Especially for Families
by Fiona Heath
From Motherly magazine, 5 Ways to Raise a Brilliantly Curious Kid by Amy Miller.
Julian is a Mermaid by Julia Love is a lesson in letting our kids’ curiosity
develop and not squelching it based on our own beliefs and biases. Julian is fascinated with the elaborate dress of some women and wants to dress just like one of them. So, he creates his own mermaid dress.
Zoey is a super curious young scientist on a mission to help magical creatures. This is a beginning reader chapter book that can also be read aloud in a few sessions. If you enjoy the first story, there are more titles in the wonderful series too.
Papa’s Mechanical Fish is a story of a man and his family who are spurred by curiosity. An always curious mind can lead to great discoveries. In this case, the man designs a submarine big enough for his whole family to take a trip.
Scientists need a strong sense of curiosity. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty is the story of using the power of curiosity and science to solve questions about the world.
This story explores the fascinating robot that is currently traveling across
Mars sending information back to scientists in the United States. It is aptly
Have you ever taken a walk and been curious about what is going on in each home as you pass? Windows by Julia Denos works off that premise. A young boy takes his dog for a walk through the neighbourhood early in the evening.
The lights in the windows as he passes reveal small snippets of what is going on in each house.
Things We Can’t Explain
Sources used for this story include: “Raising Heaven: Where Rocks Go Wandering,” by Tim Cahill (National Geographic).
Too many public sightings of ball lightning have been reported to write it off as fictitious. It is literally a blazing ball of lightning that usually appears during a thunderstorm. What makes it incredibly intriguing is that these burning spheres are actually mobile, with seemingly unexplainable powers.
People have seen ball lightning pass through blocks of metal, wood, and even buildings. They are accompanied by strong sulfurous odor, and have a lifespan ranging from one second to a minute. Ball lightning can cause major damage, such as burning objects in its path. So far, the most popular scientific explanation says that lightning balls are made of vaporized silicon. In 2012, scientists in China captured video and spectrographic images of ball lightning for the first time. The images have allowed scientists to determine what these balls of fire are made of, so, we may be close to an explanation.
Sometimes before, during, or after a large earthquake, mysterious, flashing lights are seen in the sky. People have described them as blue, white, multicolored, or sometimes every colour in the spectrum. These earthquake lights usually last only a few seconds, though some have been observed for
as long as a minute. Earthquake lights have been observed throughout history, with the earliest report dating back to 373 BCE. The 20th century provides the majority of reports. After the 1930 earthquake at Japan’s Idu
Peninsula, more than 1,500 people told researchers they had seen mysterious lights. After the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China, people reported a “colorful, flashing light display [that] was seen in the sky 200 miles away.” Scientists began to take earthquake lights seriously in the 1960s, when they were first photographed. More recently, people have captured earthquake lights on video. Many wonder whether earthquake lights can be taken as a warning that an earthquake is about to happen.
In 2010, Chilean journalist Cecilia Lagos witnessed earthquake lights. Later, she said: I saw through my window, while I was still in bed, I saw the sky changing colors, it was absolutely surreal. I really thought it was the end of the world…I don’t know I hope you understand me because I’m not exaggerating really because I saw it through my window like that. That was the most terrifying thing seeing the sky changing colours with the terribly, amazingly strong movement of the earth, I thought, ok…this is mother earth.
An old, Japanese haiku poem (author unknown) hints at the connection of these lights to movement under the earth’s surface:
The earth speaks softly
To the mountain
And lights the sky.
Some think that certain types of rock grinding against one another may generate electrical charges that make the sky glow. But science does not yet know with certainty the cause of earthquake lights.
Another geological mystery is sliding rocks, also called sailing stones or moving rocks. These are large, heavy rocks that appear to move, apparently on their own, along the smooth ground of a valley. No one has seen the rocks move. We know they have moved because of the long tracks they leave in the ground. In Death Valley, Arizona, a large, flat area known as Racetrack Playa has many of these moving rocks. A writer in National Geographic magazine said: I am thinking specially of an area in the northwest section of Death Valley called the Racetrack, where, inexplicably, …rocks as big as microwave ovens go zipping across the desiccated mud for distances of more than half a mile (880 m). The evidence is all there: deep tracks in the surface, with a rock at the end. One concludes, reluctantly, that the rocks somehow traveled a couple of hundred yards, leaving a telltale trail behind. There are over 150 of these roving rocks. But no one has ever seen them move.
