Mocomi TimePass The Magazine – Issue 26

How do duck feathers stay dry? Are they waterproof? Open up Mocomi Timepass Issue 26 and find out! Every issue has something fun for everyone! In each magazine you will find folktales, trivia, puzzles, health tips, jokes and much more!How do duck feathers stay dry? Are they waterproof? Open up Mocomi Timepass Issue 26 and find out! Every issue has something fun for everyone! In each magazine you will find folktales, trivia, puzzles, health tips, jokes and much more!

Cecilia Payne Biography

Who is Cecilia Payne?

Cecilia Payne was an astronomer who discovered that stars were made of helium and hydrogen, thus changing the way astronomers understood the universe. It was previously believed that Earth, the Sun and stars were elementally very similar. Her work was initially rejected as it questioned long held beliefs in astronomy.

Education –

Payne studied astronomy at a time when there were very few women in the field. She began her journey when she was granted a scholarship to Cambridge University to study physics. After finding her options for the future limited, she moved to Harvard University and became the first woman to receive a PhD in Astronomy from Radcliffe College.

Research and Work –

Her analysis of variable stars laid the groundwork for all studies that have been conducted since. She showed a far greater understanding of the universe than most of her male counterparts at the time. Her work was rewarded when she became the first woman to Chair the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University.

Healthy Yet Tasty Soups

Soups are an effective yet delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your child’s diet. By adding herbs and flavourings to soups, it is easy to amplify the flavour profile of the soup – making it a hearty option for dinner.

The monsoons and flu season come hand in hand and it’s important to try and incorporate vegetables that boost immunity into meals, to keep the sniffles at bay. Here are two healthy and delicious options for a tasty weeknight dinner.

Carrot, Tumeric and Ginger Soup

(Recipe serves 3)

  • In a large pot, lightly fry one chopped onion, a few cloves of garlic, 1″ piece of ginger chopped and 1″ piece of fresh turmeric chopped.
  • You can choose to incorporate fresh herbs such as sage or thyme at this point of time as well.
  • When the onions are soft and translucent, add 500 gms of carrots that have been peeled and chopped into chunks.
  • Fry the carrots for 2 minutes and then pour 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock into the pot.
  • Bring the stock to a boil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the carrot is cooked through.
  • Cool and blend in batches. If you are in the mood for a creamier soup, add 1/4 cup of cream while reheating the soup. Coconut milk is also a great option if you’re vegan.

Creamy Sweet Potato Soup

(Recipe serves 3)

  • In a large pot, lightly fry one chopped onion, 200 gms chopped carrots and 700 gms peeled and chopped sweet potatoes.
  • After 5 minutes, add 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock and 100 ml of coconut milk.
  • This soup is a great vehicle for warmer spices such as ground cumin, ground coriander and ground cinnamon. Add 1/2 teaspoon of each of these spices as well as chilly flakes as per your taste.
  • Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Cool and blend in batches.

You can add toasted garlic bread alongside the soup to make the meal heavier or even add a handful a boiled macaroni to the soups to make them a heartier meal. Soups are versatile and you can take the opportunity to add spices, herbs are flavourings as per your choice.

Essentials of a First Aid Kit

Home first aid kits are a must in households with children. In case of an emergency, a readily available first aid kit plays a crucial role in helping those who are injured or in discomfort. A first aid kit can provide immediate relief or stabilize the patient before they are taken to the hospital (if need be). It can be used to treat minor injuries such as –

  • Burns
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Stings
  • Splinters
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Fevers, colds and allergies

These are some of the minor injuries children and adults alike incur at home and it is better to have medicines available at hand instead of rushing around at the last moment.

Remember to keep first aid kits in an airtight box to ward away dampness and in a cool, dark and dry place. It is best to keep them out of the hands of young children to avoid accidental ingestion of medicines. Check the first aid kit from time to time to throw away expired medication.

It is also important to make sure your children have memorized important phone numbers for emergency services along with the numbers of other family members in case of emergency. Below are some items which are handy to keep at home –

THE BASICS –

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves
  • Cotton wool and earbuds (to dab on small amounts of ointment!)
  • Safety pins
  • Medical tape
  • Thermometer

FOR CUTS AND MINOR SCRAPES –

  • Different shapes and sizes of band-aids
  • Gauze pads
  • Antiseptic solution (like Dettol or Savlon)
  • Antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin ointment)

FOR SPRAINS AND TWISTS –

  • Crepe bandages
  • An ice pack in the freezer
  • Pain relief gel

FOR ALLERGIES –

  • Antihistamine syrup or tablet

When it comes to fevers, colds and sore throats, it is always better to take your child to a doctor and be prescribed the appropriate medication. What you may feel is just a cold, maybe symptomatic of a larger flu or a viral. It is better to receive the advice of a trained professional rather than self-medicate.

First aid boxes should not be limited to the home. When undertaking long journeys, it is also important to carry a basic first-aid kit along with tablets for nausea and rehydration sachets.

London Eye Facts

What is the London Eye?

The London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, on the South Bank of the River Thames.

It was formerly known as the Millennium Wheel or the revolving observation wheel.

What is the height of the London Eye?

At a height of 443 feet(135 meters), the London Eye was the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, before it was surpassed by the Star of Nanchang, in Nanchang, China.

Who built the London Eye?

The London Eye was originally conceived by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects in 1993, in response to a competition organised by the Sunday Times and Great Britain’s Architecture Foundation. The competition was organised to build a new monument in London, to commemorate the new Millennium.

It was finally built by the architects themselves and was funded by British Airways, Tussauds Group and the architect couple themselves.

How long did it take to build the London Eye?

London Eye was constructed over a period of two years. Construction began in 1998 and it was inaugurated by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair on December 31, 1999.

It admitted its first paying passenger until March 9, 2000.

4 Fun facts about the London Eye

1. The 32 capsules on the London Eye are representative of the 32 London boroughs and each one weighs as much as 20,000 pounds, approx But they are numbererd 1 to 33, avoiding the unlucky number 13.
2. The London Eye can carry 800 people each rotation.
3. The capsules travel at a pace of 26 cms per second, which is really slow.
4. The London Eye is not a ferris wheel, as it is supported by an A frame on just one side, and the carriages are outside the wheel rim instead of hanging low.

Combustion and Flame

What is combustion?

Combustion or burning is a high-temperature exothermic redox chemical reaction between a fuel (the reductant) and an oxidant, usually atmospheric oxygen, that produces oxidised, often gaseous mixture termed as smoke. In some reactions, water is also produced along with smoke and other chemicals.

Types of combustion

Combustion is categorised as the following :

1. Complete and Incomplete Combustion

Complete Combustion –

  • In complete combustion, the reactant burns in oxygen, producing a limited number of products.
  • When a hydrocarbon burns in oxygen, the reaction will yield carbon dioxide and water.
  • When elements are burned, the products are primarily the most common oxides. Carbon will give carbon dioxide, sulphur will give sulphur dioxide.
  • Nitrogen is not a combustible substance when oxygen is the oxidant, but small amounts of various nitrogen oxides form when air is the oxidant.

Incomplete Combustion –

  • Incomplete combustion will occur when there is not enough oxygen to allow the fuel to react completely, to produce carbon dioxide and water.
  • It also occurs if external devices or sources does not allow the combustion to take place completely. Carbon and carbon monoxide are the by products and not carbon dioxide.
  • Certain substances like diesel, oil, plastic, tyres, coal or wood, pyrolysis occurs before combustion. Pyrolysis is the process where complex molecules or polymers are broken down into simpler molecules. Pyrolysis generally occurs without oxygen. It is used in waste management to alter the waste generated into a more usable material.
  • Incomplete combustion adds harmful compounds to the environment, in the form of smog and other contaminants.

2. Smouldering

This type of combustion, though categorised by the presence of incandescence and smoke, produces no flame.

A relatively slow process, smouldering occurs between the oxygen in air and the surfaces of solid fuels such as coal, peat, wood, tobacco and synthetic foams. These solid fuels glow when smouldering, indicating temperatures in excess of one thousand degrees celcius. Sometimes it occurs for some time in a hot environment, despite lack of oxygen. Although under such conditions, it produces high amounts of carbon monoxide.

3. Diffusion Combustion

Diffusion combustion results from the transfer of fuel vapours and oxygen across a concentration gradient into a reaction area that is characterised by high temperatures and correct proportion of reactants. Vapours may come initially from a solid fuel such as candle wax, a liquid fuel like alcohol or kerosene or a gaseous fuel like methane, or even the ordinary LPG cylinders we use in our homes.

The flames produced from diffusion combustion begins as smooth, laminar flame, increasing in turbulence as it grows and consumes more fuel and oxygen.

4. Rapid Combustion

Rapid combustion releases massive amounts of energy in the form of heat and light as is the case with fire. In some cases, combustion occurs so fast that large amounts of gases are released, along with heat and light, causing a significant pressure shift in the surrounding atmosphere. This pressure shift, often accompanied by a very loud noise, is called an explosion.

Internal combustion engines convert the energy produced by rapid combustion into usable kinetic energy.

5. Spontaneous Heating and Combustion

Spontaneous heating and combustion differs from most other types of combustion in that no external ignition source is required for it to proceed. An extremely slow process, spontaneous can take upto a few weeks. It consists of a gradual oxidation of certain material. As heat builds up, the rate of reaction increases, eventually causing smoldering or flaming combustion when the temperature rises. It may occur with petrochemicals, hydrocarbons, hay, cotton, etc.

What is a flame?

A flame is the visible gaseous part of a fire. It is caused by a highly exothermic reaction taking place in a thin zone.

Very hot flames are hot enough to have ionised gases as components, which may be considered plasma.

Structure of a candle flame

A candle flame consists of three zones.

  1. The innermost zone of a flame is dark or black and is the coldest part of the flame and is made of unburnt vapours of combustible material.
  2. The middle zone of a flame is yellow, bright and luminous. The fuel vapours burn partially in the middle zone, because there is not enough air for burning in this zone. The partial burning of fuel in the middle zone produces carbon particles. These carbon particles then leave the flame as smoke and soot. It has moderate temperature.
  3. The outer zone of the flame is blue. It is a non luminous zone. In this zone, complete combustion takes place, as it has enough supply of oxygen.

What is fuel?

