Everything around us is matter. Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space like air, food and paper. Matter exists in three major states: solid, liquid and gas. All matter is made up of atoms. How tightly the atoms are packed together determines something’s state. In solids, atoms are tightly packed together, and in gases the atoms are very loosely held together. Atoms are always in motion, so the closer the atoms are packed together, the less they can move. The less they move, the less energy and heat are generated by the movement. This movement is the reason that solids are colder, and gases are warmer. Liquids are somewhere in the middle. Warming or cooling matter can make it change its state. Solids hold their shape at room temperature. Liquids can take on the shape of a container – like water in a glass. Gases do not have a shape and can move around freely. Changing states of matter is also called a phase change. Heat and pressure can both affect the state of matter. Different matter changes states under different conditions. Some matter, like water, is easy to change in daily life. At room temperature, nitrogen is usually a gas, but it can be turned into a liquid at -320 degrees. There are more than three types of matter, but the others only occur in extreme circumstances. Plasma is an ionized gas. When matter is heated to a very high temperature, it changes the shape of the atom and makes it very unpredictable. Beam is a newly discovered state that isn’t understood, but it is different from the other states because atoms work together instead of randomly moving. To learn more about matter visit the sites below. Easy Science For Kids Science Trek Cool Kid Facts
Even though the presidential election was last November, the new president does not take office until Jan. 20. That might seem like a long time, but it gives the outgoing president time to take care of unfinished business and the incoming president time to prepare for the job. The day the new president takes office is called Inauguration Day. It involves a short ceremony where the president takes an oath, making a promise to the country. The new vice president is typically sworn in before the president, who takes the Oath of Office promptly at noon. The oath states: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Jan. 20, 2020, marks the 58th presidential inauguration in our nation’s history. The first Inauguration Day was held in New York City in 1789. Washington D.C. was not yet designated as the nation’s capital. That happened in July of 1790. But in 1789, President George Washington was sworn in on the second-floor balcony of Federal Hall in New York. Both Houses of Congress were there. The Constitution doesn’t have a lot to say about Inauguration Day, except that the president is required to take the oath of office. Now, most of the day’s events are driven by tradition. While each first family has things that make Inauguration Day special to them, here are some events that are common on Inauguration Day. Most incoming presidents and vice presidents attend a worship service with their spouses the morning of Inauguration Day. is tradition was started in 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The outgoing president rides with the incoming president to the swearing-in ceremony. The vice president is sworn in first. While the presidential oath is in the Constitution, the vice presidential oath is not. The Constitution only says that the vice president and other government officials should take an oath that upholds the Constitution. Next, the president is sworn in. ere have been 57 Presidential Inaugurations. After being sworn in, the new president gives a speech called the Inaugural Address. After the inaugural ceremony, the outgoing president and first lady leave. This is usually a quiet part of the day so as not to take away from the celebration of the incoming president. Since 1953, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies hosts an Inaugural Luncheon for the incoming president, vice president and guests. After the luncheon, there is an Inaugural Parade. is tradition started in 1841. The day concludes with the Inaugural Ball (usually several of them). President James Madison and his wife Dolley hosted the first Inaugural Ball in 1809.
Think how boring the world would be if all the flowers were one color or if there was only one kind of bird or if every street in every town was exactly the same. What if you could only eat carrot soup for every meal? That would get boring pretty fast. Variety keeps things interesting, but it is important, too. Take people for example. We are all unique and that is a good thing because it means we have different strengths that we can use to impact our world. Some people are great at math, which is important because they can design safe buildings, cars and other things. Other people are wonderful singers, and there is a role for them to play in the world, too. They bring joy to the people around them. Sometimes being different doesn’t always feel great, but it shouldn’t stop you from reaching for the stars. Here are some people who didn’t let being different stop them from succeeding. • Kyle Maynard was born with no arms and no legs, but he is a mixed martial arts fighter and competes against other fighters who do have arms and legs. Maynard has also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro without any help. He is the first- ever person with no arms and no legs to do that. • Helen Keller was blind and deaf, but she loved learning. She was the first blind and deaf person to get a college degree. • Ralph Braun was born with muscular dystrophy. He founded the Braun Corporation, a company that makes wheelchair-accessible vehicles. • Stephen Hawking is one of the most well-known physicists in the world. He was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21. • Performer Solange Knowles and actor Will Smith both have ADHD, but are successful in the entertainment industry. • Marla Runyan is blind, but she loves to run. In fact, she was the rst legally blind athlete to ever compete in the Olympics. • Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity, but he had a learning disorder. • Franklin Roosevelt had polio when he was a child and was con ned to a wheelchair. He was the 32nd president of the United States.