No one has seen the rocks move, nor is there evidence that an animal or human moves them—so, how why do the rocks move?
At Racetrack Playa, many curious visitors have observed the stones and the tracks they leave. The tracks can be hundreds of feet long and are typically less than an inch deep. The stones appear to move every two or three years and most tracks develop over three or four years. Rocks with rough bottoms leave straight tracks, while those with smooth bottoms seem to wander. Rocks sometimes turn over, exposing another edge to the ground and making a different-looking track.
Sometimes two rocks seem to have started together, traveling side by side, until one abruptly took another direction, to the left, to the right, or even backward. Because no one has witnessed the rocks moving, the speed the rocks travel at are not known. One theory suggests that the rocks are so porous that there is air inside them. On a sub-zero night, the air inside a rock will compress. The next day, the intense desert heat causes the air inside to once again expand, which pushes the rocks along their paths.
Gravity is not the cause. Sliding rock trails go in a variety of different directions, often uphill. Many people believe that strong winds move the rocks when the weather is wet. The dried mud at Racetrack Playa becomes slippery when wet and can sometimes freeze overnight into sheets of ice. But some of the rocks weigh as much as a human, which some researchers feel is too heavy for the area’s wind to move, even across a very slippery playa. People have tried to move the rocks when the ground is slippery, using ropes, and have failed.
In ancient Greece there were two brothers named Epimetheus and Prometheus. They upset the gods and annoyed the most powerful of all Gods, Zeus, in particular. This was not the first-time humans had upset Zeus, and once before, as punishment, he had taken from humans the ability to make fire. This meant they could no longer cook their meat and could not keep themselves warm.
However, Prometheus was clever and he knew that, on the Isle of Lemnos, lived Hephaestos, the blacksmith. He had a fire burning to keep his forge hot. Prometheus travelled to Lemnos and stole fire from the blacksmith. Zeus was furious and decided that humans had to be punished once and for all for their lack of respect.
Zeus came up with a very cunning plan to punish the two brothers. With the help of Hephaestos, he created a woman from clay. The goddess Athene then breathed life into the clay, Aphrodite made her very beautiful and Hermes taught her how to be both charming and deceitful. Zeus called her
Pandora and sent her as a gift to Epimetheus.
His brother Prometheus had warned him not to accept any gifts from the gods but Epimetheus was completely charmed by the woman and thought Pandora was so beautiful that she could never cause any harm, so he agreed to marry her.
Zeus, pleased that his trap was working, gave Pandora a wedding gift of a beautiful box. There was one very, very important condition however, that she must never opened the box. Pandora was very curious about the contents of the box but she had promised that she would never open it. All she could think about was; what could be in the box? She could not understand why someone would send her a box if she could not see what was in it. It seemed to make no sense at all to her and she could think of nothing else but of opening the box and unlocking its secrets. This was just
what Zeus had planned.
Finally, Pandora could stand it no longer. When she knew Epimetheus was out of sight, she crept up to the box, took the huge key off the high shelf, fitted it carefully into the lock and turned it. But, at the last moment, she felt a pang of guilt, imagined how angry her husband would be and quickly locked the box again without opening the lid and put the key back where she had found it. Three more times she did this until, at last, she knew she had to look inside or she would go completely mad!
She took the key, slid it into the lock and turned it. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and slowly lifted the lid of the box. She opened her eyes and looked into the box, expecting to see fine silks, gowns or gold bracelets and necklaces or even piles of gold coins.
But there was no gleam of gold or treasure. There were no shining bracelets and not one beautiful dress! The look of excitement on her face quickly turned to one of disappointment and then horror. For Zeus had packed the box full of all the terrible evils he could think of. Out of the box poured
disease and poverty. Out came misery, out came death, out came sadness – all shaped like tiny buzzing moths.
The creatures stung Pandora over and over again and she slammed the lid shut. Epimetheus ran into the room to see why she was crying in pain. Pandora could still hear a voice calling to her from the box, pleading with her to be let out. Epimetheus agreed that nothing inside the box could be worse than the horrors that had already been released, so they opened the lid once more.
All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touching the wounds created by the evil creatures, and healing them. Even though Pandora had released pain and suffering upon the world, she had also allowed Hope to follow them.
Sesame Street Follow Your Curiosity
The short video below would make a great example of how curiosity overcame fear and became open mindedness to solve a problem. Read more about Richard Turere’s experience here.
October 01, 2019
March 29, 2019
March 29, 2019