Shankar Abaji Bhise Biography

Who is Shankar Abaji Bhise?

Shankar Abaji Bhise was an Indian inventor, innovator and scientist who was entirely self-trained. He spent his childhood reading the Scientific American Magazines which were his introduction to the field of mechanical engineering. His big break came in the late 1890s when he won a trip to London.

Shankar Abaji Bhise’s famous inventions

It was during the early 1900s he produced his most innovative inventions – varying from kitchen gadgets to an automatically flushing toilet. He did so with the backing of Dadabhai Naoroji; who also had a long commercial career in England. Bhise’s most significant creation involved the printing press.


He created a prototype for the ‘Bhisotype’ – which would have had changed the printing industry. He was never able to bring together funds tomarket the Bhisotype. Despite falling into obscurity, he must be remembered for his innovative spirit, all while also supporting the freedom struggle in India.

Lal Bahadur Shastri Biography

Who was Lal Bahadur Shastri?

Lal Bahadur Shastri was the second Prime Minister of independent India, taking office after Jawaharlal Nehru. His popular slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” raised awareness about the importance of self-reliance and self-sustenance as the pillars of a strong nation.

Struggle for Independence

Shastri was inspired to join the struggle for independence after listening to a speech of Mahatma Gandhi’s in 1915. He was also well-read and followed the writings of foreign authors like Marx and Lenin. He later became the President of the Allahabad Congress Committee and played an important role in Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha.

Second Prime Minister India

His methods of protest were civil and non-violent in nature. He believed that disobedience did not have to be violent in nature. Through these manners of protest, he was able to influence laws involving poverty, women’s rights and religious freedoms. After independence, he led India through the Indo-Pak war of 1965 successfully as Prime Minister.

Aarey Forest Facts

The Aarey forest is a green stretch of deciduous forest adjacent to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. Once a sprawling expanse of greenery, it was divided up into grasslands, scrublands and marshlands when part of the land was given to the Aarey Dairy Co-operative in 1949.

Mumbai’s Green Lung

It is considered the last green lung of the bustling city of Mumbai – which is now overrun with buildings and cars. Aarey Forest is home to a variety of different species of mammals (including the majestic leopard), birds like the Hoopoe, Indian Roller and Grey Hornbill, and snakes which include the checkered keelback watersnake which is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act as a Schedule II creature.

Species and Habitats

The forest boasts an amazing variety of flora as well, with an impressive 0.4 million trees. This figure doesn’t include the many different varieties of shrubs, wildflowers and grasslands. Species which were previously considered extinct have been rediscovered in the Aarey Forest including the Trapdoor Spider and Tarantula.

A hub of diverse micro-habitats, this green expanse plays a large role in maintaining the ecologic balance of Mumbai.

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 –


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


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


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


  • 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.

Conditional Clause and Its Types

What is a conditional clause?

Conditional clauses are also called conditional sentences. They always have two parts, a main clause and an ‘if’ clause, which is a condition or a suggested situation.

Example: If he studies, he will pass in his exams.

Why is an ‘if’ used in a conditional clause?

An ‘if’ is used in a conditional clause because a conditional clause can only take place if a certain condition is fulfilled.

Types of conditional clauses

Conditional clauses are of the following types :

1. Zero conditional clause

In a zero conditional clause, general statements are used about actions that are certainly happening. Both the clauses are in present tense.

Example: The water boils, if it is heated

The water boils – Main Clause in Simple present
if it is heated – Conditional Clause Simple Present

2. First conditional clause

In a first conditional clause, the main clause is in the future and the ‘if ‘clause is in the present tense.

Example: If you don’t leave early, you will be late for school.

If you don’t leave early – Conditional Clause in Present Tense
you will be late for school – Main Clause in Future Tense

3. Second conditional clause

In a second conditional clause, past tense is used in the ‘if’ clause and the conditional perfect in the main clause.

Example: If I could cook, I would make a vegetable curry.

If I could cook – Conditional Clause in Past Tense
I would make a vegetable curry – Conditional Perfect in Main Clause

4. Third conditional clause

The third conditional clause uses a past tense in the ‘if’ clause and the action in conditional perfect.

Example: If he had known, he wouldn’t have done it.

If he had known – Conditional Clause in Past Tense
he wouldn’t have done it – Main Clause in Conditional Perfect

Simple Exercises:

Fill in the blanks with the right conditional to complete the sentence.
1. If you help your sister, she _________ be happy. (will)
2. If we ___________ a car, we could travel more. (had)
3. The baby __________ sleep, if we keep quiet. (will)

Muhammad Ali Biography

Who is Muhammad Ali?

Muhammad Ali was one of the most celebrated sportsperson of the 20th century. He is the first and only three time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.

Muhammad Ali was born as Cassius Clay and began training as a boxer at 12 years old. In a career that spanned almost 3 decades, Ali became one of the ‘Greatest’. His last fight was on December 11, 1981, with Trevor Berbick. He was a month short of his 40th birthday.

In 1984, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, sustained due to injuries to his head. He died on June 3rd, 2016, after several years as a philanthropist and a social activist. He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

Childhood and Early Life

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr, as Ali at birth was known as, was born on January 17, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He had a sister and four brothers. He was named after his father Cassius Marcellus Clay, who was named after a Republican Kentucky politician. His father was a billboard painter and his mother Odessa O’Grady Clay was a domestic helper. They were descendents of African slaves and some mix of Irish and English ancestry.

Clay grew up among racial discrimination and racial segregation.

On one occasion he was upset about his bicycle being stolen, and was guided to take up boxing training, by a Louisville police officer, Joe E Martin.

Later Life and Career

Clay made his boxing debut in 1954, against local amateur boxer Ronnie O’Keefe. He went on to win six Kentucky Golden Gloves titles, two national Golden Gloves titles, an Amateur Athletic Union national title and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics, in Rome. He lost the 1960 Gold medal and it was replaced when he lit the torch, to open the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Marriage and Children

Muhammad Ali was married four times and had seven daughters and two sons.

Muhammad Ali’s Boxing Record

Muhammad Ali’s boxing career boasts 56 wins, 5 losses and 37 knockouts. He won the Heavyweight Championship 3 times between 1964 to 1979, which made him the title of ‘The Greatest’. He holds this title along with two others, Evander Holyfield (USA) and Lennox Lewis (UK)

  • 1964 Defeated Sonny Liston
  • 1974 Defeated George Foreman
  • 1978 Defeated Leon Spinks


Muhammad Ali was involved in several causes he felt close to. He worked tirelessly for racial equality for African Americans and also worked on several causes to promote peace and equality globally, including working towards national debt clearance of poverty stricken countries.

