell.  Take another look at the pictures in the book to answer these questions.

Cookie Cutter Shark takes a bite on pages 10 and 11.
A Great White Shark's mouth has five or more rows of teeth. Do all the rows stand up straight or do some of the teeth lie flat?


Do Cooke-Cutter Sharks have lower teeth that are different sizes and shapes or are they all the same size?


Are sharks as big today as during prehistoric times? How do you know?

Which sharks that appear in the book have their mouths at the front end of their head? Which have their mouths under a nose?





Sharks For Good Measure

An adult Great White Shark never stops growing.  So it gets a little longer every year of its life.  They're born alive and about four feet (1.2 meters) long at birth.  One of the biggest kinds of sharks, adults often grow to be 20 feet (6 meters) long. Measure off a piece of string that length. Stretch it out on the floor and lie down next to it with your feet at one end of the string. Set something, like a pencil, across the string next to your head. Now, use a measuring tape to find out how many feet/meters shorter you are than a Great White Shark.

Now, find at least 3 things about the same length as a Great White Shark.  What are they?  Now find out how much longer or shorter each of the following things is compared to a Great White Shark.

  • The class's two tallest students lying head to feet on the floor
  • Your school's librarian
  • The length of the school principal's car.
While you're measuring, here's some cool facts you'll enjoy learning about Great White Sharks:
Mother sharks give birth to as many as 60 babies at one time. The babies are on their own immediately after they're born.

Great White Sharks swim very fast compared to other sharks. They've been clocked swimming as fast as 40 miles per hour. But they can never stop swimming. They sink if they stop moving. Their bodies also aren't designed to let them swim backwards. So they can't backed up.



More Action
Read page 24 to learn more about this hatching baby Swell Shark.
Visit the following websites to keep on investigating sharks.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

There's nothing more fun than figuring out the answer to this question. "What will happen next?"


To do that you need to be on the lookout for clues, including ones that are not obvious at first glance.  You also need to check for patterns--something that's happening just the way you've experienced in the past.
Then you can imagine all of the possible things that could happen next and predict what's most likely to happen.

So what happens next?  Here are three different problems for you to tackle. As you do you'll also discover some amazing things about animals, the world--you're even likely to discover some surprising things about yourself.

Who's Faster?



Check out this grizzly bear going nose to nose with a salmon. What do you think will happen next.

What could the bear do to catch the fish?

How could the fish escape?

Brainstorm.  Think of at least three things that could happen next based on what you've seen or read about grizzlies and salmon.

When you decide what is most likely to happen next, go down to ANSWER 1. There you'll see what did happen next.


What Change Will This Cause?



See the jet of fire.

It's shooting into the mouth of a huge cloth bag, heating the air that's trapped inside.

Will the heated air sink, blowing out the fire?

Or will the heated air rise, lifting the cloth bag?

You may not know what happens to air when it's heated. If that's the case, you need to observe that to be able to predict what happens next.












Of course, you could ask someone what happens to air when it's heated. Or you could look it up on-line.  It's more fun to see for yourself, though.



So put a rubber balloon over the top of a clean, empty glass soda bottle.  

Set the bottle in a saucepan and add a measuring cup full of water.  

Have an adult partner turn the heat on the stove to medium. 

Watch what happens as the water around the bottle gets hot and the air inside the bottle heats up, too.

The balloon fills and lifts. That's because everything is made up of tiny building blocks called molecules. In cool air, the molecules are slow-moving and close together. As the air warms up, the molecules move faster, bump into each other, and spread apart. As the warm air takes up more room inside the bottle, it rises where it's trapped by the balloon. Then the balloon partly inflates.

Now, use what you've observed to predict what's likely to happen to the huge cloth bag when fire shoots into it.  To check what does happen next, scroll down to ANSWER 2.

What's Likely To Happen?



Mother raccoon walked out on a branch, looking for food in the lake. Her baby stayed on the log. Then eager to grab a tasty treat, the young raccoon leaned forward and stretched out a paw. 

What do you think will happen to the young raccoon? 

A good way to to figure that out is to imagine yourself in a similar situation.  When you decide what is most likely to happen go to ANSWER 3. You'll see what did happen next.


Answer 1--Who's Faster?




Did you figure out that to catch the fish the bear has to open its mouth and thrust it head forward?

To keep from being caught, the fish has to wiggle sideways and dive back into the water.