Fuel maybe defined as any material that can be made to react with other substances, so that it releases chemical energy as heat.

Classification of fuels

1. Solid Fuel: Coal, wood, charcoal, peat and agricultural waste
2. Liquid Fuel: Kerosene, gasoline
3. Gaseous Fuel: Liquified Petroleum Gas, natural gas
4. Biofuels: Biofuel is defined as derived from biomass
5. Fossil Fuel: Fossils fuels are hydrocarbons, coal, petroleum, natural gas, coal. Fossils fuels are formed from plants dead and fossilised millions of years ago. They are non-renewable sources of energy

What are the characteristics of a good fuel?

The characteristics of a good fuel are :

  • High calorific value
  • Moderate ignition temperature
  • Low moisture content
  • Low noncombustible matter
  • Moderate velocity of combustion
  • Products of combustion not harmful
  • Low cost
  • Easy to transport
  • Combustion should be controllable
  • No spontaneous combustion
  • Low storage cost
  • Should burn in air with efficiency

Uses of combustion chemistry

The study of combustion chemistry helps us to design and monitor better and more efficient machines and engines. It also helps us to avoid using fuels that irreversibly damage our environment.

What is a clause?

Definition of clause

A clause is a group of words that has both a subject and a predicate. Every complete sentence is made of atleast one clause.

Examples: Michelle runs every morning.
The sentence has both :
Subject – Michelle
Predicate – runs
The sentence has one subject – Michelle. It speaks about Michelle, who runs every morning. So the sentence has one clause.

Different types of clauses with examples

Independent clause

These clauses can complete a sentence independently.

Examples
Tara is a marathon runner.
This sentence has one clause. It is a simple sentence. You don’t need another clause, to complete it to speak about Tara’s action.
If we need to describe more about Tara, then we need to add more clauses. This makes the sentence compound, complex or compound – complex. The clause that we add will then be a dependent clause or clauses.

Most sentence we use in our language are complex. These sentences are complex.
Michelle runs every morning, but she has never run a marathon.
Tara runs the marathon, because she is fit and strong.
It has one subject and two clause. Can you find them and identify which is the main clause and which is the sub-ordinate clause?

Michelle runs every morning, but she has never run a marathon.
Michelle runs every morning.
Answer : Main Clause
she has never run a marathon
Answer: Subordinate Clause

Tara runs the marathon, because she is fit and strong.
Tara runs the marathon
Answer : Main Clause
because she is fit and strong.
Answer : Subordinate Clause

Dependent clause

A dependent clause cannot complete a thought to be communicated on its own. It will need another clause to complete the sentence.

Dependent or sub-ordinate clause are of three types:

1. Noun clause

The noun clause plays the role of a noun in a sentence. Noun clauses contain a subject and a verb. They cannot stand on their own because they are not a complete thought and must be paired with the main clause. When using a noun clause, no commas are used.

Noun clause use words like Who, Whom, Whose, Which, Whoever, Whatever, Whenever, Whether, That if, What etc, to complete a thought when a single noun is not enough.

2. Adjective clause

The adjective clause plays the role like an adjective and modifies a noun or pronoun. it contains a subject and a verb that provides a description. Adjective clauses do not change the basic meaning of the sentence. They use commas if they are adding information to the sentence.

Adjective clause use words like That, When, Where, Who, Whom, Whose, Which and Why to provide information that is necessary for identifying the word it modifies. It provides additional meaning to a word which is already clear and always contains a subject and a verb.

3. Adverb clause

The adverb clause plays the role of modifying a verb, a clause, another adverb or any other phrase with the exception of determiners and adjectives that directly modify nouns.

Adverb clauses contain subordinate conjunctions that prevent them from containing complete thoughts and becoming full sentences. Adverb clause always answer the questions When, Why and How in a sentence.

Identify the type of clause

1. Is this the white dress you wore last week?
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

2. The doctor said she was ill and that she should take her medicine.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

3. You may practice piano till 7 pm daily.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adverb clause

4. Whatever you choose will be fine.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

5. The house that I once lived in is for sale.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

6. Please sit down whenever you drink water.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adverb clause

7. The lady who drives the red car lives next door.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

8. The magical frog disappeared whenever someone appeared.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – noun clause

9. They have a cat that likes boiled fish.
· Noun
· Adjective
· Adverb
Answer – adjective clause

Chemical Effects of Electric Current

What is electric current?

An electric current is the flow of electric charge. In electric circuits this charge is often carried by moving electrons, in a wire. It is either Direct Current (DC) or Alternating Current (AC).
Electric currents cause heating in certain metals like tungsten, which creates light in incandescent light bulbs. They also create magnetic fields, which are used in motors, inductors and generators.

The SI unit for measuring an electric current is the Ampere, which is the flow of electric charge across a surface at the rate of one coulomb per second. Electric current is measured using a device called an ammeter.

What happens when electric current is passed through a substance?

When electric current is passed through solids, it can either conduct the current, in which case, the material is a good conductor of electricity. At times, either magnetic effect, heat or light is generated.

Example : Iron, Copper, Gold, Platinum, Silver, Tungsten
Incase a solid doesn’t allow the current to pass through, it means it is a bad conductor or insulator of electricity.

Example : Wax, Wood, Plastic, Glass

When electric current passes through gases, light maybe generated.
When electric current is passed through a liquid (electrolyte), it causes a chemical reaction that separates ions. This process is known as Electrolysis.

What is electrolysis?

Electrolysis is the process when a liquid/solution of minerals, salt, etc, undergoes a chemical reaction when electrical current (Direct Current) is passed through it. A chemical reaction maybe defined as an exchange of ions. In this process ions are either absorbed or released.

Who coined the term electrolysis?

The term Electrolysis was coined by Michael Faraday, in 1832. He even discovered the two laws of Electrolysis, known as Faraday’s Law of Electrolysis.

Faraday’s 1st Law of electrolysis

According to this Law, the physical quantity of elements separated by passing electrical current through a molten or dissolved salt is proportional to the quantity of electric charge passed through the circuit.

Faraday’s 2nd Law of electrolysis

According to this Law, when the same amount of current is passed through different electrolytes/elements connected in series, the mass of substance liberated/deposited at the electrodes is directly proportional to their equivalent weight.

What are the uses of electrolysis?

Electrolysis is used in many industrial processes: separation of metals and minerals from ores and mineral salts coating of one metal with another, ie., electroplating

Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Who was Shaheed Bhagat Singh?

Shaheed Bhagat Singh, was born on the 28th of September, 1907 in the district of Lyallpur in Punjab to a Sikh family. An important person in India’s struggle movement against the British Raj, he was hanged at the age of 23, by the British.

Why is Jallianwala Bagh a significant event to Bhagat Singh?

Coming from a family of freedom fighters, Bhagat was a witness to the Jallianwala Massacre, at age 12. This violent act by the authoritites of the British Raj, where about 2000 Hindu, Muslim and Sikhs were cordoned off and open fired on, completely disturbed the young mind.

What influenced Bhagat Singh?

He was greatly attracted towards socialism. Believed to be one of India’s earliest Marxists, Bhagat Singh was one of the leaders and founders of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). Though he participated in the non-cooperation movement, he was disappointed when M K Gandhi called off the agitation after the Chauri Chaura incident. He studied at the National College in Lahore where he came into contact with other revolutionaries such as Bhagwati Charan, Sukhdev and others. He fled from home to escape early marriage and became a member of the organisation Naujawan Bharat Sabha.

What were the incidents leading to Bhagat Singh becoming a martyr?

In 1928, Bhagat Singh along with another freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad protested against the Simon Commission. In February 1928, The Simon Commission, a committee from England visited India. This commission was to decide the fate of Indians, the continuing rule of the British over India and other laws on governance and taxes and rights of Indians, without their say, including the right to living as secular people. The Indians mass boycotted and protested against this Commission.

Lala Lajpat Rai

During this protest Lala Lajpat Rai was killed in a lathi charge. This angered Bhagat Singh, who along with two other revolutionaries, Sukhdev and Rajguru decided to kill James A Scott but killed the British assistant superintendent, Saunders instead.

In April 1929, Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt threw bombs in the Central Assembly Hall. They did not flee after bombing the assembly and were arrested. Bhagat Singh refused to hire a defence council for himself.

On the 23rd of March 1931 Bhagat Singh was sentenced to death along with Rajguru and Sukhdev. Bhagat Singh was given the title ‘Shaheed’ meaning martyr.

History of the Atlas

Who doesn’t know the importance of maps and atlas in our lives? Without the atlas, the world of cartographers and geographers would come to a standstill!

What is an Atlas?

An atlas is an encyclopedia of the geographical, political and other educational information regarding each part of the world which serves a number of purposes. The world atlas that is today easily accessible in libraries and bookstores has had a very vivid history.

Story of Atlas the titan

Let us first acquaint you with an interesting ancient Greek tale. Greek mythology consists of innumerable tales about giant beings known as Titans.  One such Titan was Atlas. Once upon a time, it so happened that the Titans waged a war against the Greek gods and lost. All the Titans who participated in the war, then, had to face the gods’ wrath. Atlas’s punishment was to hold the sky on his shoulders.  Atlas had no choice but to keep holding the sky up for years and years.

One day, a hero named Hercules came to see him.  Hercules was looking for certain golden apples and only Atlas knew where they grew. So, Hercules requested Atlas to go and get the golden apples and offered to hold the sky in his absence. Atlas consented to help Hercules and went in search of the golden apples after shifting the sky on Hercules’ shoulders. He soon came back with the golden apples, but refused to take the sky back on his shoulders from Hercules.  Seriously, who would want to take back a job like that?  Hercules then thought of a trick and requested Atlas to hold the sky for a while so that he could just put some pads on his shoulders to be more comfortable. Atlas agreed to do so and as soon as Atlas took back the sky, Hercules vamoosed from there with the golden apples. And, thus, Atlas was once again forced to hold the sky on his shoulders till eternity.

About 500 years ago, in 1585, Gerardus Mercator, a renowned cartographer from Germany made a book of maps.  On the first page of the book, this famous story of Atlas was narrated.  Ever since then, a book of maps has been called an Atlas.

Story of Atlas the king

Another popular belief is that the land of Mauritania (In the continent of Africa) was once ruled by King Atlas, who was a great mathematician, philosopher and astronomer who had invented the first celestial globe. Gerardus Mercator first called his collection of maps as an ‘Atlas’ to honour this legendary king.