Awards and Achievements

He was honoured with a number of titles including, ‘the Greatest’, ‘Fighter of the Year’, ‘Sportsman of the Year’, ‘Sportsman of the Century’ and Sports Personality of the Century.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom(2005) and Presidential Citizens Medal(2009) for his contributions.

He was inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He is even honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

5 Interesting facts about Muhammad Ali

  1. Ali was banned from boxing for 3 years due to his stance on the war in Vietnam.
  2. Ali had starred in a Broadway musical, recorded a spoken verse album, wrote poetry.
  3. Ali converted to Islam after his fight with Sonny Liston, in 1964.
  4. Muhammad Ali wrote two books, I am the Greatest and The Soul of a Butterfly

5 Super inspiring Muhammad Ali quotes

  1. If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.
  2. The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
  3. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
  4. It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
  5. It’s not bragging if you can back it up.

More information –

Meet the famous boxers from India – Vijender Singh and Mary Kom

Aerodynamics of Paper Planes

A simple piece of paper will fall down when dropped, but if we fold the same piece of paper in a specific manner, it will fly.

How do paper planes fly?

The ability to fly means the ability of an object to move or travel through air. There are four things that decide if an object is going to fly or not. Any change in these same factors also decide how fast it will fly or how fast it will fall.

What are the forces that prevent an object from flying?

Forces that prevent an object from flying are :

  • The weight force downwards: The heavier the object, the greater the force of gravity that pulls it down. That is why when we want to make things fly, we make them as light as possible. This is how weight affects the flight of the airplane.
  • The drag force: Drag is the force that is exerted in the opposite direction that the object is pushed in. It increases as the speed increases. In airplanes, drag is caused by the air surrounding the airplane.

The field which studies the interaction between the air and the moving object is called aerodynamics. The study of aerodynamics is important when designing airplanes and other objects moving through the wind. It is even used when designing trucks and trains.

  • The thrust upwards: The thrust upwards has to always be more or equal to the thrust downwards or the object will fall down. In airplanes when the plane moves in the air, the wing is designed in such a way that the air it is cutting through, is pushing the plane up. In helicopters, the thrust is generated by rotor blades that push the air downwards like a fan.
  • The thrust forward: The thrust forward pushes the plane forward. This pushes the airplane in a given direction. If the thrust forward is more than the drag force, the plane increases in speed. If the thrust is less then the drag, the plane decreases in speed. In large airplanes both thrust and force is generated by propellers or jet engines.

How far do paper planes fly?

The current world record for the distance a paper plane has flown is around 225 feet! Not bad for a folded piece of paper!

Floatation and Relative Density

What is floatation?

Floatation is the phenomenon of any substance or object resting on the surface of a liquid, without sinking.

The following are some floatation examples :

  • A plastic bottle floats on water.
  • A piece of wood floats on water.
  • Oil drops floating on water.

Why does an object float?

An object floats because of the differences in density of the object and the medium which is mainly liquid.
If a substance is denser than a liquid, it will sink. If a substance is less dense than the liquid it is put into, it will float.

What is density of a substance?

Density is the weight of a substance per unit volume. You can define the density of water by saying how many kilograms a liter of water or kerosene or any other substance weighs.
Another way of calculating density is by looking at the Relative Density of a substance. Which defines how dense a substance is, compared to another substance.

For example :
Mercury is 13.6 times denser than water. So if one liter of water weighs roughly one kilogram, one liter of mercury would weigh 13.6 kilograms.

What is the formula for Relative Density?

The formula for Relative Density (RD) is :
RD = (Weight of any volume of a substance) / (Weight of an equal amount of water)

Example :
500 ml of citric acid (lemon juice) weighs 800 grams. If 500 ml of water weighs 500 grams. What is the relative density of citric acid?

Solution :
RD = Weight of 500 ml Citric Acid/Weight of 500 ml Water
RD = 800/500
RD = 1.6
The Relative Density of Citric Acid with respect to Water is 1.6

The Relative Densities of some common substances are given below :

Relative Density of Water1
Relative Density of Soil2
Relative Density of Mercury13.6
Relative Density of Sand,2.65
Relative Density of Silver10

The Battle of Plassey

Why is the Battle of Plassey important to Indian colonial history?

The Battle of Plassey is considered a crucial event in Indian colonial history. The British East India Company was able to gain control after winning the battle against the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj – ud – Daulah. After this battle, the East India Company consolidated British presence in Bengal and then India, leading to nearly 200 years of British rule in India.

What led to the Battle of Plassey?

The British trading company, East India Company, had been given a royal charter by Queen Elizabeth on 31st December, 1600 to pursue trade in the East Indies. It included the right to form an army.

Although territorial conquest was not a priority in the first century of the company’s operations, it soon became the agenda to maintain trade in South Asia. The company faced competition from the rival companies, French East India Company and the Dutch and Portuguese counterparts. The different companies formed allies with various rulers to extend support against rebels and usurpers in exchange for trading support.

After the decline of the Mughal Empire and several independent rulers during the three Carnatic Wars, the British gained a stronger foothold in India.

The British forces became dominant, as a result of which, the British East India Company was able to extend and establish its powers and became the British Raj.

How did the Battle of Plassey take place?

  • In 1755, Siraj – ud – Daulah, became the Nawab of Bengal and allied with the French East India company. He then proceeded to overrun British trading posts, including the ones in Calcutta, because he felt the British were overriding his power and position as Nawab. He captured Fort William in Calcutta, in the Bengal Presidency, in 1756.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert Clive was sent from Madras to retake Calcutta. One of Siraj – ud – Daulah’s discontented followers, Mir Jafar was instrumental in betraying him to the British.
  • The Battle started with the French troops supporting the Nawab. Mir Jafar failed to join in the fighting, despite pleas from the Nawab. The battle was heading for a stalement, when it started to rain. The British troops were prepared with tarpaulins to keep the gun powder dry, but the Bengali troops were unprepared.
  • Unaware, the Nawab underestimated the British and open charged. The British open fired at the charging Bengali cavalry. They lost their commander, panicked and started moving back, exposing their artillery.
  • The British captured the Nawab’s artillery. The Nawab fled the battlefield and Mir Jafar was installed as a puppet ruler by the British.
  • This was the beginning of the rise of the British Raj in India.

Great Blue Hole of Belize Facts

What is the Great Blue Hole of Belize?

The Great Blue Hole is a huge submarine sinkhole. It is located near the center of the Lighthouse Reef, a small island 100 kilometres from the Belize City.

How deep is the Great Blue Hole of belize?

The hole is circular in shape, and is over 300 meters across and 125 meters deep. It is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind and is an integral part of the larger Barrier Reef Reserve System, which is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

How was the Great Blue Hole Belize formed?

