Category Archives: Exciting Science Spring 2010

Protect Your Trash!

By Petrea

Birds, mammals, and reptiles get injured or killed by trash. Trash in the ocean kills more than one million sea birds and 100,000 million marine mammals and turtles each year. In 2008 eighty-one birds, sixty-three fish, forty-nine invertebrates, thirty mammals, eleven reptiles were found entangled in debris by volunteers.

Here are some ways how animals could and are getting hurt.

·         Thrown fishing lines can trap wings, legs, or necks.

·         Fishing hooks can get stuck in birds’ mouths.

·         Most fishing weights spread lead in the water. Then the fish accidentally swallow the water that has lead in it.

·         Broken glass can break feet of foxes, coyotes, and badgers. We could also get cut from broken glass that’s just lying around.

·         Unbroken glass could also injure animals. Unbroken glass can become traps. Some little animals such as lizards go searching for food. Then as you can guess they get trapped in there. Then they die of overheating.

·         Also small mammals could get their heads stuck in opened jars.

·         Plastic rings also become traps. Animals could get their necks and legs
·         stuck in the rings.

Those are just a few ways how animals can get hurt. But there are ways to prevent this from happening. Here’s how we can

·         Look at your family’s trash. If you see any products that have unnecessary packaging tell the company about it. You could e-mail, write a letter, or speak to them on the phone. Companies normally have a number so people could comment about the product. You shouldn’t buy products if they refuse to change the way they package their products.

·         Check your trash. Ask yourself are these objects animal proof? What packaging could injure an animal? Then if you find open bottles of jars you should put the cap on tight or plug the holes. Also cut up any plastic rings and plastic bags. Remove can tops completely. Another thing is make sure food is sealed tight in a leak free bag.

·         Join community clean up projects.

·         Make community clean ups as much as you can. Like if you see any trash on the roads of on the fields pick it up. (Make sure you wear gloves or some other protection for your hands.)

·         Teach others about trash and how it can injure or kill animals.

If you just do these simple steps you’re saving tons of animals’ lives.



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The Loch Ness Monster

By Derrob

Loch Ness might seem like a normal lake with normal lake life but many people belive there is something else, something amazing something that has eluded science for over a thousand years. The legendary Loch Ness Monster. Loch Ness is twenty-two and a half miles long and one and a half miles wide. The depth is seven hundred fifty-four feet and the bottem is “flat as a bowling green.” The loch is SO big it could hold the population of the world ten times over. The Loch never freezes so that plays a big part in which Nessie exists or not.

The first recorded sighting of Nessie was in 565 by Saint Columba. The first picture of the Loch Ness Monster was taken by Huge Gray on November 12, 1933. The story go that Mr.Gray was walking home from church and saw something rise out of the Loch about three feet. He took five photos but thought he had nothing of interest so didn’t bother to develop the film. His brother developed the film after three weeks and only one photo came out.

The photo that had the most impact for sixty-six years is the picture that Robert Kenwerth Wilson took on April 19, 1934. Reserchers have argued over the photo for 66 years but was proven a hoax in 1993. It was a rubber neck attached to a toy submarine.

The  most convincing photo of Nessie I have ever seen is this which was taken by a under water camera.

The best piece of evidence for Nessie was taken by Tim Dinsdale in 1960. He took a video of a dark object moving across the loch and has not been called a hoax yet.

I hope that one day ,Nessie will show the public that she exists and that all the skeptics will be proven wrong.


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The T. Rex Leech

By Evan

The T.rex Leech is a normal size leech with massive teeth that lives in the upper Amazon. The Latin name for this species is the Tyrannobdella rex which means Tyrant Leech King.

This leech has been around for 2 million years and has coexisted with the dinosaurs. This type of leech has only one row of eight teeth that are five times bigger than any other leeches. The leech uses its teeth almost like a saw.   The T.rex leech has been known to attach to noses, throats and ears enter the body through eyes and ears. This leech is a recently discovered species found in 1997 attached to a Peruvian boy’s nose.

These leeches have been known to stay attached to their host for up to two weeks. Victims of the leech constantly complained of headaches. Tyrannobdella rex is a fierce species and I hope that you don’t come across it!

sources: and

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By Talia

You may have heard of jewelweed. It has seed pods that spring open when you touch them, allowing you to eat the delicious, nutty seeds, and is an excellent antidote for poison ivy. I bet you didn’t know this, though. Jewelweed can tell its “siblings” from “strangers.” By “siblings,” I mean other plants which originated from seeds from the same plant.

In an experiment, scientists placed jewelweed in pots with strangers, with siblings, and alone. (Pictured below.) Those plants growing with their siblings grew slightly differently than the ones alone, putting out more branches. Those growing with strangers, however, engaged in utter leaf warfare, each putting all their spare energy into growing leaves and, hopefully, getting more sunlight than the other plant.     Scientists also found that strangers would not react to each other if they were in different pots, no matter how close they were. This led them to believe that the plants identified each other through their roots. Why do the plants do this? We don’t really know, but one theory is that sibling recognition is a by-product of self-recognition.