Whatever may be the truth, one thing is sure that the word ‘Atlas’ owes its origin to either of the above stories. Now let us proceed further to know how the ancient maps came into existence.

Story of ‘Atlas’ the book

It is said that the first printed collection of maps was produced in AD 150 by the renowned geographer of those times, Claudius Ptolemy. It contained 27 hand-drawn maps. Over a period of time, early cartographers and geographers started introducing corrections and reforms in the further reproductions of the maps. But the students of geography and cartography (art of making maps) faced a lot of problems while studying these maps because of the lack of uniformity of sizes of various maps. It was a tedious job to study maps as rolling and unrolling of large maps was very difficult.

Even in the early 1500s, the geography of the globe was rarely known to anyone. It was not clear whether America was a part of Asia, if there was a vast body of sea at the top of the world or if Australia was connected to Antarctica. The invention of airplanes was several centuries away, so there was no easy way of finding out what the world looked like from above.

Cartographers had to garner, assimilate and coordinate the geographical information provided by explorers and sailors who kept sailing around the world. They used to imagine themselves floating in the air, and looking down at the world from the heights of heaven. This earned them the ire of several religious sects. Maps were ripped apart, cartographers’ homes were vandalized and their lives were threatened. Some brave heart cartographers boldly faced such challenges and strove relentlessly to devise new ways of making maps.

Gerardus Mercator and Abraham Ortelius

Gerardus Mercator and Abraham Ortelius were two such men. They were German from origin and worked together as associates. Mercator was a mathematician and cartographer who was skilled in the art of making maps and had a penchant for creative thinking. Ortelius was a trained and highly skilled artist/craftsman. In 1554, they ventured into the business of buying and selling maps. Mercator used to collect and study the maps while Ortelius decorated their borders and mounted them on silk and rendered them in colour.

Mercator soon came up with his world map, but it had one nasty drawback. It was huge! It was meant only to be hung on a wall and was not portable. Every ancient map was more or less like that! In order to include the names of the smallest of places and make them readable as well, the map had to be large in size. It so happened that one day a client named Hooftman came to meet Mercator and Ortelius and asked them to devise a way to chop the huge silken sheets into smaller pieces and publish the map of the world in a book.

Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Ortelius collected the best maps around with the help of Mercator and created the book that their client Hooftman had asked for. In 1570, Ortelius made the first Atlas. However, he did not name it ‘Atlas’ at first. He called it ‘Theatrum Orbis Terrarum’ (theatre of the round world) and it had 53 uniform-sized maps in it.

This book of maps sold like hot cakes and several improved versions of this book soon hit the market. Ortelius became famous and people started respecting him for his cartography skills.
In 1585, Mercator published the first volume of his own world map in book form and titled this new book as ‘Atlas, or Cosmographical Meditations upon the Creation of the Universe’. The story of the mythological Atlas, as mentioned before, was written on the first page of this book. Now you know how the small book of maps that you every day carry in your school bag, was born.

Amphibians Facts and Characteristics

What are Amphibians?

The word ‘amphibian’ owes its origin to a Greek word that means ‘double life’. Amphibians generally spend the first part of their life in water and the latter part on land.

How are Amphibians classified?

Some members of this animal class are frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians.
Amphibians are four footed and have a bony skeleton with a backbone and are classified under vertebrates.
They are tetrapods (4 limbs) that facilitate moving about on land – these limbs evolved from the pectoral and pelvic fins.
The skin is thin, soft, glandular and lacks scales except in the caecilians; caecilians have skin with scales similar to those of fish.
Amphibians are ectothermic, which means they are unable to control or generate body heat and rely on external sources to moderate their body temperature.
They breathe usually with gills in the larval stage, replaced by lungs in the adult; and cutaneous(skin) respiration in many.
They have a three-chambered heart with two atria and one ventricle, a nervous system capable of perceiving pain and a well developed digestive and excretory system.

Why do Amphibian have thin and moist skin?

Most amphibians stay or grow near water. This is the reason their skin is moist and permeable. Their skin allows cutaneous respiration and the oxygen they receive this way allows it to travel directly to the bloodstream. This method of respiration is especially useful when the amphibian has to stay in burrows during unfavourable conditions or hibernation, generally during low water situation or seasonal changes.

What is the difference between Amphibian eggs and other vertebrates that lay eggs?

The eggs of amphibians are typically laid in water and hatch into free-living larvae that complete their development in water and later transform into either aquatic or terrestrial adults (metamorphosis). In many species of frog and in most lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae), direct development takes place, the larvae growing within the eggs and emerging as miniature adults.

7 Interesting facts about Amphibians

  1. Amphibians are a crucial link in the evolutionary chain between water dwelling fish and land dwelling vertebrates. They also have a primitive lung compared to other vertebrates, connecting them to the evolution of early vertebrates.
  2. The first amphibians appeared on earth more than 370 million years ago during the Devonian period.
  3. The Chinese giant salamander is the largest known amphibian reaching 180 cms.
  4. The smallest amphibian is a frog known as the Paedophryne amauensis measuring 7.7 mm.
  5. There are more than 6,000 species of known amphibians alive today.
  6. The branch of science that studies reptiles and amphibians is known as Herpetology.
  7. Amphibians are one of the most affected species due to water and air pollution and global warming because of their permeable skin.

Canada Facts and Information

Would you like to see thousands of red sided garter snakes slithering away in spring? Or visit an underground laboratory where you study physics? Or how about the first UFO pad? A highway exclusive for animals! Then visit Canada, the second largest country covered with 50% forests, with the largest coastline of 202,080 kilometers and boasting of 30,000 lakes; and freezing temperatures of -63 °C in winter, located in North America.

Jacques Cartier had met the Canadian natives, who had invited him to their Kanata which means a village in Iroquoian language; and he thought it meant that the country was called Canada.

What is Canada famous for?

Canada has the longest street in the world which stretches over 2,000 kilometers. It has 6 time zones. Canada has a meager population of 30 million people. Ottawa is the capital of Canada, hosting the Canadian Tulip Festival and being the cleanest city.

Quebec, the oldest city in Canada, with 95% speaking French has the beautiful Chateau Frontenac Hotel which is the most photographed hotel. It is the only walled city in North America.

The greatest Canadian invention

Canadians invented the Electric Cooking Range, Kerosene, Insulin, IMAX Film System, the Blackberry Phone, the Snow Mobile, Baseball Glove and Wood Fibers (used to make paper.)

National dish of Canada

One authentic Canadian food is French Fries covered with greasy gravy and cheese curds. Peanut Butter Nanaimo bars are chocolate bars with custard in the middle. Canada produces the most amount of maple syrup, hence maple shaped chocolate maple cookies are popular amongst kids. It also produces 3, 50,000 tons of 35 kinds of cheese every year.

Canadian National Tower

The largest tower in the world, the Canada National Tower, at 1,815 feet; prides itself of having a revolving restaurant at around 1,500 feet, giving an unobstructed 360 view of the city of Toronto. At 1,122 feet, you can stand on the highly safe glass floor and look down at the street below. Rogers Center is an attractive stadium with a retractable cover to watch events like ice hockey. Once 46 puffed up Hot Air Balloons were on display here. 743 Indian elephants can comfortably sit on the field here.

Niagara Falls

The breathtaking Niagara Falls in Canada, formed in the Ice Age, has a height of 167 feet and freezes in winter, creating an ice bridge to walk over. Superman was pictured at rescuing a boy from the Falls. The amount of water that falls every second could fill one million bathtubs in one minute. It means thundering of the water. The Falls stopped once as a massive chunk of ice was blocking its path.

10 Interesting facts about Canada

1. Montreal city has more churches than houses.
2. Quebec City has a hotel called The Hotel De Glace, made of ice every winter.
3. Thousands of red sided garter snakes emerge from underground lairs, in Narcisse, in the largest snake gathering in the world for the mating season in May, every year.
4. Canada’s national flag was formed a century after its birth.
5. Basketball game was founded by Canadian James Naismith.
6. Canada has won the maximum number of gold medals at the Winter Olympics.
7. Half of the total numbers of polar bears on Earth live in Nunavat, Canada.
8. Canada Post has a special postal code for letters to Santa Claus!
9. Canada does not own the North Pole!!
10. Canada’s only desert is a sensitive ecosystem, home to a 100 rare plants and 300 animal and birds found no where else in Canada.

The Fall of Berlin Wall

What is the Berlin Wall?

The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War, was a wall that separated the communist Eastern side of Berlin from the democratic Western side. The wall was built in 1961 and stood for nearly 28 years. It all started after the World War II, when Germany was divided into two parts – East Germany Zone and West Germany Zone, among the four allies that defeated the Nazis.

West Germany Zone

West Germany zone was controlled by France, Great Britain and America. It was known as the Bundesrepublik Deutschland.

East Germany Zone

East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union and was known as the Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Berlin, being the capital city, was divided among the four allies. Thus, the Soviet Union controlled East Berlin, while France, Great Britain and America controlled West Berlin.

Why was the Berlin Wall built?

The conditions between the two parts of Berlin became very different. The Western part was growing as their economy began to rise and become better day by day, while in the East the Soviets had full control with limited freedom to the citizens. Thus, the people living in East Germany did not want to live under the control of the Soviets and started to move towards the Western part. These people were known as defectors. Few were stopped at the border, while other made their way to the West and kept in warehouses. By the early 1960’s, more than 2 million people had defected from the East to West. East Berlin had lost a great number of their workforce. Now, the East became desperate to stop this immigration. Citizen from the East used to commute daily to the West to look for better job opportunities. The East and the West finally had enough, and decided to build a wall around Berlin to prevent people from defecting. On August 13, 1961 the communist of the East started building the wall dividing East Berlin and West Berlin. In a matter of days a low concrete wall was created between the two sides.

What were the effects of the Berlin Wall?

The wall separated families and cut people off from their daily jobs. People from the East side peered through their dilapidated apartments into the prospering West side. Many East Germans tried to climb the wall or use the tunnels to get to the West in desperation. But they were killed by the East German guards who regarded such people as traitors. The Western side was very different. They started calling the Berlin Wall a ‘wall of shame’. The East continued to rebuild the wall and kept adding onto it, making it further long. It reached a length of 103 miles, 4 feet high and 12 feet high. Guards and dogs were then added at check points to keep a watch on anyone trying to cross the wall. Did this keep the East Germans at bay? No, they still made attempts to cross the wall- simple and planned ones. This continued till the 1970’s and 1980’s.