The Great Blue Hole formed in stages, starting about 153,000 years ago as a sinkhole. The sinkhole originally formed as a limestone cave during the last glacial period. This was a time when the sea levels were much lower. As the ocean started to rise, the cave got flooded and finally collapsed, resulting in a ‘vertical cave’ in the ocean. This research was done by French Naval Officer and pioneer marine biologist, Jacques Cousteau, in the year 1971.

Who named the Great Blue Hole Belize?

The name ‘Great Blue Hole’ was given to this spectacular natural geographic feature by the British diver and author Ned Middleton, in his book Ten Years Underwater.

What type of animals and plants are found in the Great Blue Hole of Belize?

There are over 500 rare forms of animal and plant life found in the Great Blue Hole of Belize. Here, you would be able to meet several unique species of fish, including Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean Reef Shark, and other rare fishes.

What kind of sharks are in the Blue Hole Belize?

Sharks such as the Bull Shark and Hammerheads, have also been reported here.

3 Interesting facts about Great Blue Hole of Belize

  1. Each year, more than 200,000 people come to visit the Great Blue Hole of Belize from all over the world.
  2. The Blue Hole Monument is one of the seven wonders of the Belize’s World Heritage site.
  3. The Discovery Channel placed the Great Blue Hole Belize at number one on its list of ‘The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth’.

Elasticity vs Plasticity

All of you would have heard the terms ‘plastic’ and ‘elastic’. Do you know that ‘plastic’ and ‘elastic’ are also important scientific terms that are used to describe the properties of materials such as rubber, plastic, metal, etc?

What is elasticity?

In Physics, when an external force is applied to the surface of any material, the material goes through a physical change or deformation. When the force is removed, the material, depending on its properties, may or may not return to its original shape. Now, if the material returns to its original shape, it is said to be elastic in nature, and this property is known as ‘elasticity’.

What is plasticity?

On the other hand, if the material does not regain its original shape, it is said to be plastic in nature, and this property is known as ‘plasticity’.

What kind of materials are known as elastic and plastic materials?

Elastic material:

One of the most common examples of elasticity is a rubber band. You can easily stretch it to a length many times its original one, but when you release it, it returns to its original shape. The balloons that you use in your birthday parties are again made of rubber, which is an elastic material. Even those stretchable jeans and shirts that you wear are made of an elastic material, mostly spandex which is a stretchable fiber.

Plastic material:

The bending of a steel rod upon applying force is an example of plasticity. Once bent, it cannot come back to its original position.

What happens when force is applied to a body?

When an external force is applied to a body, the body tends to break. This happens because the distance between the atoms inside it, increases and each atom tries to pull its neighboring atom closer to itself. The pull between the atoms creates a force inside the body that tries to resist the deformation. This force is called strain, and the deforming force on the body is known as stress. The resistance of a material to elastic deformation or deflection is called stiffness. Also, there is a limit to the force which a body can resist without breaking. This limit is called the elastic limit of a body.

Difference between plasticity and elasticity





It is an irreversible process.

It is a reversible process.


Plastic materials are highly ductile in nature.

Elastic materials are less ductile in nature.

Shape and size

The shape and size of materials change permanently in this process.

The shape and size of materials does not change permanently




Hooke’s Law and elasticity

Hooke’s Law proposes that the amount of elongation of a spring is directly proportional to the force that is acting on it. Springs and every elastic material require an application of some force to stretch it. The force required to stretch an elastic material depends on the stiffness of the material, and is known as the ‘Young’s modulus’ or ‘elastic modulus.

In other words, Young’s modulus is a measure of the flexibility of a given material. With the help of Young’s modulus, engineers and scientists can calculate and understand the behavior of a material under load. For example, it can be used to foretell how much a wire will extend under tension, or to predict the load at which a thin column will give away under compression.

Young’s modulus is constant over a range of strains. Such materials are called linear. Examples of linear materials include Steel, Carbon Fiber and Glass.
Rubber is a non – linear material.

Uses of plasticity in the metal industry

The metal industry takes advantage of the plastic properties of materials by making them undergo some degree of permanent deformation without rupture or failure. Almost all materials including metals, plastics, soils, rocks and concrete undergo plastic deformations. Heat and pressure are commonly used to shape these materials into the desired form. This is done in a carefully controlled environment so that the objects do not beak apart. Metals like copper, silver, steel and gold have greater plastic deformation ranges. Materials like rubber, crystals and ceramics have the least plastic deformation ranges.

5 Interesting facts about elasticity

  1. A steel bar or wire can be extended only around 1 percent of its original length, while in case of rubberlike materials, we can get elastic extensions of up to 1,000 percent also.
  2. When force is applied on a given body, the bonds between the atoms inside it break leading to deformations. Elastic materials like rubber have long-chain molecules that uncoil because of which it gets extended and gets back into shape when they recoil.
  3. Rubber can be stretched three times its original size.
  4. Your hairs have elastic properties too. A single strand of hair can hold 100 grams of weight without breaking!!
  5. Young’s modulus is represented by the alphabet E. The higher this value is, the stiffer the material is!!

What are seedless plants?

All of us have read in our Science classes that plants grow from seeds. This is not true of all the plants that are found on Earth. Yes, you would be surprised to know that there are many plants that do not grow from the seeds.

Evolution of seedless plants

Scientists believe that the seedless plants first appeared on Earth about 400 million years ago. Such seedless plants include ferns, mosses, horsetails and liverworts. These plants have stems, roots, and leaves like other plants, but since they do not produce flowers, they have no seeds.

These plants, however, have specialized tissues for conducting water and food. Seedless plants lack a system of retaining and transporting water.

Reproduction in seedless plants

Now the question is, how do the seedless plants reproduce? Well, the seedless plants reproduce via seed-like objects, known as spores, or they produce through asexual reproduction.

What are spores?

Spores are usually unicellular or single-celled structures, having only one set of chromosomes. Spores lay dormant until conditions are favorable. Once conditions are favorable, cell division takes place in them and they grow into full-fledged plants. Spores are produced in bulk in a seedless plant and since they are very small and light, they are dispersed by the wind to new areas where they can grow.

What is asexual reproduction in seedless plants?

Some seedless plants reproduce asexually. This method of reproduction occurs when a part of the plant falls off on the ground and grows into a new plant on its own.

What are vascular and non-vascular plants?

Vascular plants are the plants which have a series of tubes that can transport water. All seed plants are vascular, whereas seedless plants can be vascular or non-vascular. Seedless vascular plants include ferns and horsetails. Such plants have proper roots, stems, and leaves. Non-vascular plants include mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. These plants do not have well-differentiated root, shoots and stems or water transport system so they thrive only in moist places.