 This time the bear reacted faster and caught a fish dinner.







So how's your reaction time?

To test it, have a partner hold a ruler at the top with zero end down.

Hold onto the ruler so your thumb is close to the zero.

Next, open your grip so your fingers are no longer touching the ruler and stay alert.

Your partner will suddenly release the ruler.

Grab it.

Then look to see which number is under your thumb. The lower the number, the faster you were able to react.

Repeat this test two more time.

Does your reaction time improve with practice?  Switch and test your partner's reaction time.

Now, design another activity to measure your reaction time. Check with an adult to be sure what you've planned will be safe for you to do.

Answer 2--What's the Result?



When the air inside the big cloth bag heats up and rises, the bag inflates. Now it's a hot air balloon  Because the hot air inside the balloon is lighter than the cool air around it, the balloon floats up into the sky.  The balloon's pilot must keep on firing the jet every few minutes, though.

If the pilot doesn't do this what do you think will happen as the air inside the big cloth bag cools?  If you aren't sure pour some cool water into the pan.  Then watch what happens to the inflated balloon as the air inside the bottle cools.

Answer 3--What's Likely to Happen?



Did remembering your past experience let you guess the young raccoon lost its balance?

Objects, animals, and you stay balanced as long as they can maintain their position without tipping.  When so much of the young raccoon's weight was shifted ahead of the log, it slipped into the lake.

This experience will help the youngster do a better job of tackling similar situations in the future.



So do you have any special body part to help you judge when you're balanced? Yes, you do.



These are the semicircular canals in your inner ear.

When you move or tip your head, the fluid inside the canals moves.  At one point in the tube, there is a gelatin-like dam with tiny sensors. When the moving fluid pushes on the dam, the sensors send signals to your brain. And when your brain figures out these messages--something that happens almost instantly--you realize you're moving.

If, like this girl, you spin around and stop suddenly you feel like you're still spinning. That's because for an instant after you stop, the fluid in the tubes in your ear keeps on moving and sending signals to your brain. That can make you feel unbalanced.








ONE MORE CHALLENGE

 

Will the fish be able to gulp in the frog? Or is a frog quick enough in the water to be likely to escape? Take a close look at what's going on in the photo.  Think about patterns of behavior.  What's the fish likely to be capable of doing?  What's the frog likely to be able to do?  What's probably happened in such a situation in the past.  Imagine yourself in the frog's place and think what your next move might be.  Now imagine yourself in the fish's place.  

Predict what's most likely to happen next.  Tell why you made that decision.

  




Thursday, July 5, 2012

BRAINSTORMING Basic Training


Learning isn't just memorizing facts. It's discovering how to brainstorm and how to use that skill to solve problems.  So before kids tackle anything else they need brainstorming basic training.  Here it is in five fun, action-packed steps. 

*Teachers, this is just what your students need to get ready for "Next Generation of Science Standards"(NGSS) based skill-building. 

1.  Creative Observing  Children will power up their observational skills to collect as much information as possible.  It's what they'll need to do when getting ready to creatively tackle any problem.


Follow the recipe below to mix up a batch of some really cool stuff. I call it "Goop".  Then check it out!

Recipe for Goop 


Pour one cup of cornstarch into a shallow container, like a plastic storage box.

Add two to four drops of green food coloring.

Use a metal spoon to slowly stir in water, adding just a few tablespoons at a time, until the Goop feels solid when poke.



Now, find out everything you can about Goop.  Examine it in every way you can think of.

Then test Goop in each of these ways and observe closely:


  • Try to pour it into an empty container.
  • Try to make it change its shape. Try to mold it into a ball. Try to shape it into a cube.
  • Poke it with a finger. Decide how it feels.
  • Try to break it into two chunks. Can you? How does this change it? Take a close look at the edges of the broken pieces.
  • Try to put the two chunks back together. Was it easy to do?


NOTE: When you're finished, throw the Goop away in the trash basket. Do not wash it down the sink as it can clog pipes.


2.  Brainstorming  Kids will be revving their brains with this one and learning what problem solving is like in real life.


Read the following story aloud. Then have children work individually or in small groups to think of all the possible solutions to the problem. Add to the fun by challenging them to come up with a solution in just one minute.