When was the Berlin Wall demolished?

It was on June 12, 1987, when President Ronald Reagan gave a speech in Berlin directed to the Soviet Union leader, Mikhail Gorbachev and asking him to tear down this wall of shame. By this time, the communists were also beginning to weaken and losing their hold on East Germany. It was on November 9, 1989 that an announcement was made which said that relocation on the two sides can be done through all border checkpoints. People rushed to see if the borders were opened. People from the West side celebrated the end of divided Germany by chipping off and tearing down the wall with hammers. It was only on October 3, 1990 that Germany was officially recognized as one and was unified as a single country.

5 Interesting facts about the Berlin Wall

1. The West side of the Berlin Wall was fully covered with colorful graffiti while the East side was totally barren.
2. The Berlin wall had underground subways and train stations. Many trains were not allowed to stop at the East side station. These stations were heavily guarded and dimly lit and were known as ‘ghost stations’. The Ghost stations were reopened after the wall was demolished.
3. During the 28 years when the wall stood, almost 5000 people had crossed to the Western side, either over or through the wall.
4. The most famous checkpoint was Checkpoint Charlie. After the demolition the guard house of this checkpoint is now situated in the Allied Museum in Berlin.

What is an ecosystem?

In an ecosystem, each organism has its role to play. A forest has trees, herbivorous animals, carnivorous animals, birds, reptiles and insects.

How ecosystem works?

We know that the lions feast on deer, zebras and other small animals. We also know that humans are fond of hunting lions and tigers; though hunting has been banned by law, some poachers are still out there killing lions and tigers illegally.

What will happen if we take out lions and tigers completely from the forest ecosystem?

The population of the herbivorous animals will multiply in leaps and bounds and they will plunder the grasslands for food. The lack or absence of vegetation will result in soil erosion, lowering down the quality and fertility of the soil which will eventually affect us.

How non living things affect an ecosystem?

It is not just the presence or absence of the living organisms that affects the functioning of the ecosystem, but the abiotic or the non-living factors also play an important role in the ecosystem.

Industrialization and excessive use of fossil fuels for energy has resulted in serious environmental threats like global warming, ozone hole and pollution. Because of human intervention, our environment has changed, our climate has changed. Any disturbance or disruption to an ecosystem can be fatal to all organisms within the ecosystem.

Codependency in ecosystem

All the members of an ecosystem share a unique relationship with each other and depend on one another in order to get energy to survive. The energy flow in an ecosystem starts with the sun. Plants use the sun’s energy in the process of photosynthesis for manufacturing their food. These plants are eaten by herbivorous animals and the sun’s energy, in form of carbohydrates, flows from the plants to these animals.

When the herbivorous animals become food for the carnivorous animals, the energy of the sun stored in their bodies gets transferred to the carnivorous animals. The carnivorous animals may again be eaten by larger animals and when this happens, another energy transfer takes place. This pattern continues until the living organism dies and it is time for the bacterial decomposers to do their work.

Food chain in ecosystem

This ‘who eats whom’ list that also shows the path of transfer of sun’s energy in an ecosystem is known as a food chain. In an ecosystem, multiple food chains may exist. A collection of several complex food chains is known as a food web.

Science of Chemical Bonding

You know that atoms are the basic building blocks of all types of matter. Everything around you—the food you eat, the water you drink, your pets, your toys and even your bodies—is made up of atoms. In nature, these atoms combine with other atoms through chemical bonds which are a result of the strong attractive forces that exist between the atoms.

These atoms are so very tiny that you can only see them under a microscope. Now how can a tiny thing like an atom be useful to us? Well, just like the Lego blocks, these miniscule atoms make themselves useful by combining themselves with each other.

What is chemical bonding?

When two atoms combine with each other, the chemical process that takes place is known as chemical bonding. The electrons that help in the formation of chemical bonds are known as valence electrons, the ones that are found in an atom’s outermost shell. When two atoms come close to each other, the valence electrons in their outer shell interact with each other. Though electrons repel each other, they are attracted to the protons in the nuclei of atoms. Due to the interaction of forces, some atoms form bonds with each other and stick together.

Types of chemical bonding

There are two main types of bonds formed between atoms: ionic bonds (also known as electrovalent bonds) and covalent bonds. An ionic bond is formed when one atom either accepts or donates one or more of its valence electrons to another atom. A covalent bond is formed when instead of donating or accepting electrons, the atoms share valence electrons. When the atoms do not share the electrons equally, a polar covalent bond is formed. When metallic atoms share their electrons, a metallic bond is formed.

Why do atoms form bonds?

Now that you have understood how the atoms combine together, you must also know why these atoms need to bind together. The answer is : all atoms want to be happy, just like you! And what makes them happy is having their shells full. There is a specific 2-8-8 rule that can make them happy. The first shell should be filled with 2 electrons, the second with 8 electrons, and the third one also with 8 electrons.

Some atoms have extra electrons in their shells. These atoms are very generous and always ready to give up their electrons. Some atoms have a few electrons less in their shells. These are the greedy ones, always looking to bag some electrons from other atoms.

Examples of chemical bonds

Let us study some elements, sodium and fluorine for starters, to comprehend the concept of chemical bonding better. Sodium (Na) has 3 shells and only one electron in its outer shell. Now this sodium atom can do either of the two things: it can donate one electron in its third shell to some other atom and have two complete shells, with 8 electrons in each orbit or it can can keep looking for some benevolent atom with extra electrons to meet it someday sometime and fill up its third shell. Which option sounds easier to you? Obviously, it is the first one! It is much easier for the atoms to give away the electrons rather than keep waiting to receive some extra ones.

The atom of another element, fluorine (F) has 7 electrons in its outer shell, i.e. it is one electron shy of becoming ‘happy’. So, what these two atoms do is that they give and take electrons from their outer shells and become happy. In other words, the sodium atom gives away the extra electron in its outer shell to the fluorine atom and then both have a total of 8 electrons in their outermost shell. Such a bond is known as ionic bond. When an atom gives up an electron, it develops a positive charge like sodium (Na+) and when an atom receives an extra electron, it becomes negatively charged like fluorine (F-). The positive and negative charges attract each other like magnets and this is what helps in the formation and maintenance of the bond.

Bonding of Oxygen and Fluorine

Now let us learn more about the covalent bonds with the help of oxygen (O) and fluorine (F). Oxygen has 6 electrons in its outer shell and fluorine has 7. Fluorine needs one electron and oxygen needs a couple of electrons to have a completely filled up shell. Both these elements have innermost shells that are complete with two electrons, but their second shells want to have more! If they agree to share their electrons with atoms of other elements, they can share electrons and make covalent bonds with those elements. They can also decide to make an ionic bond if they prefer to borrow electrons from some other atom rather than sharing. Whether by sharing, donating or borrowing electrons, the atoms of an element reach the happy state of having eight electrons in their outer shells by bonding with other atoms. After all, everyone wants to be happy, right?

Types of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables form an important part of our daily diet. They contain essential vitamins and minerals which keep us healthy and protect us from diseases. At least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits are recommended daily.

What is a fruit?

A fruit is a seed bearing structure and develops from a flowering plant. A fruit is a sweet and fleshy product of a tree or a plant and can be eaten as food, without cooking.

  • Apples and pears
  • Citrus – oranges, grapefruits, mandarins and limes
  • Stone fruit – nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums
  • Tropical and exotic – bananas and mangoes
  • Berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwifruit and passion fruit
  • Melons – watermelons, rock melons and honeydew melons
  • Tomatoes and avocados.

What is a vegetable?

A vegetable is any part of a plant that is eaten as food such as roots, stems, leaves and even flower buds.
Some common types of vegetable are:

  • Leafy green – lettuce, spinach and silverbeet
  • Cruciferous – cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli
  • Marrow – pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini
  • Root – potato, sweet potato and yam
  • Edible plant stem – celery and asparagus
  • Allium – onion, garlic and shallot.

Fruits example:

Apples – Red, Green, Golden…there are thousands of varieties of apples. You can have them raw and even cook them into delicious jam, sauces or a sweet dish.

Vegetables example:

Broccoli – This veggie is a close relative of cabbage and one of the essential greens in a diet. Have it steamed, stir-fried or in a salad, it is full of nutritional value.

Note – To know the difference between fruits and vegetables, click here.

Animal brain size comparison

Are humans the most intelligent species on earth?

Scientists believe that humans are the most intelligent creatures on earth. Thus, it is concluded that human brain is the largest brain among all living beings on planet earth. The human brain weighs 1.1 kg to 1.4 kg.

What animals have the biggest brains?

Let us look at the size of brains of other living creatures on earth:

  • Sperm Whale – It is the largest toothed predator and has the largest brain weighing 7 kg. Compare it with the largest whale, the blue whale which has a brain of 5 kg.
  • Elephant – It has a brain size of 4.78 kg. The brain of an elephant makes up less than 0.1% of its body weight.
  • Mountain Gorilla – They are considered to have a good amount of intelligence with a brain that weighs 430 g. Brainy than a monkey whose brain size is only 22 g.
  • Chimpanzee – Compared to its body size, a chimpanzee has a brain size of 350 g. The brains of early humans were similar to those of chimpanzees.
  • Walrus – It has a brain size of 1.1 kg. This brain size comes very close to a human brain size. One half of the walrus brain remains active while it sleeps.
  • Dolphin – Positioned next to humans, a dolphin’s brain size is 2 kg. If trained, dolphins are sufficiently intelligent to grasp and learn several tasks.
  • Octopus – It is considered as the most intelligent invertebrate as its brain is made of the largest brain cells or neurons, found in nature. Its brain is made up of 500 million large neurons. Each of the eight arms of the octopus carries, a neuron package and its intelligence can be compared to that of a chimp.
  • Cats and Dogs – The brain of a cat is only 30 g in size. But cats learn by observation and have better short term memory. Dogs though have longer memory but their brain size is 30% lighter than those of wolves.
  • Alligator – One of the most ferocious predators, the reptilian alligator’s brain weighs only 8 g. They are roughly the size of three olives!
  • Giraffe – These tall animals have a brain half the size of humans. Their brains weigh only 680 g.
  • Rat – The size of a rat brain is only 2 g, while its body weight is 400 g. Rats have the ability to predict events and avoid danger and are experts in obtaining basic resources.