Examples of seedless vascular plants

A. Fern

Ferns are one of the most common plants found in our homes. You would have seen these plants at the florist and even being used for landscaping in big hotels, malls and airports. Ferns produce spores on the underside of their leaves. The leaves of ferns are called fronds and have small brown spots down below. These small brown spots are nothing else but spores and you can feel them with your hands too. It is believed that the ferns were the first plant species to develop a water transportation system that helped them in growing larger.

B. Horsetails

Horsetails and ferns are closest living relatives to seed plants, because they have a vascular system. Most of these plants are extinct so the chances of you seeing them are rare.

Examples of non-vascular seedless plants

A. Mosses

Mosses are small, soft and spongy plants that grow only a few inches tall. They grow in clumps and form a sort of a carpet on the ground. Mosses anchor themselves to rocks and soil with short growths called rhizoids.

B. Liverworts

The worts are considered to be the simplest of all plants and believed to be one of the first plants to have colonized the Earth. They are small, flat and along the ground in large leaf-like structures. Instead of roots, they have little hair called rhizoids to absorb moisture. Like mosses, they also thrive in moist areas, and some species even spend their whole lives in water.

6 Interesting facts about the seedless plants

  1. In a hostile environment, such as the tundra where the soil remains frozen for almost the whole year, mosses provide food and shelter to many species, from small insects to musk oxen and reindeer.
  2. Mosses absorb pollutants from the air and hence the level of pollution at a particular place can be determined by the existing number of mosses there.
  3. Dried peat moss is a renewable resource for energy.
  4. Ferns promote the weathering of rock and help in soil formation.
  5. Ferns harbor nitrogen fixing bacteria in their roots and thereby enrich the soil in nutrients.
  6. Coal is primarily made of seedless vascular plants.

Marie Curie Biography

Who was Marie Curie?

Marie Curie was born on 7th November, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the award in two fields of science, Physics and Chemistry. She died on July 4, 1934, in France, due to aplastic anemia, caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.

What is Marie Curie best known for?

She is the most famous female scientists of all times and has received several posthumous honours. Marie Curie made many breakthroughs in her life and she along with her husband Pierre Curie’s research led to the discovery of radium and polonium.

Early life and education

Born as Maria Sklodowska, and the daughter of teachers, Marie Curie was the youngest of five children and took after her father, Wladysław, with her aptitude for Math and Physics. At the age of 10, she lost her mother, Bronislawa, to tuberculosis.

A top student in her school, Marie Curie was unable to attend the men only University of Warsaw. She continued her education in Warsaw’s ‘Floating University’ informal classes, that were conducted.

Marie helped her sister Bronislawa to complete her medical studies in Paris, while she worked to support them, in exchange for the same support.

In late 1891, she left Poland for France and enrolled at the University of Paris, to study Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. She underwent severe hardships while following through with her education. In 1893, she was awarded a degree in Physics and began working in an industrial laboratory of Professor Gabriel Lippmann.

Marie and Pierre Curie

With the aid of a fellowship, she was able to earn a second degree in 1894. Marie began her scientific career with a commission to study magnetic properties of different types of steels. She met her husband Pierre Curie around this time. Their mutual interest soon developed into deep feelings and they married.

Their eldest daughter Irene was a scientist and a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry.

Marie Curie’s research and discoveries

  • In 1895, after Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the existence of X – rays and Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium salts emitted rays that resembled X – rays, Marie Curie decided to look into Uranium rays as a research thesis. This research brought Pierre and Marie their first Nobel Prize along with Henri Becquerel in Physics, in 1903.
  • Their journey continued with their work on X Rays, Radium and Polonium bringing them several accolades. Their contribution to science paved the way for nuclear and atomic energy sciences. Pierre Curie lost his life in 1906, due to an accident.
  • Marie Curie received her second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of the elements, Radium and Polonium, in 1911.
  • In 1995, Marie Curie were enshrined in the Pantheon in Paris. She was the first woman to be honoured for her achievements.

Top 4 quotes by Marie Curie

  1. I am among those who think that science has great beauty.
  2. It was like a new world opened to me, the world of science, which I was at last permitted to know in all liberty.
  3. One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
  4. Scientist believe in things, not in person.

Kingdom Classification of Living Organisms

What is classification of kingdoms of living organisms?

In biology, classification of kingdoms is very important as living organisms need to be classified to study and to understand them better.

Who created the classification of living things?

Classification of living things was first formalised by Carolus Linnaeus (also known as Carl Linnaeus), a Swedish botanist, and zoologist, in 1735. He classified all living things as Plants and Animals on the basis of nutrition and locomotion (mobility).

The two classification system however did not indicate an evolutionary relationship between plants and animals and grouped unicellular and multicellular organisms together and some organisms were not classifiable based on the limiting parameters, including viruses.

The classification of living organisms took on a new journey with the discovery of the microscope. New organism were discovered, and new classification became necessary. Today the classification of living organism consists of six kingdoms.

How did the six kingdom of classification come to be?

The German biologist Earnst Haeckel in 1866, in his book Generelle Morphologie der Organismen, had classified the living world into three kingdoms : Protista, Plants and Animals. The group Protista included all single celled organisms that are intermediate in many respects between plants and animals.

R H Whittaker, an American Taxonomist, classified all living things in a five kingdom classification in 1969. They were Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plants and Animals.

They were classified on the basis of:

  • Complexity of cell structure
  • Complexity of body organisation
  • The mode of nutrition
  • Life style (ecological role)
  • Phylogenetic (evolutionary) relationships

The six kingdoms of classification which is the current standard of classification of all living things was defined around 1980. It was defined by Carl Richard Woese, an American microbiologist.

He based this classification on his studies of ribosomal RNA. His studies made it possible to divide the prokaryotes into two kingdoms, called Eubacteria and Archaebacteria.

What are the six kingdoms of living organisms?

1. Archeabacteria –

  • They are very primitive single celled organisms that live in harsh and severe environments.
  • Prokaryote
  • No true nucleus
  • Unicellular
  • Autotrophic or Heterotrophic
  • Live in extreme conditions and are chemically different from Eubacteria

2. Eubacteria –

  • They are classified as true bacteria and have rigid cell walls.
  • Prokaryote
  • No true nucleus
  • Unicellular
  • Autotrophic or Heterotrophic
  • Live everywhere – “true bacteria”

3. Protist –

  • They are classified as neither plants, animals or fungi. They are generally unicellular.
  • Eukaryote
  • True nucleus
  • Most are unicellular
  • Autotrophic or Heterotrophic
  • Can be protozoa, algae, funguslike, autotrophic, heterotrophic, unicellular or multicellular

4. Fungi –

  • They are classified separately from plants because of the absence of cellulose in their cell walls and the presence of chitin, a hard substance uncommon in plant cells.
  • Eukaryote
  • True nucleus
  • Multicellular (except for yeast)
  • Heterotrophic
  • Digest their food outside of their bodies

5. Plant –

  • They are classified based on the fact that they are multicellular, have chlorophyll and can manufacture their own food.
  • Eukaryote
  • True Nucleus
  • Multicellular
  • Autotrophic
  • All multicellular autotrophs
  • Start food chains, no life on Earth without plants

6. Animal –

  • They are classified based on the fact that they are multi – cellular, have mostly internal digestive systems and do not have rigid cellular walls.
  • Eukaryote
  • True Nucleus
  • Multicellular
  • Heterotrophic
  • All multicellular heterotrophs
  • Largest known kingdom with over 1 million species

Difference between Electrolysis and Electroplating

What is electrolysis?