Story: The angry native are hot on Smitty's trail.  A heavy, sharp-tipped spear zips past his head and thumps into a tree trunk. He ducks and swerves off the trail and into the thick underbrush. Shoving leaves out of his way, Smitty charges through the jungle.  Suddenly, Smitty jerks to a stop on the bank of a river. Water is roaring and churning around huge boulders that poke up like humps on a sea serpent's back. He's also pretty sure there's a crocodile lurking on the far bank. However, if he could just get across the river, the natives would probably let him go.  How can Smitty get across the river?







After one minute, challenge kids to brainstorm even harder by thinking about things that might keep some of these possible escapes from working. Then challenge them to pick Smitty's best possible escape option and tell why they believe it will work.


3.  Creative Predicting  Now it's time to make use of patterns. Children will discover how important it is to look for patterns and remember them.  


Mystery Bag

Prepare for this by placing something familiar such as popped popcorn, paperclips, or M&M candies in a paper bag and staple the top shut.

Next, divide the class into small groups.  Give each group a bag. Challenge them to use their senses one at a time to collect information about what's in the bag. After each observation, challenge them to use their past experiences and these observations to try and identify the mystery object.

Have the children use their sense of hearing first.  Have them shake the bag and listen.

Next, have children gently poke and squeeze the bag. What do they observe this time? Does that make them want to change their earlier prediction about what's inside the bag? If so, what do they now think the mystery item might be?

Challenge children to use their sense of smell this time and repeat the process.  They'll need to make observations, consider what they may have smelled in the past that had that scent, and decide if they want to change their prediction.

Finally, allow children to open the bag and use their sense of sight to collect observations and identify the mystery object.


A Kitchen Mystery

This is another fun active to get kids observing, inferring, and predicting.  Give each group a different kitchen tool and challenge them to figure out what problem that tool was designed to solve.  The weirder the tool the better for this activity.  Allow time for the groups to combine their brainpower on this.  Then let each group display their kitchen tool, tell what use they predict it has, and explain why they came to this conclusion.  Encourage all of the groups to discuss whether or not this is the most likely function of each tool before you share the real use.

4.  Experimenting  Kids will be challenged to predict and test.  It's fun now and will be a survival skill for the life.


Prepare for this activity by having partner groups fold paper airplanes. Have each group complete their plane by slipping a paperclip over the nose (narrow) end.

Use tape on the floor on a long hall or a piece of rope outdoors on the playground to be a starting line. Have the partner groups toss their plane and measure how far it flies.



Then challenge the partners to change their plane so it will fly even farther.

Before they leap into action, have the partners list all the changes they could make.

Next, have them list the three changes that (based on past experiences and observing patterns) they think are most likely to be successful. Have them narrow this down to the one change they believe is likely to work best.  Be sure they list why they think this will work.

Have the partners also think about what variables (things that could change the outcome) they need to keep exactly the same as they test their modified plane.

Finally, have the partners change their plane per their idea and test it three times.

Did it work?  Could something be changed to make fly even farther? If so, what?

Have all of the groups compare their results and decide which modification worked best. Why did it?

5.  Creative Evaluating  Children will analyze results and think of other possibilities. They'll be pushing their brains into maximum action now!




New Shoe

It's time for an activity that will take kids from creative thinking to inventing.  Divide the class into partner groups again.  This time have them examine a tennis shoe.

Challenge them to list everything about the shoe that makes it good for the job it was made to do.

Have them think how this tennis shoe could be changed to function even better.

Next, have the partners come up with new features that might be added to the shoe to make it perform even better or do something that's totally new and wonderful.  Encourage them to make diagrams of the shoe showing their proposed changes.

Have each partner group describe the new and improved features they're proposing.  If you have old tennis shoes available, you could let the partners collect materials and create a prototype model of their proposed improved shoe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SCIENCE MAGIC!! Share The Action

I've recently been sharing virtual Skype visits with schools. Part of my visit is a science magic show so I've been getting requests to share my secrets. I'm happy to do that because the truth is that discovering how the world works is the real magic--and what science is all about. So here goes. Follow the steps for each activity and you can make science magic too. Just be sure to check with an adult before you start. Even better ask an adult to be your partner and have fun exploring science magic together.

Make Air Pressure Hold A Plate


This could get messy so work over a sink. Even better try this outdoors.

You'll need:
A study plastic plate
A paper towel
A sturdy plastic glass (juice size works best)

Fill the plastic glass nearly full of water. Fold the paper towel into fourths and place it on the middle of the plate. Next, turn the plate and towel over the cup like a lid. Hold the plate against the top of the cup with your fingers while you turn the whole system over.