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Strong Bones in a Strong Age

By Molly

These days many children and teens are not getting enough calcium. This is causing people to have more brittle bones at an earlier age. Usually only older women get osteoporosis, a disease where older people grow shorter and bones become weak and brittle. When bones become brittle they break much more easily. When you get osteoporosis your bones could break doing simple things like going down the stairs.  Now, due to not enough intake of calcium, younger people are at more of a risk to develop this disease.

The bone is made of a hard material with tunnels weaving through it. These hollow tunnels let the bone be strong and light. They also help the passage of waste and nutrients. Collagen is a protein that gives the bone elasticity. Calcium salts are a chemical that make the bone hard.

Junk food does not have many nutrients. The next time you have something to eat look at the ingredients. If there are a lot of colorings and flavorings and things you don’t recognize, then there probably is not much nutritional value.

The Institute of Medicine says that children between the ages of 9 and 18 should get 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day. Fewer than 10 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys get this amount. The average is about 900 milligrams, but most kids only get 600 to 700 milligrams. To get 1,300 milligrams you would have to drink four glasses of milk, eat ten cups of cooked broccoli, or have two glasses of milk, a cup of yogurt, and a glass of orange juice every day.

You also need vitamin D and other vitamins to help absorb the calcium. During the summer you get this from the sun. When it comes to a darker time of year you need to take a vitamin supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teenagers take a daily multivitamin that includes vitamin D.

Getting exercise also helps build strong bones. Even if you are watching TV you could do jumping jacks during commercials. Exercising for just a few moments is helpful. Keeping healthy bones is tough, but every little bit helps. By doing the little things you will make your bones thank you in your later life.

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Oil Spills: How they affect the world’s sea life

By Olivia

Did you know that over 706 billion gallons of toxic oil enter the world’s oceans every year? Less than 8% of that is from ship leaks and off-shore drilling. Over half comes from waste disposal and land drainage.

Immediate Effects

Birds and fur seal pups lose insulation in their fur and feathers, then die of hypothermia. Birds are unable to fly because of oil in their feathers, and are easily eaten by other animals. Digesting the oil, even by accident, can be fatal to sea creature, birds , fish and mammals alike. Often, the flippers of seals become stuck to their bodies and they are either eaten or drown.

Long-Term Effects.

Any sea creature which digests the oil is not only endangering themselves, but their young as well. Whale and dolpin calves can be poisoned if their mothers digest oil. Birds who digest oil and then lay eggs, lay them with a decreased thickness in the shell making them easy to crack and making it hard for the babies to live. Also, oil kills off plankton which is a vital source of food in the aquatic food chain. All sea species depend on plankton to survive and a disruption that large in the food chain causes many species of fish to disappear from certain areas or go extinct.

Oil Spills Happening Now

In the Gulf of Mexico, an oil tanker called the Deepwater Horizon crashed in April 2010. It is spilling a minimum of 200,000 gallons of oil into the ocean a day.

Also in April, another oil tanker off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world; it’s visible from space! If the reef bleached, hundreds of fish will go extinct.

In 2000, several thousand penguins were affected by a fuel oil spill after the iron carrier Treasure sank off South Africa. Many oil-soaked birds were cleaned and released.

Over half the ocean’s waste oil comes from land-based sources and from unregulated recreational boating. The heavy development in this busy California port illustrates one potential source of petroleum contamination in coastal waters. (Note dark plume in left foreground.)

Sea Turtles: Dredging of nesting beaches, collisions,

and noise disruptions are all potential threats to sea

turtles. Hatchlings are also particularly susceptible to

oiling because they spend much of their time near

the water surface, where spilled oil or tar


Crude oil from the Sea Empress tanker spill coats a beach at Pembrokeshire, Wales in 1996. Although marine transportation accidents can result in such oil spills, they account for only about 5 percent of the waste oil that enters the ocean annually.


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Space Shuttle Discovery Launch

By Matt

On April 5th, 2010 while on vacation in Florida I saw the space shuttle Discovery launched into orbit for the STS-131 mission. This is the NASA website’s overview of the mission:  This is the fourth to last space shuttle launch.

The launch’s video can be found at: The objective of the STS-131 mission was to carry the Leonardo logistics module to the International Space Station and back. A video of the station’s assembly is at: The Leonardo logistics module was designed to carry experiments to space and back. The Leonardo will be permanently attached to the space station’s unity node (the first American made module of the space station) on STS-133.

The international space station a.k.a ISS is a space station created by many nations in the world. Including; Russia, China, America, Italy, France, and Japan. If you go to a NASA website you can find out when you will be able to see the ISS with just your eyes. This link is to the website:  We saw it passing over and almost mistook it for an airplane passing overhead had we not checked the website.

The space shuttle was created as a reusable spacecraft. The space shuttle program was launched on April 12th, 1981. It carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit on April 24th, 1990. The space shuttle also carried the first American piece of the ISS into orbit, it was called the unity node. There are currently three spacecraft left: Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavor. There are two more launches left, STS-133: Discovery on September 16th and STS-134: Atlantis in November.


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