Germany Facts and Information

10 Interesting facts about Germany

1. Germany is known as Deutschland in the German language.
2. The capital city of Deutschland is Berlin.
3. Germany has the largest economy in Europe.
4. Football is the most popular sport in Germany.
5. The first book was printed in the German language.
6. German is the third most commonly taught language worldwide.
7. There are around 300 varieties of bread found in Germany.
8. Instead of saying ‘Hello’, the Germans answer the phone with their surname.
9. Gummy Bears were invented by the candy maker, Hans Riegel, in Germany.
10. The biggest festival of Germany known as Oktoberfest, starts from the last week of September and is a 16 to 18 day long festival held since the Middle Ages.

Desert plants and their adaptations

What is it that sets a desert apart from other landscapes? – Desert plants

What are desert plants?

Desert plants are those which grow in the environment of arid regions where rainfall is scanty. Their beauty is very different from other plants. Desert plants are sturdily built. There are different types of plants which grow in deserts around the world.

6 Most common desert plants

1. Elephant Tree:

This plant is found to be grown in the Santa Rosa Mountains and south western part of the Arizona. It is small in size and has thick trunk .It stores water in trunk, lower limbs and wood. Elephant tree produces beautiful small and star shaped flowers which are either white or cream in colour.

2. Organ Pipe Cactus:

Organ Pipe Cactus is mainly found in the rocky deserts of Mexico and the US. This plant has narrow stems and a small trunk. This species of cactus takes 150 years to reach its mature stage. This plant produces fruits and purple or light pink tinted flowers.

3. Desert Sage:

Desert Sage is a shrub. It grows about 2-3 meters in height. Flowers of this shrub are deep blue in colour with purple bracts. This shrub is evergreen plant .It does not require water once it has set well.

4. Desert Marigold:

These plants belong to the aster family. They are mainly found in the south western parts of the US and Mexico. Desert Marigold is annual and short lived perennial plant. Their heights range between 10 and 30 inches. They possess hairy leaves which increase the reflection of light. This lowers leaf temperatures and blocks UV rays, making them to survive in extreme climate. The flowers of these plants are yellow in colour.

5. Saguaro:

The saguaro belongs to the cactus species. Its growth depends on the amount of precipitation present in the deserts. It produces ruby red fruits; white and yellow flowers.

6. Barrel Cactus:

These are the most common plant found in the deserts around the globe. Their heights vary between 1 meter to 10 meters. Barrel Cactus produces flowers of different shades such as orange, red, yellow and pink.

11 Interesting facts about desert plants

1. Desert plants are highly adaptable to the tough and extreme climate of the deserts.
2. Desert plants store water mainly in their trunk, stem and fleshy leaves.
3. Desert plants mainly the cactus group can be developed in nurseries and personal gardens.
4. They are ornamental plants which are used for home decoration.
5. Some cactus produces flowers.
6. Flowers of desert marigold are highly poisonous.
7. If the spine of barrel cactus accidentally pricks, one may need to take antibiotics to combat its effects.
8. Fruits of Organ Pipe Cactus are tastier than watermelon.
9. Fruits of Saguaro are consumed by locals.
10. Fruits of Organ Pipe Cactus serve as medicines.
11. Desert Sage has medicinal properties which cure headaches, common cold, stomach aches, influenza, pneumonia and eye problems.

11 Crazy facts about the world

The world we live in has some unknown, weird and crazy truths or facts that might just blow your mind.

Let us look at some of the crazy facts our world hides!

1. Russia is bigger than Pluto

Pluto has been deleted from the list of planets but it is the largest object in the Kuiper belt orbiting the Sun. Russia, the largest country by land mass on earth, is bigger than Pluto! Russia’s surface area is 17,075,200 square kilometres while Pluto stands at 16,647,940 square kilometres.

2. Mammoths did not extinct with dinosaurs

Woolly mammoths existed even when the pharaohs were busy building the pyramids in Egypt. So the mammoths got extinct not so long ago and man did get to see them in real, though man could not see the dinosaurs. They overlap in time with the construction of pyramids. Man exploited mammoths for their skin and tusks.

3. Lobsters are immortal or so they call

Lobsters can die of external forces but they just keep growing and growing when left on their own. Even after they attain sexual maturity lobsters keep growing. They can even regrow a limb after losing it in an accident. They cannot live forever, some scientist say, but they can grow and live an extremely long life, which might seem as eternity.

4. Holes in pen lids and Lego

Do you know why pen lids and Lego blocks have holes in them? They were created just so that if they are accidentally swallowed by someone, they would still be able to breathe due to passage of air through that hole!

5. Panda is China property

Every Panda you see is the property of China. If you see a Panda anywhere else in the world then they have rented that Panda from China. Any guesses on the rate? US $1 million a year!

6. Smelly bacteria

Rain brings with it immense joy and a slight, pleasant fragrance of the after showers. Do you know what this pleasant smell is? It is the smell of bacteria called Actinomycetes. They are of great importance because of their contribution to the soil and forests.

7. Life forms living on your skin outnumber people on the planet

There are about trillions of microbes living on your skin. 90% of our body is home to microbes. They are on our eyelashes, tongue, skin, hair follicles, teeth…everywhere!

8. An octopus that mimics

Yes, there is an octopus called the mimic octopus which is capable of impersonating or mimicking other species. They can change their skin colour and texture to blend with the surroundings. But they can change shapes and mimic flounder, lion fish or sea snakes!

9. Dead bodies on Mount Everest

There are over 200 dead bodies on Mount Everest and climbers use them as way pointers. The corpses are left there with the flags of specific countries. They die for Everest and are left there as it is difficult to carry them back.

10. Vacant houses in United States

There are more vacant houses in the United States than homeless people. Homeless has been on the rise in America but you just cannot put homeless people in any vacant house. So, empty houses end up being owned by banks rather than people.

11. A Jellyfish is 95 percent water

Only about 5 percent of the body of a jellyfish is solid. They don’t have blood, brain or even a heart, but they can sting real badly!

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great was the King of Macedonia, the ancient kingdom of Northern Greece, and the conqueror of the Persian Empire. In his short life span he had conquered many empires and thus he was considered as one of the greatest military geniuses to have ever lived.

Early life

Macedonia was ruled by Alexander’s father, King Philip II. Alexander was born in July in356 B.C in Pella. Alexander was raised by a nurse and a strict tutor and learned how to read, play the lyre, ride, fight and everything that a son of a noble family would do. At the age of 13 Alexander was tutored by the famous philosopher and scientist Aristotle. He taught him medicine, philosophy, logic, morals, religion and it was through his teachings that Alexander developed a passion for the wars of Homer and the Iliad. These stories were the ones that inspired him to become a war hero.

Alexander – The soldier and king

Alexander became a soldier at the early age of 16. At that young age, Alexander helped his father in an important battle to defeat the Athenian and Theban armies. Alexander became king when his father died. He had gained support of most of the army. Though King Philip succeeded in uniting all Greek-city states, after his death the states were divided once again. Alexander worked towards getting the support of the Greek city states. With the exception of Athens, the Greek city states supported Alexander with full military power.

Alexander’s empire

Alexander now turned east to conquer more of the civilised world. First he moved and conquered Asia Minor, which is Turkey today. Next he took over Syria, defeating the Persian Army. He then set to conquer the Persian Empire, the largest kingdom to the Eats of Greece. In 334 B.C Alexander broke the power of Persia and defeated the kingdom in a series of decisive battles. After defeating the Persian King Darius III, Alexander became the king of the Persian Empire. Alexander’s empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River. He then conquered Egypt and declared Alexandria as its capital. He then moved to Babylonia, including the city of Susa.

Alexander conquered many kingdoms and even grew his empire to occupy Punjab in Northern India. He defeated King Porus in India but was very impressed by his bravery and tactics and made him an ally. He gave Porus his Kingship back and also some land that he did not own previously.

Death of Alexander

Alexander had just come to Babylon and captured it when he suddenly fell sick and died. Many people suspect he was poisoned as the reason of death is unknown. He died at the age of 32. Some say he died of a fever, maybe malaria or typhoid. He was sick for 12 days before he succumbed to his illness.

4 Facts about Alexander the Great

  1. Alexander never lost a battle, not even one.
  2. He named more than 70 cities after him and one after his horse, Bucephalus in India.
  3. After defeating the Persians Alexander started dressing like them.
  4. After his death, Alexander’s body was immersed in honey by the Babylonians to save it from decoy. Many years later it was placed in Alexandria’s communal mausoleum.

Difference between metals and non-metals

Elements on the Earth are classified into metals and non-metals based on their characteristics and physical properties. The periodic table has metals placed on the left while non-metals are placed on the right. Let us first look at what we mean by each of them.

What are metals?

Metals are solid materials and are typically hard, malleable (bendy), ductile (flexible) and heavy. They are good conductors of heat and electricity. Metals are shiny and have a high density. They can also be opaque as a thin sheet. Example: aluminium, copper, gold, silver, steel are all metals. Metals have one to three electrons in their outer shells.

What are non-metals?

Any material or substance that is not a pure metal is a non-metal. They do not have the properties of a pure metal. Non metals are dull in appearance. They are poor conductors of heat and electricity. Non-metals maybe solids, liquid or gases at room temperature. Non metals have four to eight electrons. Non metals are very good oxidising agents but they are very brittle and have low density. Example: hydrogen, helium, phosphorus, iodine, carbon are some non-metals.