You must have heard that metals like iron and copper are extracted from iron ores and copper ores. Electrolysis is the process of separating or extracting the metal from the ore. Electric current is passed through the ore’s electrolyte/solution to result in a chemical change.

This chemical change is such that the substance loses or gains an electron. This process is known as Electrolysis.

What is electroplating?

Electroplating is the practical application of electrolytic cells. In this, a thin layer of metal is deposited onto an electrically conductive surface. In electroplating, the idea is to use electricity to cover or coat a relatively boring metal with a thin layer of another precious metal for it to look expensive.

A boring metal like copper can be coated with a thin layer of gold or silver and that is electroplating. Even in electroplating, it is required to pass electric current through a solution called electrolyte and the metal to be coated is dipped in the electrolyte.

Process of electrolysis

Electrolysis requires two oppositely charged poles. The cathode is negatively charged; it is the site of the reduction of positive ions. The anode is positively charged; it is the site of the oxidation of negative ions. In an electrolytic cell, these two poles are connected to an external power source. The circuit is typically completed by a salt solution called the electrolyte. In the production of metal through electrolysis, a layer of metal will form on the cathode.

Hydrogen gas and Oxygen gas are separated similarly from water.

Process of electroplating

Electroplating involves passing an electric current through a solution called an electrolyte. This is done by dipping two electrodes into an electrolyte and connecting it to direct current.

If we are copper plating some brass, we need a copper electrode, a brass electrode, and a solution of a copper-based compound such as copper sulfate solution.

We dip the two electrodes into the solution and connect them up into a circuit so the copper becomes the positive electrode (or anode) and the brass becomes the negative electrode (or cathode). When we switch on the power, the copper sulfate solution splits into ions. Positively charged copper ions are attracted to the negatively charged brass electrode and slowly deposit on it – producing a thin later of copper plate on the brass object to be coated.

What are the uses of electrolysis?

  • An important use of electrolysis is in the production of metals like aluminium, sodium, calcium, magnesium; or even the purification of metals like copper, gold and silver.
  • These days the electrolysis of water is used in the production of hydrogen for fuel or generation of electricity using fuel cells.
  • Our daily life would be very difficult without electrolysis. Example: the alkali used in making soap is produced by the process of electrolysis.
  • Did you know that astronauts and the people who live in submarines get their oxygen through the process of electrolysis?

What are the uses of electroplating?

  • Metals such as gold and silver are plated for decoration purposes. It is cheaper to have gold plated or silver plated jewellery rather than the pure form of gold or silver.
  • Then we have metals such as tin or zinc which are plated to give them a protective layer. This makes such metals resistant to corrosion.
  • Electroplating is also used to increase the layer of thickness in metals. Corrosion protection, wear resistance and lubricity are what electroplating provides to a metal.

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

Swami Vivekananda Chicago Speech

Swami Vivekananda at the World’s Parliament of Religions

Chicago | 11 September, 1893

Sisters and Brothers of America,

It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us.

I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions; and I thank you in the name of the millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.

My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.

I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth.

I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny.

I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation.

I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings:

“As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”

The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world, of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:

“Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to Me.”

Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

But their time has come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.


The parliament of World Religions was an attempt at global dialogue between religious leaders from around the world. Bring together a group of your friends from different religions, and invite other people including your parents and other friends to debate the various aspects of your faith and theirs.

For more such inspirational speeches for kids, don’t forget to visit our Speeches for Kids category page.

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.

Australia is drowning in Plastic Bags!

Plastic is one of the worst threats our planet faces. It is part of our daily lives and we have been using plastic since over 50 years. Plastic is not only killing life in our oceans, but is also threatening our very existence on this planet.

Australia gets top marks for being the worst hit by the plastic mania.

How many Plastic Bags are used every year in Australia?

Australia alone accounts for 14 billion or 606 bags per Australian per year! Heavy duty plastic bags are handed out by retailers and they don’t even get recycled.

Plastic Bags harming Marine Life!

These plastic bags are dumped in the ocean and are found inside the stomach of poor marine creatures. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and then they are choked to death. Sea birds are also dying due to an increase in such toxic waste.

Recycling bags is seen as a hassle in Australia, thus these bags are just dumped. Australia throws away almost 7000 plastic bags per minute!

Wake up Australia! Its time to make the planet a better place…

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.

Difference between Algae and Fungus

What is a fungus?

A fungus is a living being, which does not contain chlorophyll, and is not green. We share a love hate relationship with fungus. The yeast we use to make pizza dough and bread is a also a fungus; so it is our hero then. Other fungi grow to huge size, right before our eyes, like mushrooms. But most mushrooms are poisonous, so now we hate fungus.

How does fungi grow?

Does your mother throw away old, stale bread? Fungi get their nourishment by feeding off decaying life matter. Have you seen your stale and forgotten bread become icky and greenish white? The fungus (mold) produces furry, thread-like, spore producing hyphae, which feed on food. They are the size of 10 micrometer and you would need a microscope to see them.

Mushrooms and toadstools are those types of fungi; which like the seeds of an apple, will generate more fungi. Fungus have been in existence since 450 million years (oldest fossil called Prototaxite and 30 feet tall).
Have you wondered what the green slimy stuff in your fish tank is?

What is algae?

Algae is the green moss that grows in your fish tank when you neglect it and don’t clean it. It’s a general term used to describe a group of simple organisms that range from being unicellular to multicellular and are photosynthetic in nature. They thrive in either water or damp environment.

Water and carbon dioxide are used by the algae to photosynthesize and produce sugar which acts as food for them and the oxygen is used by the fishes to breathe.

Types of algae

Chlamydomonas – A chlamydomonas is a single celled algae that looks like a worm, with its two flagella (legs) protruding out.

Volvox – Volvox is a multi-cellular algae that looks that a circular galaxy system filled with algal cells instead of stars.

Spirogyra – The Spirogyra, is a rectangular algae.