Now the glass is on top. Be sure it is straight up and down. Hold on to the cup with the hand that isn't pressing up on the plate. Then--slowly--take your hand away from the plate. The plate won't fall and the water will stay inside the glass.

Air pressure makes this work. Even though it's invisible, air has weight and takes up space. Air is also al around you so it exerts force on you and objects and other people from all directions. As gravity pulls down on the water inside the glass a partial vacuum is created in the air-filled space inside the glass. Now the downward force of the water and air inside the glass is less than all the upward pushing force of air on the plate. You can see how much larger this surface is than that covered by the water inside the glass. The wet paper towel helps by making a tight seal between the glass and the plate. This keeps any air from slipping inside the glass. If that happened, the air rushing into the glass would push the water out. Then there would be a flood and you'd get wet.





You'll need:
an empty 1 or 2 liter plastic soft drink bottle with a screw-on cap.
3 pushpins (the kind used to display things on a bulletin board)

Work outdoors or at the sink. Fill the bottle to the very top with water. Screw on the cap, making sure it's tightly sealed.

Next, stick the pushpins into the bottle, one at a time. Then have your adult partner hold the bottle by its cap while you carefully twist and tug out the pushpins.

Surprise! If water leaks out at all, it quickly stops or slows to a tiny trickle.













Did the bottle magically plug the holes? Of course not. Squeeze the bottle to prove it. Water will spurt out the holes. But when you stop squeezing the water will immediately stop flowing.

The magic is that air pressure is at work again. Air doesn't simply push down, it exerts force in all directions. The force of the air pushing in on the water at the holes you made is greater than that of the water inside the bottle pushing out.

What do you think will happen when you take the cap off the bottle, letting air push down on the water inside the bottle? Try it--just be sure the bottle is over the sink.

Make Air Vibrate and Create Squawky Cans

Want to make strange sounds? You can with a little help from science.


You'll Need:
two cans of different sizes (cleaned and dried)
Sturdy packaging twine
2 paperclips
scissors
tape
a piece of clean sponge (about 1 inch by 2 inches)

Have an adult partner use a nail and hammer to punch a hole through the bottom of each can. The hole should be just big enough for the twine to slip through.

Next, cut a piece of twine about twice as long as the can's height. Thread one end of the twine through the hole and tie to a paper clip. Rest the paper clip on the can bottom and tape in place. Repeat these steps with the second can.

Now, wet the sponge and squeeze out the water.

To make your can squawk, hold the can in one hand. With the other hand, pinch the sponge against the string and give it a jerk. This makes the metal-can bottom vibrate. That in turn creates waves of air. When those waves reach your ear and your brain interprets the signals it hears, you hear the spooky noises.

Can you think of some other things you could make vibrate to produce squawks and weird noises? You'll probably think of lots more but here are three to get you started:

A balloon--Blow it up and grip it between your legs so you can use both hands to stretch its neck Then control how much air escapes.

A comb--Hold it in one hand and run your fingernail back and forth across its teeth.

An empty glass soda bottle--Put the rim next to your lower lip and blow a strong blast of air across the opening.

Use Fast Moving Air to Float A Ball In Mid-Air


A blowdryer makes this science magic trick happen.

You'll need:
A blow-dryer
A Ping-Pong ball

Hold the blow-dryer with the nozzle aimed straight up. You may want your adult partner to do that for you. When the dryer is switched on to "high", place the ball in this column of fast-moving air so it's about 5 inches above the nozzle. Let go of the ball and quickly take your hand away.

As long as the air current iss shooting striaght up, the Ping-Pong ball will float suspended above the dryer's nozzle.

This "magic" happens because fast-moving air has less pressure than more slowly moving air. So the Ping-Pong ball is trapped inside the column of fast-moving air. Here the ball is pushed upward by a jet of air with enough force to keep it from falling, but not enough to blow it any higher.

What you've discovered is also the basic law of nature that helps airplanes fly. When viewed on edge the upper surface of an airplane's wing is curved and the lower surface is flat. Air slips over a curved surface more quickly than it does over a flat surface. So there is less air pressure on the upper surface of the wing than there is beneath the wing, giving the airplane lift.

Can you guess why airplanes take off into the wind?