Chemical properties of metals and non-metals

  • Metals are very reactive. They tend to lose electrons very easily and form positively charged ions. This allows metals to form compounds with other elements very easily.
  • Metals corrode easily. They are damaged by oxidation like rust or tarnish
  • Almost all metal combine with oxygen to form metal oxide
  • Metals like lead, copper, silver and gold do not recat with water at all
  • Metals react with acid to give salt and hydrogen
  • Non metals form oxides that are acidic in nature
  • Non metals readily gain or share valence electrons
  • Non metals gain electrons to form anions (an atom that has donated electrons, hence giving a negative charge)

Physical Properties of metals and non-metals

  • Metals are hard except Sodium and Potassium
  • The boiling and melting points of metals are high and they also have high density
  • Metals are sonorous (when a metal is beaten it produces sound) except mercury
  • Metals can be turned into thin sheets by hammering, this is called malleability
  • Metals can be changed into thin wires, this is called ductile
  • Non metals are soft- except diamond
  • Non metals are mostly found in gaseous state, except Bromine which is found in liquid state
  • Non metals have a dull surface except iodine and graphite
  • Non metals are not sonorous

South America Facts

Where is South America located?

South America is the fourth largest continent in size and is located in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. It is home to the majestic Andes mountain range and the mysterious Amazon River.
The continent of South America is compact and slightly triangular in shape, being broad in the north and in narrowing down at the point called Cape Horn in the south.
South America is bounded by three major water bodies from three sides: Pacific Ocean on the west, Caribbean Sea to the northwest and the Atlantic Ocean on the east.

20 Interesting facts about South America

  1. South America comprises about 12% of the earth’s land.
  2. South America is the fifth largest continent in terms of population.
  3. Andes mountain system in South America is the second highest mountain range in the world, next to the Himalayas, in Asia.
  4. The highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, is situated in South America.
  5. World’s highest lake, Lake Titicaca, is located here
  6. World’ largest salt lake, Salar de Uyuni, is located here.
  7. Portuguese and Spanish are the main languages spoken in South America.
  8. Brazil, the largest producer of coffee in the world, is situated in South America.
  9. The highest point in this continent is Cerro Aconcagua in Andes in Argentina.
  10. The continent of South America is named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
  11. Anaconda, the heaviest snake on earth, is found in South America.
  12. It has the world’s largest river Amazon (by volume).
  13. Amazon rainforest is also the largest rainforest in the world.
  14. A total of 12 countries together constitute the continent of South America.
  15. Area wise, the largest country in South America is Brazil.
  16. Suriname is the smallest country in South America.
  17. Brazil is the most thickly populated country in South America.
  18. The Atacama Desert, Chile, is the largest desert.
  19. Some of the rare animals found in South America are ant-eaters, armadillos and llamas.
  20. It is the only continent to have wild Pink Dolphins.

Holi – Festival of Colors

What is Holi Festival?

Holi, is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. It is a festival celebrated with colour, water and the exchange of sweets and is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and countries with a large Indian population following Hinduism.

Why do we celebrate Holi?

Holi originally, was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Hindus believed that it was a time to enjoy spring’s abundant colors and saying farewell to winter.

Holi also celebrates many religious myths and legends. On the eve of the festival, bonfires are lit in memory of a young Prahlad’s miraculous escape from the Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu in Hindu mythology. The name Holi is derived from the demoness Holika.

Even though there have been references to a festival such as this in Sanskrit texts where people sprayed coloured water using bamboo syringes, the origin of the modern Holi festival has been traced back to ancient Bengal. During the Gaudiya Vaishnav festival, people went to Krishna temples, applied red colour to the icon and then distributed the red coloured powder along with prasad to family and friends. These customs spread across the country and now…

History of Holi

Even though Holi originated in Bengal, the festival is most celebrated in the Braj region – locations connected to Lord Krishna such as Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon and Barsana. These places see a huge surge in tourism during the Holi festival.

Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the lunar month, which usually falls in the later part of February or March.

Holi celebration in India

In most parts of India, Holi lasts about two days. One of festivals biggest attributes is that it closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Hindus and people belonging to other religions together.

Holi today is celebrated with much fervour across the country. This festival is not just restricted to the younger ones, and you will see people of all ages, young and old participate. Just like the old times, people go visiting their friends and family and play with them. There are private parties too that are organised for the public by certain groups where a place is taken on rent, and people can come and play holi there with their friends. The organisers ensure that there is enough water, colour and sweets available. The music played at these parties get the crowds going as well.

Project –

  • What is Holi locally known as in Bihar?
  • Holi has been depicted in which famous international song. Hint : It’s by Linkin Park
  • Make your own natural Holi colours by mixing some turmeric powder and gram flour and use it to play this Holi season. Be rest assured that this colour is safe and also extremely good for the skin.

Don’t forget to check out the Story of Holi and our other Holi articles and activities.

Chinese New Year Facts and History

This year, Chinese New Year is falling on February 16, 2018. This day is important in Chinese culture. The holidays run for 15 days, starting from the first day of a new moon and ending with the full moon. The Lantern Festival happens then, with lantern displays and a parade at night. Chinese New Year tradition- In many places, there is a dragon dance too on this day.

Facts about Chinese New Year

In Chinese New Year, the date of the new year changes every year, because the Chinese base their calendar on lunar years. The date depends on the day when a new moon rises.
The Chinese New Year calendar has a 12 years cycle. Each year is based on the name of an animal. 2018 will be the Chinese Year of the dog.

Story behind Chinese New Year

A long time ago in China, Buddha wanted a way to measure time. So he invited all the animals to race against each other in crossing a river. 12 animals could do this successfully and the Emperor rewarded these 12 animals by naming a year after each one of them, in the order in which they had crossed the river. So, Chinese New Year starts with the year of the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Chinese Zodiac Animal Years

Depending on the year that you are born in, you are supposed to have qualities of the animal representing that year. Discover your animal sign with the help of your birth year

Birth YearAnimal SignQuality Traits
1996, 2008RatImaginative, generous, observant, intelligent, secretive
1997, 2009OxLeaders, confident, disciplined, strong, impatient
1998,2010TigerSensitive, emotional, competitive, natural leaders, courageous
1999,2011RabbitWise, thoughtful, affectionate, selfish, quiet, intelligent
2000,2012DragonEnthusiastic, perfectionist, intelligent, self-confident, proud
2001,2013SnakePossessive, proud, thinker, secretive, wise
2002,2014HorseWitty, friendly, cheerful, popular, impatient, alert
2003,2015SheepIntelligent, well-mannered, creative, dependent, shy
2004,2016MonkeyIntelligent, witty, social, talkative, restless, mischievous
2005,2017RoosterHard working, courageous, dreamers, practical, bossy
2006,2018DogHonest, reliable, logical, anxious, introverts
2007,2019PigSincere, friendly, intellectual, honest, lazy, innocent

More Information:
What do you know about the Dragon Boat Festival?
To know more interesting festivals facts, click here

New Year Party

New Year Party for Kids

Here are some New Year party ideas so that you can ring in the New Year in a fun way.

New Year party themes

  • New Year’s Eve parties are perfect occasions for slumber parties. You and your friends can wear pajamas. No need to wear fancy New Year dresses! Set up tents for your friends to play in. Let your friends bring their stuffed animals and pillows.
  • How about a carnival themed party with everyone dressed up in silly clothes with pirate hats ?

New Year party decorations

  • Using paper, cardboard, feathers and glitter create individual party hats.
  • Take a trash bag and fill it up with balloons. Get your guests to write their wishes on chits of paper. Add these, confetti and sweets to the bag. At 12 AM, drop the bag from the ceiling.
  • Give your guests a plethora of empty pans and pots to bang at 12 AM.
  • Place alarms on cell phones and every clock in the house, so that they all ring at 12 AM.
  • Give each guest an empty tin can and let them store something in that time capsule. Decorate it and let your friend hide it somewhere. It is meant to be opened years later.
  • Fill the house with glow sticks.

New Year party games

  • What to do on New Year’s Eve, you ask? Here are some things to do on New Year’s Eve.
  • Do a karaoke night with everyone singing and dancing.
  • Let each guest make their own game and place it inside a goody bag. Whoever picks a bag has to make everyone play that game.
  • Have a scavenger hunt where your friends write their own special memories of the year gone by, on chits. Hide them inside small boxes and place them around the house.

New Year party food

  • Popcorn is always a favorite.
  • Greeks would bake a cake with a lucky coin inside it. You could try doing that too!
  • Let your friends decorate and bake their own pizzas.
  • Hope these New Year’s Eve party ideas help you have a gala time!

For more interesting Party Ideas and Themes for kids, go to https://mocomi.com/fun/party-ideas-themes/

New Year Celebrations around the world

New Year is celebrated across the world through different festivities and is one of the most widely celebrated festivals the world over!

Did you know that Auckland, New Zealand, is the first city to celebrate the New Year and Honolulu, Hawaii is the last to celebrate it? Around the world, New Year festivities begin on 31st December, New Year’s Eve. As the clock strikes midnight, everyone bids adieu to the old year and greet each other a ‘Happy New year’. The same date but different festivities in various countries make the New Year the most celebrated holiday. Let’s take a look at the different festivities followed by people around the world:

New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world

1. Spain

Spanish people believe that eating twelve grapes, at midnight of the New Year, brings good luck. Thus, at every stroke of the clock, at midnight on New Year, they pop in a grape.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Copacabana beach is famous for hosting the largest New Year celebrations worldwide! Millions of people from around the world come here to attend the huge party. Traditionally, the local Rio public honors the beach by throwing white flowers into the sea. People also dress up in white as a good luck charm. Fireworks start on New Year’s Eve and continue till the next day.

3. United States

Times Square in New York is a famous place where everyone gathers on New Year’s eve. The tradition is to drop the huge New Year’s eve ball from the Times Square flag pole when it is just 1 minute to midnight. When the ball drops, it releases thousands of confetti, messages on colored paper. These messages have been left by the local public days before the New Year celebrations.

People from Southern United States believe in eating black eyed peas and turnip greens on New Year. The peas represent coins and the turnip greens represent dollars. They believe that by doing this, the New Year will bring them good money.

4. Sydney, Australia

The world’s largest firework show on New Year’s is held here. Though the show lasts only for 12 minutes, starting at the stroke of midnight, the beautiful extravaganza attracts people to be a part of this celebration from all over the world.

5. Philippines

People here want the new year to bring in more money and prosperity. Thus, they dress up in polka dotted clothes and gather in streets and localities, throwing coins at midnight or by keeping coins in pots and shaking them in their own homes.

6. Greece

For the Greeks January 1st is also Saint Basil’s Day, one of their forefathers. It is the day for gift giving, telling stories and leaving presents at midnight in children’s shoes. Every Greek family bakes a cake on this day which has a silver or gold coin hidden inside. The cake slices are passed to everyone and whoever gets the coin is believed to have a lucky year ahead.