Macrocystis – Macrocystis algae is the largest algae, that grows to 60 meters in length; and provides a dense shelter to fishes from prey. And whales and shrimps love to feast on algae as it is loaded with protein.

Algae produces 87% of the Earth’s oxygen, as a photosynthetic biproduct.

6 Interesting fun facts about algae and fungus

  1. The red tide which is a seasonal algal bloom is kms wide and travels to coasts. Some varieties may end up choking marine life through depletion of oxygen, production of toxins which can damage nervous systems of larger marine mammals and bird life.
  2. Red squirrels hang mushrooms to dry to eat during winter.
  3. Truffles are the most expensive fungi and considered a delicacy.
  4. Fungus is used to decompose industrial wastes.
  5. The first antibiotic penicillin is extracted from fungus.
  6. Wine and cheese are fermented using fungus.

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.

Benefits of Surya Namaskar

Sun is the life source of our planet. Every organism on earth derives life from some element of the sun. “Surya Namaskar” or “Sun Salutation” essentially means bowing down to the sun.

The principle of Surya Namaskar, as described by Indian sages, is to “digest” the sun, internalize it, and make it a part of your system to reap its many physical and spiritual benefits.

What is Surya Namaskar?

The Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation, comprises of a sequence of 12 yoga postures, best done at sun rise. If done fast, it serves as a great cardiovascular workout. If done slowly, these postures help tone our muscles and relax the system. Regular practice of the Surya Namaskar gives strength, vitality and flexibility to our bodies.

How to do Surya Namaskar?

The 12 poses of the Surya Namaskar, in order are

  1. Pranamasan / Prayer Pose – The first pose, where one stands erect with feet fully touching each other, and palms together. The idea is to start with a prayer to the sun.
  2. Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose – The pose where arms are raised upward, with palms still together. The idea is to stretch the body, towards the sun. Inhale Pose.
  3. Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot pose – A pose where one bends forward such that our palms touch our feet, while keeping our spine erect, and without bending our knees. Exhale pose.
  4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana / Equesterian Pose – Pose where the right leg is pushed as far back as possible, with the left leg between the palms on the ground. Inhale Pose.
  5. Dandasana / Stick Pose – A pose where you balance the entire body on your arms, keeping the spine erect.
  6. Ashtanga Namaskara / Eight Point Salutation Pose – A pose where the chin, chest, palms, knees and feet are touching the ground, with the hips raised. Exhale Pose.
  7. Bhujangasana / Cobra Pose – A pose like the cobra, where the lower body and palms touch the ground, and the upper body is stretched upwards and forward. Inhale Pose.
  8. Adho Mukho Shavasana/ Downward Dog Pose – With the palms and feet touching the ground, the hips are raised so the body forms an inverted “V”, resembling a stretching dog. Exhale Pose.
  9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose) – Pose where the left leg is pushed as far back as possible, with the right leg between the palms on the ground. Inhale Pose.
  10. Hasta Padasana / Hand to Foot pose – A pose where one bends forward such that our palms touch our feet, while keeping our spine erect, and without bending our knees. Exhale pose.
  11. Hastauttanasana / Raised Arms Pose – The pose where arms are raised upward, with palms still together. The idea is to stretch the body, towards the sun. Inhale Pose.
  12. Tadasana / Standing Pose – A relaxing pose, where one stands erect, with arms to the side. Exhale Pose.

10 Benefits of Surya Namaskar

Regular practice of Sun Salutation offers a lot of interesting benefits for every part of the body. Let’s take a look at some of them –

  1.  Improves circulation of blood. Good blood circulation is the first law of health.
  2. Strengthens the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, back, stomach, waist, abdomen, intestines, thighs, knees, calves and ankles. Basically strengthens us overall.
  3. Gives the body a rigorous workout, thereby reducing excess fat.
  4. Helps tone our muscles and keep them lean and strong.
  5. Helps relax our mind and reduces anxiety, fear and restlessness.
  6. Helps build focus and achieve inner peace.
  7. Improves flexibility of the spine and limbs.
  8. Improves posture and thus, general attractiveness
  9. Improves the functions of all our internal organs.
  10. Helps calm your mind, giving you a good night’s sleep.

Thus, we see that regular practice of Surya Namaskar basically ensures that our body is performing at its optimum level. Children as young as 5 can start doing the Surya Namaskar. In fact, in recent times, people have started becoming more aware of the benefits of yoga, such that parents even ensure that babies include yoga as a part of their daily regimen.

Get to know more about the International Yoga Day, here

Major Biomes of the World

What is a Biome?

A biome is formed of plants and animals having common characteristics due to similar climates and can be found in different continents. Biomes comprise of variety of habitats. There are seven major biomes in this world.

What are the major types of Biomes on Earth?

1. Tropical Rain Forest:

Tropical Rain Forests provide shelter to maximum number of species in comparison to other biomes. They are found in parts of South and Central America, Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, Southern India and North eastern Australia.

Natural Vegetation:

Broad-leaved evergreen trees found. Both tall and short vegetations grow, forming two layers- Upper and lower layers.
The upper layer consists of tall trees. The leafy tree tops extend up to 70 metres above the forest floors and form a canopy. Under such canopy the shorter vegetation (trees and vines) grow, forming the second layer. Other vegetations found in these forests are fern, climbing trees, orchids and bromeliads. The soil is thin and do not contain much minerals.
Climate: Climate is hot and wet throughout the year.
Wildlife: The wildlife consists of the following species:

  • Herbivores such as tapirs, capybaras and sloths.
  • Birds such as parrots, parakeets and toucans.
  • Reptiles such as Caymans, anacondas, frogs and boa constrictors.
  • Insects such as butterflies, beetles and ants.
  • Besides, jaguars, monkeys, anteaters, piranhas and various other freshwater fishes are also found.

2. Arctic Tundra:

It is located in the north around the Arctic Ocean. It covers Lapland and Scandinavia; Siberia; Alaska and Canada; a large portion of Greenland. Apart this, there is another tundra named alpine tundra. It is a separate biome which exists at the tops of high mountains.

Natural Vegetation:

It is treeless swampy plains. Trees never grow due to the presence of permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil). However, small shrubs, cushion plants and lichens are found.
Climate: The climate remains cold throughout the year.
Wildlife: Species which live in this biome are:

  • Polar bear, caribou, grey wolves and arctic foxes.
  • Insects such as blackflies, midges and mosquitoes.

3. Coniferous Forest:

The coniferous forest is found in the south of the Arctic tundra. It covers Alaska, Atlantic Ocean and Eurasia. Taiga present in the Northern Hemisphere is considered to be the largest stretch of coniferous forest in the world. Commercial softwood timber required for making paper is available here.