James Madison drafted the U.S. Constitution, helped write the Federalist Papers and strongly supported the Bill of Rights. He was a strong influence in the founding of America. His passion for freedom and love for his country was no secret. Madison served in several capacities before he was elected president in 1808 with close to 70 percent of the electoral votes. Once elected president, he served two terms. Madison was also the first president to ask Congress for permission to declare war. You see, even though the United States was an independent country, there was still tension between America and Great Britain. The disagreement was mostly about trade. British ships were attacking American trade vessels and forcing the crews from those ships to serve in Britain’s Royal Navy in a war it was having with France. Close to 10,000 American sailors were forced into the British Navy. In protest, America declared War on Britain in June of 1812. During the war, America and Britain fought at sea, attacking each other’s ships. They fought on the U.S.-Canadian front in both land and sea battles. They fought in the Southern states, too. While this was going on, the British were still fighting a separate war with the French. So while America saw this as a war, to the British it was considered more of a skirmish. Nevertheless, the British put up a fight. They invaded Maryland in 1814 and headed for Washington D.C. When they got there, they burned down the White House, the Capitol building and many other official structures. It was during this raid that President Madison’s wife left her own belongings behind and instead took a portrait of George Washington with her as she fled the White House. It was returned after the war and still hangs in theWhite House today. The War of 1812 officially ended on Dec. 24, 1814, when both sides signed and ratified the Treaty of Ghent, in which Britain agreed to return occupied land, prisoners of war and ships they’d captured. The two countries resumed trade after that, too. The treaty was signed in Belgium, and the only way to get the news to the battlefield was in person. So it took some time. While dignitaries were on their way to America with the news, Andrew Jackson and his soldiers had a raging battle with the British in Louisiana at the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson’s soldiers won the that fight. It was the last large battle before news of the treaty made it to the U.S.
One of the most important parts of having a democracy is letting the people of the nation express their opinions to the government. Even more important is that these opinions have the power to drive change. Democracy first started in Athens in the fifth century B.C. The people of Athens created a government called a direct democracy where citizens attended debates and then voted on what they wanted the city to do. This gave citizens the power to directly control their government instead of the government controlling the people. The idea of giving the people a voice through voting is still at the heart of democracies today, even though things are a little different now. In fact, every democratic government has a little different take on the system. America is a representative democracy. This means that citizens vote to elect representatives and then trust these elected officials to make the important decisions for them. We do this because it would be impossible and expensive for every American citizen to vote on every single important decision the government makes. The way we elect these important officials is also important because votes are used differently in different countries. • The American system of counting votes is called First Past the Post. • It is also called simple majority voting. • Citizens cast their votes by marking their favorite candidate on a ballot. • The marks are counted. • The candidate with the most votes wins. • Only one candidate wins. Most European countries have a different style of counting votes. They also have representative democracies because they elect officials to make important decisions for them, but the way that they count votes to elect these people is different. • They use proportional representation. • Just like in America, citizens mark their favorite choices on a ballot. • The marks are counted and there are multiple winners. • If one party gets 50 percent of the votes, then they will get 50 percent of the seats. • But if another party gets 20 percent of the votes, then they will get 20 percent of the seats. • Instead of just representing what the majority of people want, this system tries to represent everyone’s opinions.
Imagine walking along the sidewalk and suddenly the ground drops away! Where the road or sidewalk used to be, there is a hole instead. This sudden disappearance of land is called a cover-collapse sinkhole. The other type of sinkhole is a cover-subsidence sinkhole. The second type is less drastic and less dangerous. The ground slowly disappears or sinks over a long period of time. Depending on the situation, sinkholes can be very different. They can be just a few feet deep and wide to hundreds of feet deep and wide. In cities, these big sinkholes can make entire cars or buildings disappear. In 2010, a sinkhole in Guatemala was so big (65 feet across by 100 feet deep) it swallowed a 30-story building! • Sinkholes can be caused by humans and by nature. • They are most common in “Karst Terrain.” • Karst Terrain happens when groundwater naturally dissolves rock underneath the surface of the land. Large caverns sometimes form underneath the land, and when they can no longer support the surface, it collapses. • The bigger the cavern, the more dangerous the sinkhole. • It can take a long time for these sinkholes to appear. • The process for creating sinkholes is called erosion. • Erosion happens when the earth gradually moves or is destroyed by wind or water. • Usually, people think of erosion as something that happens on the earth’s surface along beaches or mountains. • Erosion can also happen underground. It can happen anywhere there is water or wind. • If water is acidic, it can dissolve rock quickly. • The more acidic the water, the faster the rock will dissolve. • Carbonate rocks like limestone are chalk-like and commonly dissolve to form sinkholes. Humans can also contribute to erosion and to creating sinkholes. Common causes are mining, old sewers collapsing and pumping ground water. When humans change how the water moves under the ground, it can change the ground as well. Also, heavy buildings may make a sinkhole appear because the buildings are too heavy for the surface soil to support. Sometimes in urban areas, people can predict sinkholes, but usually, they are a surprise. This makes them very dangerous in crowded cities. They can also have long-term effects when they destroy parts of cities. These collapses can release toxic chemicals into the groundwater that people use for drinking water.
