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.
Ringling Brothers Announce Early Retirement for Their Star Performers #Elephants
The team of 11 traveling elephants that perform in the Ringling Bros.’ “Greatest Show on Earth” will retire two years earlier than expected. In 1882 Barnum and Bailey circus, which later merged with Ringling, trained its first elephant performer, “Jumbo.” But for decades animal rights activists have protested the circus training methods of the highly intelligent and sensitive animal. Last week the head of the company said and the general public is starting to change their views, too, and the elephants will join 29 others in a 200-acre preserve in Florida this May.
Ground Control to Major Tim #Space
Tim Peake became the first British Astronaut to walk in space on Friday, as he joined NASA’s Tim Kopra on an assignment to repair part of the exterior of the International Space Station. Peake is from Chichester, England and became an officer in the British Army Air Corps before getting a degree in flight dynamics and evaluation from the University of Portsmouth in 2006. During the assignment, there were a few small alarms about a small rip in his glove and a glitch in his helmet, but in the end the project was a success.
Is the Next Ice Age on Delay? #EarthScience
Scientists in Germany have published new research that allows us to better predict future glacial cycles. Earth’s last eight ice ages are shown to have been caused by a relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide and solar radiation reaching earth’s surface, and this new research suggests that human activity, which adds CO2 to the environment, has put the next glacial period off by up to 100,000 years!
Spotted: The Brightest Supernova EVER #Space
A burst of light from brightest supernova ever seen reached the eyes of astronomers last week. When massive stars run out of fuel, they explode. This turns them into a supernova. For a few days, they produce as much light and heat as an entire galaxy. This one, named ASASSN-15lh, is luckily about 3.8 million light years away, but would have vaporized our entire solar system if it had been as close to us as Pluto is.
New Technology Developed to Help Bones Heal Themselves #HumanBody
Scientists are working on a new technology that will send molecules to broken bones to help them heal without surgery. Tiny polymer spheres would hold RNA (a sort of activator molecule), transfer it to the injury, and then dissolve once they get to the site, allowing the RNA to work it’s magic. The RNA would tell the existing cells “switch on” their bone-making abilities and begin generating new cells. This is a big step for the science of regenerative medicine.