News Wrap: Week of December 21st

by Elisabeth Morgan

Throughout the week we like to tweet #ShareWithKids when we find news that we think will interest your students (follow us on Twitter @Kids_Discover)! Here’s a recap of what’s going on now. Check back each week for more news in science and social studies, tailored for kids.


NASA Recruits New Astronauts #Space

Image via NASA

Image via NASA

NASA’s looking for new astronauts, and this group could be some of the first to go to Mars! Plans are in motion to travel to the red planet by 2033, so these hires will be specially trained for long-term space travel. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological science, computer science or mathematics, and they have better chances if they’ve logged 1,000 hours as a pilot. Although competition is fierce (only 8 of 6,300 are chosen) NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman said that astronauts are just ‘normal people’ with big dreams. 


Chicago Students Save Their Librarian’s Job #Reading

Image via Twitter/CTSCampaign

Image via Twitter/CTSCampaign

In early December, librarian Sarah Sayigh was notified that her job would be terminated after winter break because of school-wide budget cuts. Devastated, her high school students staged a protest that involved a hallway “read-in” and cries of support on social media, with hashtags #SaveOurLibrary and #SaveSayigh. An anonymous donor responded to the students, making it possible for her to stay until the end of the year. Sayigh, who helps student with after school homework, research and writing skills, is one of only three remaining official librarians in the 46-school district.


King Tut’s Beard Reattached #AncientEgypt



King Tut’s iconic golden mask is back on display at a museum in Cairo, Egypt, after 9 weeks of intensive repair. Attendants had accidentally knocked off his beard while they were adjusting the lights in the exhibit, and their hasty repair that followed left the mask with an ugly ring of epoxy (glue). It took historians over a month to remove the epoxy, using only high-heat and wooden tools so they wouldn’t damage the ancient artifact. In ancient Egypt, royalty normally wouldn’t have facial hair, but the false beard was symbolic of a connection with the gods



Star Wars Gets Rave Reviews #Movies

Image by Allstar/DISNEY/LUCASFILM via the Guardian

Image by Allstar/DISNEY/LUCASFILM via the Guardian

The long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out on Thursday, raking in $57 million on opening night! The majority of reviews have been very positive, saying that the new movie does a good job of blending classic characters with new excitement and visual effects.  “When Han Solo and Chewie come on, I had a feeling in the cinema I haven’t had since I was 16: not knowing whether to burst into tears or into applause,” said the Guardian. Want to start from the beginning of the saga? Check out this guide on the Correct Order to Watch the Star Wars Movies.


The Science of Sleep #HumanBody

Narongdej Srithiyoth_Shutterstock

Narongdej Srithiyoth/Shutterstock

A new study into the differences between primates, or any member of the group of animals that includes human beings, apes, and monkeys, shows that the amount of sleep they get per night roughly correlates to their body size, with one exception… us. There’s a big difference in how humans and other primates sleep. Humans require the least amount of sleep (about seven hours compared to chimps’ 11.5 hours) but we have the highest percentage of time in the REM cycle, or periods of dreaming. The benefits of REM sleep include better memory and reasoning, so sleep could be the key to what gives us higher levels of thinking. 


Have an awesome week!


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