7. Japan

People in Japan, in the evening of December 31st, eat a bowl of a special type of noodles called ‘toshikoshisoba.’ While eating they listen to the sound of Buddhist temple bells which are rung 108 times at the midnight hour of New year and is supposed to remove all evils and sins.

Christmas Cookies Recipe

How to Make Christmas Cookies

What You Need (for 144 cookies)

  • 3 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Flavored yoghurt or any other filling you want

13 Steps to Make Christmas Cookies

  1. Mix the flour, butter, sugar, juice and yolk together.
  2. Put it in plastic wrap.
  3. Keep it in the refrigerator for an hour at least.
  4. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes, on 375 degrees F.
  5. Take a little of the mix in your hand and roll it in a ball.
  6. Place it on a greased sheet of foil, on the baking tray.
  7. Like this, prepare the rest of the mix.
  8. Use a teaspoon to make small wells in the middle of the balls.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Take the tray out and put flavored yoghurt , marmalade or any other filling in the wells.
  11. Put the tray in the oven again and bake for another 5 minutes.
  12. Keep checking to make sure the cookies don’t become brown.
  13. Take the tray out and let the cookies cool.

For more interesting recipes for kids, go to Recipes for Kids category.

History of Christmas Tree

People in many ancient cultures believed that the Sun God became pale and frail during winter and that is why we had the winter solstice. Evergreen trees reminded them of the plants that would grow once more, when the sun god recovered.

Who got the idea of lighting up a Christmas Tree?

Lights are important in the history of the Christmas tree. Martin Luther, a Protestant was once walking through a forest of evergreen trees in Germany, when he saw sparkling stars lighting up the trees. Martin recreated this beautiful scene at home by lighting candles on his Christmas tree.

In 1895, Ralph Morris of the USA, got the idea of using electric lights on Christmas trees, changing Christmas celebrations forever. He helped make Christmas lights safer, as the danger of fire reduced.Earlier, a Chicago hospital had burnt down thanks to Christmas candles. Insurance companies wanted a ban on Christmas candles because they caused many fires.

Can you guess the maximum number of lights anyone has put on a Christmas tree? 194,672. This was done in Belgium in 2010.

Early Christmas Trees

Some early Christmas trees were hung upside down, from the ceiling! Chandeliers were used sometimes to do this.

What did artificial Christmas trees of that time look like? If people couldn’t afford a real tree, they would decorate pyramids of wood. They used Christmas tree decorations like candles, paper and apples.Some carried these around to show neighbors, instead of keeping the trees in their houses.

Famous Christmas Trees

Every year, Norway sends the United Kingdom a giant Christmas tree, as a thank you for help during World War II. It stands in Trafalgar Square, London.

Which is the world’s tallest Christmas tree? It is supposed to be the 122 foot tall, 91 years old Douglas fir in Washington, USA.

What Christmas ornaments do you like? Do you get your tree from a Christmas tree top or do you make one?

Note: Don’t forget to check out the Christmas Story video and other Christmas articles and activities.

Santa Fun Facts

5 Things you didn’t know about Santa Claus

  1. Santa has 31 hours to deliver presents, thanks to international time zones.
  2. Santa Claus needs to visit 832 houses every second to visit all the houses in the world.
  3. Although Santa’s reindeer have mostly male names, they lose their antlers around Christmas time. So, they become female deer.
  4. The biggest present Santa’s delivered is The Statue of Liberty from France to the USA, in 1886. It’s 151 feet tall! How tall are you?
  5. One regular present Santa delivers is a Christmas tree from Norway to the UK, since 1947. The Norwegians send it as thanks for England’s help to them during World War II.

Click here and get to know more about Santa Claus.

Plum Cake Recipe

How to make Plum Cake

Plum cake is a traditional Christmas goodie- read on to know how to make it!

What You Need

  • 1 cup maida (refined flour)
  • ½ teasp baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons chopped raisins
  • ½ cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teasp lemon zest (Grate the rind of 1 lemon)

10 Steps to make Plum Cake

  1. First, preheat the oven to 160° C
  2. Next, grease a cake tin by putting a few drops of oil and spreading it with your hands.
  3. Sieve the maida with the baking powder in a bowl.
  4. Mix in the raisins and walnuts.
  5. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla essence in a separate bowl.
  6. Add the eggs and lemon zest- make sure you mix it continuously.
  7. Now add the maida and mix again- your batter’s ready!
  8. Pour your batter in the cake tin and bake it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Then, take it out from the oven and turn it upside down so that it can cool.
  10. Cut it in slices and serve it!

For more interesting recipes for kids, go to Recipes for Kids category.

Who is Santa Claus?

The real Story behind Santa Claus

Did you know this jolly old figure, who has come to be a greatly celebrated symbol of Christmas, actually has a rich history?

The name Santa Claus was derived from the Dutch word Sinterklaas which is a pronunciation of ‘Saint Nicholas’.

Saint Nicholas was a wealthy man and a devout Christian who used his entire inheritance to help the needy and the poor.

For his generous and selfless service to God and humanity he was made the Bishop of Myra.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

This tradition was passed on through the generations and is practiced by kids even today.

There are many stories that speak about this extraordinary human and why he was so loved by all.

Saint Nicholas left gifts for everyone and as his story traveled through the ages, he become known as Santa Claus

Christmas is incomplete without the plump, chubby, lovable old man, dressed in red with a sackful of presents, known to all as Santa Claus.

It is believed that he drives a sleigh pulled by 8 flying reindeer and lives on the North Pole with his company of elves.

He is especially big in the hearts of kids who write letters to him addressed “Santa Claus, North Pole” with there wishes and wait for him on the night of Christmas to come with presents.

There are many stories that speak about this extraordinary human and why he was so loved by all.

One of the famous stories is about an old man who was poor and didn’t have any money or presents to give his three daughters as dowry on the day of their wedding.

Saint Nicholas went to their house and dropped a bag of gold coins in the stockings they had left to dry by the fire place.

Note: Don’t forget to check out the Christmas Story video and other Christmas articles and activities.

How to Make Christmas Stockings

Personalized Christmas Stockings

What You Need

  • Scissors
  • Fabric paint
  • Thick red paper
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Old Christmas cards/wrapping paper, sequins (optional)
  • Puncher (If making a paper stocking)

14 Steps to Make Christmas Stockings

  1. Fold the paper in half.
  2. Cut a Christmas stocking shape. You can use our templates for Christmas stocking patterns.
  3. Align the pattern’s straight line edge with the folded edge of the paper.
  4. Trace the pattern on the paper.
  5. Cut the stocking out.
  6. Unfold your stocking.
  7. Stick your stocking with glue on all sides, except the top.
  8. Fold the stocking on the crease in the middle.
  9. Press so that the glue adheres.
  10. Tie a knot at the end.
  11. Decorate your stocking with paint or stencils. You can even stick old Christmas cards. Or sequins. Cut out designs from old wrapping paper and stick them on. Get ideas from Christmas decorations and Christmas ornaments for designs.
  12. Punch a hole in your paper stocking.
  13. Thread a ribbon through so that you can stick it up.
  14. What Christmas gift ideas do you have for filling stockings? They could be greeting cards, papercraft items and anything else that’s small and light!

We have a huge collection of free and downloadable craft ideas for kids.

What are Factors and Multiples?

Definition of Multiple

A multiple is the result of multiplying a number by an integer, not a fraction.

For example
18 is a multiple of 3, because 3 x 6 = 18
Similarly, – 12 is a multiple of 3, because 3 x -4 = 12
7 however is not a multiple of 3.

Difference between Factors and Multiples

Factors and Multiples – Both of these are related to multiplication.

While factors are what you multiply to get a number, multiples on the other hand are what you get after multiplying a number by an integer.

What are Factors?

Factors are numbers which are multiplied together to get another number.

For example

3 x 4 = 12 (Number 3 and 4 are therefore factors of number 12)

And if you did not know, negative numbers also can be factors. So if 12 was the chosen number, -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, -6, -12 could also be factors of 12.

What are Multiples?

A multiple as you know is the result of multiplying a number by an integer.

Let us look at an example.

Multiples of 3
12 is a multiple of 3, because 3 x 4 = 12
-3 is a multiple of 3, because 3 x -1 = -3

So you know now, that you have to multiple by an integer, but the number that is multiplied can be anything.

Changes in States of Matter

The terms melting, boiling and evaporation are the processes associated with the change of state of a substance.

What do we mean by ‘change of state’?

Transformation of a substance into another form is called change of state. Example: Ice melts into water if heated.

What happens in the process of Melting?

Melting or Fusion is a process by which a substance in the solid state is converted into liquid state. To simplify, when a solid is heated, it melts down.

How does solid change into Liquid?

It happens because a substance while changing into liquid state absorbs heat without a rise in temperature. A substance changes from a solid to liquid state at a fixed temperature. This temperature is known as melting point of the solid and remains constant throughout the process of melting. The quantity of heat required to change unit mass (1gm) of the substance at its melting point from solid to liquid state without changing the temperature is termed as latent heat of fusion of solid.

What happens in the process of Boiling or Ebullition?

A liquid if heated continuously under a given superincumbent pressure releases vapour from its surface. Eventually vaporisation takes place throughout the mass of the liquid in a rapid and vigorous way. This stage is known as boiling of the liquid. If the superincumbent pressure does not change, the temperature of the liquid remains constant as long as it’s boiling. This constant temperature is called boiling point of a liquid.

Factors which govern boiling point:

  1. The boiling point varies depending upon the increase or decrease in the superincumbent pressure on the liquid.
  2. The presence of any dissolved impurity increases the boiling point. Boiling point of a solution is always greater than that of the pure solvent.
  3. The boiling point also depends on the material of the boiler, its roughness and the degree of cleanliness of its inner surface to some extent.

What is Evaporation?

Evaporation is the gradual and slow change of a substance from liquid to a vapour state, which takes place at the surface of the liquid at all temperatures.

Factors which govern Evaporation:

  • The temperature of the liquid.
  • The nature of the liquid.
  • The removal of air over the liquid surface.
  • The pressure of air.
  • The area of exposed surface.
  • The pressure of vapour in contact with the liquid.