Natural Vegetation:

Cone bearing tress like spruce, fir and hemlock are mainly found in these forests. Soil is fertile.
Climate: The climate is cold.
Wildlife: Species present in these forests are:

  • Snowshoe rabbit, ermine and moose.
  • Birds such as crossbill and great horned owl.

4. Deciduous Forest:

Deciduous forest is found in the mild temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. It covers eastern North America, Europe, and eastern Asia.

Natural Vegetation:

Deciduous forests are abundant in trees such as oak, beech, maple and ash. Besides, wildflower and berries also grow there. Soil is rich in minerals.
Climate: This biome has four seasons, namely, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Wildlife: Wildlife consists of the following species:

  • American gray squirrels, deer, raccoons and rabbits.
  • Birds such as woodpeckers, cardinals and finches.
  • Insects like wood mice and others.

5. Desert:

Desert covers about one fifth land surface of the earth. It is present in all the continents except Europe. Deserts are of two types.
Hot and Dry: Arabian and Sahara deserts.
Cold and Dry: Antarctica and Gobi desert.

Natural Vegetation:

Different types of cactus are mainly found in desert regions.
Climate: The climate of the desert region is either hot or cold.
Wildlife: The species found in deserts are:

  • Camel, frogs, toads, lizards and snakes are found in hot deserts.
  • Emperor and Adélie penguins are found in Antarctic desert.

6. Grasslands:

Grasslands are called by different names throughout the world such as prairies (USA); veld (South Africa); savannas (South America and Africa); steppes (Eurasia); pampas (South America)

Natural Vegetation:

This biome is consists of grassy fields.

Climate: The climate of grasslands is hot and dry.

Wildlife: The wildlife includes the following species:

  • Prairie dog and the mule deer in North America.
  • Giraffe and the zebra in Africa.
  • Lion in Africa and Asia.

7. Mountains:

Mountains are found in all continents. The two great belts on which several mountains of the world lie are :The Circum-Pacific chain or the Ring of Fire (stretches from the west coast of the Americas through New Zealand and Australia and Japan through the Philippines) and Alpine-Himalayan belt or Tethyan system ( runs from the Pyrenees in Spain and France through the Alps and the Himalayas before ending in Indonesia)

Natural Vegetation:

Growth of plants depends on geographical location and altitude. Trees do not grow at the higher elevations .The lower elevations are covered by forests.
Climate:The climate of regions is cold and windy.
Wildlife: Species found in this biome are ibex or wild goat, sheep, puma, mountain lion, mountain goat and yak.

Weird green ice floats on Antarctic harbor

Microalgae abounds in the Antarctic!

Microalgae abounds in the Antarctic region but certain factors like sea ice, winds, sunlight, nutrient availability and predators are necessary to make them visible from outer space.

Photosynthetic Plankton grows all around Antarctica in the summer months which are from October to February. Though it is now autumn in this region, the algae bloom can happen during the fall too. It is a late season bloom which seems to have gotten trapped in the slushy, just-about-to form sea ice. The algae are trapped within or below it. Many aquatic creatures like whales, shrimp, snails and jelly fish acquire nourishment from these.

Can Penguins fly?

Have you ever seen a flying Penguin?

The way they flap their “wings” and run around is adorable. And yet, in spite of all the flapping around, they never seem to get off the ground and fly. Do you ever wonder why that’s the case? Why can’t these adorable birds fly? A lot of research has gone into answering this question.

And here’s what the research says,

The penguin is a bird species that is highly specialized for its native environment, which includes the coasts of Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, and the Galapagos Islands. There, being able to swim to catch fish is more useful than flying.

Firstly, do Penguins have Wings?

Yes and no. Penguins have wing-like flippers. These tapered, flattened flippers are covered with short, scale-like feathers. Typical wings are too flexible, and hence, ill-suited for swimming. Water being denser than air, penguin wings are shorter and stouter than the wings of flying birds.

Why do Penguins have Wings if they can’t Fly?

As mentioned before, penguin wings are actually flippers that are perfectly adapted for swimming. They are narrow and hard and help propel and steer penguins through the water. So it’s these “wings” that make penguins such expert swimmers.

Why can’t Penguins fly?

A Study of the Evolution of Penguins reveals more,
As penguins evolved, their wings adapted to becoming more efficient while swimming and diving (to catch their food). This meant that flying now required more and more energy. At some point, this trade-off meant that flying consumed too much energy. Hence, instead of sustaining flight, becoming flightless was by far a better option for penguins. This also means that penguins today have heavier bones, more suited to grounded birds.

Thus, the penguins that can dive as deep as 1,850 feet in search of fish, squid and tiny crustaceans called krill are awkward on land – waddling across the ice or sliding on their bellies.

Scientists have concluded that a wing that is good for flying cannot also be good for diving and swimming in other words, a bird that is a good swimmer cannot excel at flying.

Related Article

Here’s a fun video about 11 amazing Facts about Penguins.

Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi : The historical city of Karnataka

The magnificent ruins that you see behind me are that of the village and temple town Hampi in Karnataka, India. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and has been on travellers’ bucket lists for many years.

History of Hampi

Hampi got its name from the Tungabhadra River, on the banks of which lay the Vijaynagar Empire. Hampi was the capital of this wealthy and grand Empire. Hampi was ruled by four dynasties from 1336 to 1565. These were Sangama, Saluva,Tuluva and Aravidu. The rulers of these dynasties built more than 500 monuments which are present even today. Hampi was a trade center as it was the capital. Trade for cotton, spices, horses and gem stones were at its peak. Rubies and diamonds were sold on the streets whereas gold and silver coins were used for trading. The architecture and grandeur of Hampi was admired by travellers like the Arabs, Portugese and Italians. It was a rich town until in 1565 when Hampi was looted by armies of Muslim rulers as the city was in constant conflict with them.

6 Facts about Hampi

  1. The village of Hampi is like an open museum adorned with beautiful architecture, most of which are religious buildings apart from Civil and Military ones.
  2. The Virupaksha temple is the most prominent and visited building in Hampi. It is believed that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati in this very temple.
  3. The Lotus Palace, Hazara Rama Temple and the Lakshmi Narasimha Temple still have beautiful Vijaynagar architectural designs and are worth a visit.
  4. Hampi is also famous for conducting the festival of Purandaradasa Aradhna, celebrated to honour the poet Purandaradasa.
  5. People also flock to the banks of the Tungabhadra River which is very famous with travel photographers as well.
  6. There is also a long line of Elephant stables, each having different tombs. It is where the Royal elephants of Vijaynagar would rest.

I am having a great time here, as I feel I am a part of this grand empire.

Akbar Birbal: Birbal Goes To Heaven

Emperor Akbar was very fond of Birbal and favoured him. This made the other courtiers at Akbar’s court jealous of Birbal. They, and many other people in the kingdom, continuously plotted for Birbal’s downfall, but were never able to succeed in their plans.