The original 13 colonies were settlements created by the British. On large ships they brought over families and supplies to build new homes in an unfamiliar land. Many people left England and headed to America because they hoped to start a new life. England was crowded and didn’t have enough land to support everyone. It was a very competitive and difficult life. So instead, brave families decided to explore a brand new continent. Their settlements were called colonies. They were established in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the Revolutionary War, these small colonies became a single nation: the United States of America. The English were not the first people to try to settle in the New World. The French, Spanish, Dutch and Russians also tried, but the English were the most successful. • The 13 colonies are Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. • The very first colonists lived in Jamestown, Virginia. • The colonies had governments within America, but the British were technically in charge. • The trip from England to America took about two and a half months by boat. • The colonies were divided into three groups: The New England Colonies, the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies. • The very first attempts at colonization were failures. • Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution — making it the first state to join the United States of America. • Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I. • Jamestown was the first capital of Virginia; it was moved to Richmond in 1779. • Jamestown was made of 104 colonists who landed in April 1607. • Many came to America in search of religious freedom. • The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620. • Most families were very large — often with six or more kids. • Georgia was named after King George III. • One of the first things colonists did when they arrived was start farming so that they would have food for the winter. • Common crops were corn, wheat, rice, barley, oats, beans, pumpkins and squash.
Fossil Fuel: noun – a fuel (as coal, oil or natural gas) that is formed in the earth from plant or animal remains. Fossil fuels are an important part of everyday life. These resources — coal, oil and natural gas — are currently the main sources of the world’s energy, although wind, nuclear, hydro and solar power are also significant energy sources. We use fossil fuels to power our homes, our vehicles, businesses and more, yet they are a nonrenewable resource, which means they will eventually run out. That is why it is important to continue exploring alternative sources of energy and not waste the resources we have. Let’s take a look at the different fossil fuels and the ways we use them. Oil Oil is the world’s primary source of fuel for transportation. Most cars, trucks, trains, planes and boats run on gasoline or some other petroleum product that comes from oil. Most oil is pumped out of the ground, although there are new technologies that make it possible to extract oil from shale and tar sands. Once oil is out of the ground, it is refined to create fuel oil, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas and other nonfuel products such as pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Coal Coal is used to generate electricity. In the United States in 2014, almost 40 percent of electric power in the came from coal. Coal is mined from the earth. Coal mining releases a lot of pollutants into the air, including acid rain-inducing sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury, which can also destroy vegetation and pollute rivers and streams with waste. The coal industry is looking for new ways to mine this resource without hurting the environment including a process called carbon capture and storage. Natural Gas In 2014, 27 percent of the energy used in the U.S. came from natural gas. This resource is mostly used to produce heat and electricity for buildings or for industrial processes. It is also used to make fertilizer, paints and plastics. One thing that many people like about natural gas is that it burns cleaner than coal so it does not cause as much pollution.
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased a massive amount of land from France in a transaction called the Louisiana Purchase. For 68 million Francs, or $15,000,000, America gained 828,000 square miles of land. This seems like a large amount of money, but it turned out to be less than 3 cents per acre. After acquiring the new land, the next challenge was to explore all of it. In 1804, President Jefferson assigned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery to travel across the new addition to the nation. • The Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the nation. • It eventually became parts of 15 states. • The modern states that were part of the purchase are Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana. • The first state to be admitted into the Union from the Louisiana Purchase was Louisiana, the 18th state. • Lewis was Thomas Jefferson’s secretary. • The expedition started in St. Louis. • It ended when they returned to St. Louis after reaching the Pacific Ocean. • Sacagawea was a Shoshone Indian. She served as an interpreter and guide for the group. • The only person to die on the expedition was Sergeant Charles Foyd. Historians believe he died of a burst appendix. • Sacagawea brought her newborn son Jean Baptiste on the expedition • When she died in 1812, Clark adopted her children. • The expedition was made up of 40 men. • It took a year and a half to reach the Pacific Ocean and six months to return home. • The expedition group was called the Corps of Discovery. • Congress gave the Corps of Discovery $2,500. • While exploring, the men recorded information about plants, animals, people and land that they encountered. • When they reached the Pacific Ocean, winter was coming. So they built Fort Clatsop and waited out the cold in what is now Oregon. • The expedition traveled about 8,000 miles in all.
Scientists today know a lot about how and why humans – and most all living things for that matter – are the way we are. The secrets in genes and DNA that used to be a mystery are being unlocked at a quick pace. We no longer wonder why one person has blue eye and another has brown eyes. We know of many diseases that are passed down through families and why. We breed animals and plants for specific traits like size and color. It is truly amazing what we know about how life and living things work. It wasn’t like that in the 1800s. That’s when Gregor Mendel was alive. Mendel was a scientist. He loved math and science. Although his father wanted him to run the family farm, Mendel joined a monastery instead. One of his favorite things to do there was work in the garden. It was through experiments in this garden at the monastery that Mendel discovered the basic principles of heredity. His findings were considered so significant that he is known as the father of modern genetics. So what did he learn that set the field of genetic study in motion? He used pea plants to show that certain inheritable traits in pea plants follow a pattern. It may not sound like much now, but by cross-fertilizing pea plants with opposite traits (he mixed tall with short, smooth with wrinkled, etc.) he was able to show that there are dominant and recessive traits that are passed from parents to offspring. That bit of information turned out to be a building block for many scientists that went on to study biology, botany and many other life sciences.
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