Notes:

  • The word ‘latent’ means hidden.
  • The word ‘superincumbent’ means lying or resting on or above something.
  • Melting point of solid such as naphthalene can be determined by two methods; cooling curve method and capillary tube method. It should be noted that naphthalene expands on melting.
  • The melting and boiling point of different substances varies from each other.
  • The change of a substance from the liquid to the vapour or gaseous state is called vaporisation.

To know more about the States of Matter click here.

Past Tense and Its Types

What is Tense?

The term tense is derived from Latin word ‘Tempus” meaning time. Tense is used to indicate time in English language. It has been broadly classified into three groups – Present Tense, Past Tense and Future Tense.

Let’s learn more about Past Tense and Its Types:

Past Simple Tense

It is used to express an action which has taken place a little time before speaking or action which is just completed. Example: I watched a movie.

Sentence Formation:
Here verb forms have changed.

Positive: I killed a snake
Here ‘killed’ is used as main verb. It is the second form of verb (Past Simple)
Negative: I did not kill a snake
In this sentence ‘did’ is the auxiliary verb and ‘kill’ is the main verb.
Interrogative: Did I kill a snake?
Here, the sentence starts with ‘did’ and first form of verb ‘Kill’ is used instead of second form of verb (past simple verb)

Past Continuous Tense

It is used to indicate an ongoing nature of an action in past. Example: He was laughing.

Sentence Formation:
In this case, auxiliary verb ‘was’ or ‘were’ and first form of verb along with ‘ing’ (present participle) have been used as main verb.

Positive: She was smiling yesterday.
Negative: She was not crying yesterday.
Interrogative: Was she crying yesterday?

Past Perfect Tense

It indicates an action which took place long back and before occurrence of another action. Example: I had lived in America.

Sentence Formation:

In case of past perfect tense auxiliary verb ‘had’ and third form of verb or past participle is used as main verb.
Positive: He had taken the exam last year
Negative: He had not taken the exam last year
Interrogative: Had he taken the exam last year

Past Perfect Continuous

It is used to denote an ongoing action which continued for sometime in past.
Sentence Formation:
Here, auxiliary verb ‘had been’ and present participle ‘ing’ have been used.

Positive: I had been waiting for him for two hours
Negative: I had not been waiting for him for two hours
Interrogative: Had I been waiting for him for two hours?

Read here related articles Types of Present Tense and Future Tense.

Future Tense and Its Types

What is Tense?

The term tense is derived from Latin word ‘Tempus” meaning time. Tense is used to indicate time in English language. It has been broadly classified into three groups – Present Tense, Past Tense and Future Tense.

Let’s learn more about Future Tense and Its Types:

Future Simple Tense

This is used when an action is going to take place in future.
Example: I will go there tomorrow.

Sentence Formation:
Here, auxiliary verb ‘will’ and first form of verb are used.

Positive: They will come here
Negative: They will not come here
Interrogative: Will they come here?

Future Continuous Tense

It is used to express a continued or ongoing action in future.

Example: I will be waiting for you tomorrow.

Sentence Formation:
Here, auxiliary verb ‘will be’ and first form of verb along with present participle ‘ing’ are used.

Positive: I will be waiting for you.
Negative: I will not be waiting for you.
Interrogative: Will I be waiting for you?

Future perfect Tense

This indicates an action which will occur and completed in future.

Example: John will have gone tomorrow.

Sentence Formation:
Here, auxiliary verb ‘will have’ and third form of verb (past particle) are used.

Positive: You will have started a job.
Negative: You will not have started a job.
Interrogative: Will you have started a job?

Future Perfect Continuous

It is used to indicate an ongoing action which will start and continue for sometime in future.

Example: He will have been playing in this team since 2006
In this case, auxiliary verb ‘will have been’, first form of verb along with present participle and time reference ‘for’ and ‘since’ are used.

Positive: I will have been waiting for him for three hours.
Negative: I will not have been waiting for him for three hours.
Interrogative: Will she have been playing cricket since 2014?

Read here related articles Types of Past Tense and Present Tense.

How to Make a Witch Hat?

Witches are wicked… witches are shrewd… witches are helpful… witches know magic… witches can be good or bad. When you think of a witch what picture comes to your mind? An old lady with a long nose, black robe, sitting on a broom with a long hat on her head?

A Homemade Witch Hat

Well, all witches may not be old…all witches may not wear robes; all witches may not want to eat you up. But all witches have one thing in common. They accessorize themselves with a long pointed hat. Do you want to try and become a witch and caste magic spells or brew up some magical potion? We will give you the magical steps to make your own witch’s hat.

13 Easy Steps to Make a Witch Hat

  1. Gather the following items: Black chart/craft paper, scissors, wire, tape, ribbon, some embellishments like plastic spider or a nice bow
  2. Measure your head around your forehead and add about ½ or 1 inch to the circumference of the brim of the hat that you want to cut
  3. Make a wide circle on the paper. It should be as wide as you want the brim to be. Cut it.
  4. Inside the wide circle make a smaller circle with the above measurement of your head
  5. Take another craft paper and make a triangle or a slant line with a marker. This will be the top of your hat and the line can be as tall as you want the top to be.
  6. Cut along the slant line so that you have a nice triangle with a rounded base. Basically you have a cone
  7. Take the wire and place it in the center of the cone lengthwise. Paste it with the tape.
  8. With the wire as the center, round the cone into a pointed top. Stick both ends with the tape.
  9. Take the brim of the hat and flatten it completely first either by placing some heavy books on top of it
  10. Now take your scissors and cut the inner circle that you have made. It will make a hole of your head size. Place it on your head to see if it fits properly.
  11. Now you have to place the cone on top of the brim. Use glue or tape to attach the cone on the brim. You can cover the tape or glue with black ribbon or feathers.
  12. Once the cone is attached, bend it a little from the top to give it a worn out look.
  13. Attach the plastic spider or the bow or anything you like to the witch hat.

Your witch hat is ready and you can now go around throwing spells and making frogs of people!

Get into the mood of Halloween, read a fun comic story about Smelly witch and Rebecca.

Paper Pumpkin : Halloween Craft

How to make a Paper Pumpkin

What You Need

  • Two chart papers
  • One marker pen
  • A pair of scissors
  • glue stick
  • Leaf cut out template: 1 on A4 size paper

4 Steps to make a Paper Pumpkin

Step 1 : See reference image and cut out minimum 20 strips of brown chart paper.

Step 2 : Fold each strip and lace one end of the strip to the other end. Place the round strip inside another round strip and make a round shape like that of a pumpkin.

Step 3 : Use a leaf template and cut out leaf shape on green velvet paper and paste it on top the pumpkin.

Step 4 : See the reference and cut out a pumpkin stick and a long strip of paper to decorate over it. Stick all cut outs on top of the pumpkin.

Related Article:

Halloween Cookies Recipe

It’s that time of the year! When you get to dress up as spooky characters and eat yummy sweets and delicacies. Wouldn’t you like to make something on this fun occasion?

Here’s a fun Halloween recipe to double the fun this year! We’re going to make Halloween Cookies! To be specific, pumpkin orange cookies.

How to Make Pumpkin Orange Cookies

These moist, oh-so-yummy pumpkin cookies are full of the Fall-flavor, with the key ingredients being pumpkins and oranges. With the perfect finishing touch of orange glaze, this is one cookie you can’t wait to eat!

So how do we make these tasty pumpkin cookies?

The best thing about the pumpkin cookies is that they’re easy to make. Just remember to ask for the help of an adult to use the gas stove, or the oven and the microwave, and the kitchen utensils, and you’re all set to get cooking.

Preparation Time – 15 mins
Cooking Time – 12 mins
Makes – 3 dozen Cookies!

What You Need

For the Cookies

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 tablespoons) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

For the Orange Glaze

  • 1 ½ cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange peel

7 Steps to Make Cookies

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium mixer bowl. Set aside.
  4. Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl; beat until light, creamy and fluffy. Beat in egg. Beat in orange juice and orange peel, followed by pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat till combined. Stir in the nuts (optional)
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  6. Bake for around 12 – 14 minutes or until edges are golden, and dry on top. After 5 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. After it cools, spread on each cookie about 1/2 teaspoon Orange Glaze.

2 Steps to Make Orange Glaze

  1. Combine powdered sugar, enough orange juice and orange peel in a medium bowl until smooth and of desired consistency.
  2. And Voila! Your scrumptious halloween delight is ready! Call over your friends and treat them to your own home-baked super tasty halloween cookies!

Get more Information

How to Make Clay Lanterns

Clay Lanterns for Diwali

What You Need

  • Clay (any kind and any colour)
  • Cutting tools and a mat to work on.
  • Stamp, stencils or anything else you want to make an impression of.
  • Cling wrap (to protect the mat)
  • Bottle (of the size and shape you want for your lantern)
  • Sandpaper
  • Needle
  • Check that the clay is not flammable.

16 Steps to Make Clay Lanterns

1. Roll out the clay.

2. Take a hunk of clay and roll it out to about 0.5cm(1/4 in) thickness.

3. Cut the top and bottom edges in a straight line with the desired height (in my case I made it about 9cm(3.5in)).

4. Check that it is long enough by loosely wrapping it around the bottle and trim the edge.

5. Make an impression.

A Christmas ornament is used here to make an impression on the clay, stamps work nicely for this too. Or if you have a steady hand you can draw something yourself. Try to add even pressure and don’t push too hard that it goes through to the other side.

The cup is being made large enough here, so that two impressions of the dove could be made on it.

6. Poke holes.

With a needle or something with a pointy end (a seam ripper is used here) poke holes all the way through the clay along the pattern you made with the impression.

7. Space them roughly 2mm apart and make sure the needle enters the clay vertically, not at an angle.

8. A stencil is used here to add more holes since some areas looked a bit bare.

9. Make a cup.

Loosely wrap the clay around the bottle and connect the two ends together.

10. With the clay I used I just wet the clay and blended the edges together.

11. To make the bottom, roll out some more clay to about the same thickness as the sides.

12. Place the cylinder piece on top and trim around the edges

13. Connect the bottom piece by blending the edges of clay together. Allow to dry.

14. Sand and finish

15. Once the clay has dried you can sand it to smooth out the edges at the rim as well as along the seams.

16. Drop a tealight in and you’re done!

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