The Emperor’s barber was also very jealous of Birbal. One day, he hatched a vicious plan against Birbal. He went to trim the Emperor’s beard and said, “Sir, last night I dreamt about your father.” The Emperor got interested, so he asked, “Really? What did he say to you?”

The shrewd barber replied, “Sir, he said that he was extremely happy in the paradise, but sometimes he feels a great absence of a quick witted man who can amuse him.” He further added, “Jahanpanah, you must do something about it. You must send someone with a good sense of humour for his recreation. I am sure your father will be very happy with you then and shower you with his choicest blessings.”

On seeing the Emperor caught in a dilemma as to whom to send, he suggested Birbal’s name. Akbar also whole heartedly agreed with the barber.

Next day, the Emperor summoned Birbal and said, “Birbal, I firmly believe that you are extremely loyal to me and can sacrifice anything for me. Am I right? “

Birbal instantly replied, “Yes Jahanpanah! That is absolutely right.”

“Then Birbal, please go to the heaven to give company to my dear father,” said the Emperor.

Birbal did not take time to understand that this was another diabolical plan of somebody to get him killed.

He politely said, “I will do so, but I need a few days to prepare myself to go to the heaven.”

The Emperor said, “Yes, sure! I grant you one week to prepare yourself to go to the heaven.”

Birbal went back to his home and started to think of a suitable plan to save his life and then, a nice idea struck him. He dug a ditch near his house which would serve as his grave, and thorough that ditch, dug a tunnel that opened in one of the rooms of his house.

Once everything was done, he reported back to the court and said, ” I am ready, His Majesty, but there two conditions.”

The Emperor said, “Yes Birbal, it would be my pleasure to fulfill your last wishes. Tell me, what are your conditions?

Birbal said, “His majesty, I wish to be buried near my house. And I want to be buried alive so that I can reach heaven alive to amuse your dear father.”

Akbar readily agreed upon Birbal’s conditions. All the jealous courtiers and the barber were elated to know that soon they will get rid of Birbal.

So, a date was chosen and Birbal was buried alive near his house. After the burial, Birbal made his way to his house and lived there in confinement for six months. Meanwhile, he also came to know that the Emperor’s barber had masterminded the plan of getting him killed. After six months, he came out of hiding with a grown beard and shabby hair and presented himself before the Emperor.

Akbar was overjoyed to see Birbal once again. He asked him excitedly, “Birbal, you are back! How is my father? Did he send you back or is there something else?”

Birbal said, “Your Majesty, all is well in the heaven. I was there with your dear father. He was so happy with my services that he gave me special permission to return to earth to entertain his favourite son.”

Akbar was very happy to hear this and wanted to know more about his father. He asked Birbal, “Did he send any message for me?”

Birbal said, “Yes Your Majesty, there is not even a single barber in the heaven. You can easily make this out by looking at my grown beard and shabby hair. So, he has asked to send your own barber to him immediately.”

Akbar understood everything. He handsomely rewarded Birbal and sentenced his barber to life imprisonment.

For more Akbar Birbal stories, go to: Akbar Birbal Stories

For more such interesting stories for kids, go to: Stories for Kids

Akbar Birbal: Back To Square One

An astrologer was flaunting his knowledge about the solar system and the earth’s shape.

At one point Akbar said, “You say that the earth is round in shape, so if one travels in a straight line, then he will come back to the same spot from where he started the journey. Isn’t it?”
“Yes, theoretically, it is correct Alampanah!”said the astrologer.

“Why not in real life?” asked the king.

“Because one will have to cross vast oceans, high mountains and dense forests to keep the path straight,” said the astrologer.

“Well, that can be taken care of! Sail through the oceans, make tunnels in the mountains and use elephants to cross the forests,” suggested Akbar.

“No sir, still it is not possible,” said the astrologer.

“Why?” asked Akbar.

“It will take many years to complete the whole journey,” replied the astrologer.

“How many years, tell me?” asked Akbar.

“I cannot calculate that! May be a hundred years or more,” said the flustered astrologer.

“Don’t worry about that. I will ask my courtiers. They have an answer for everything,” saying this, Akbar looked at his ministers.Various answers came from the audience:

“Impossible to calculate!”

“Around 25 years!”

“Fifty years or less.”

“1000 days!”

Everybody said something or the other but Birbal kept quiet.

“Birbal, I did not expect you to be so silent. Do you have no answer for this question?” the Emperor showed his surprise at Birbal’s silence.

“I was just calculating the time required to go round the earth,” retorted Birbal.

“And did you get the answer?” asked Akbar.

“Yes, I did! It will take just one day,” said Birbal.

“Just one day! Birbal, it is Impossible! I wonder how you even came up with that answer. In one day, we will not be able to cross the territories of our own kingdom,” Said Akbar.
“It is possible, Alampanah! Provided you travel at the speed of the sun,” said Birbal with a smile.

For more such interesting stories for kids, go to: Stories for Kids

Akbar Birbal: Birbal And Akbar’s Ring

It so happened that once, Emperor Akbar misplaced his ring somewhere. When Birbal arrived in the court, Akbar told him, “I have lost my ring. It was very dear to me as my father had given it to me as a gift. Please help me find it!”

Birbal said, “You need not worry, Jahanpanah! I will find your ring right away.”

He further added, “Your Majesty, the ring is here in this court itself. It is with one of our courtiers.  The courtier who has a straw in his beard has your ring.” The courtier who had filched the Emperor’s ring was shocked and immediately moved his hand over his beard.  Birbal was waiting for this reaction from one of the courtiers. He immediately pointed towards that particular courtier and ordered the royal guards to search him. The guards frisked the courtier and found the Emperor’s ring lying in the pocket of his achkan.

Akbar was pleasantly surprised at another wonderful example of Birbal’s wit and asked him “Birbal, tell me how were you able to find the culprit?” Birbal then told the Emperor, “Your Majesty, I just shot an arrow in the dark. As they rightly say that a guilty person is always scared, the real culprit revealed himself by moving his hand over his beard.”

For more Akbar Birbal stories, go to: Akbar Birbal Stories

For more such interesting stories for kids, go to: Stories for Kids

Akbar Birbal: Akbar’s Dream

One night, Emperor Akbar dreamt that he had lost all his teeth, except one. He was greatly disturbed with the strange dream. The next morning he summoned all the astrologers of his kingdom and asked them to interpret his dream.

All the astrologers held a meeting and after a long discussion, the astrologers prophesied that his dream was an indication that all his relatives would die before him.
Akbar was greatly distressed by this interpretation and so he sent away all the astrologers without any reward.

Later that day, the Emperor happened to meet Birbal. He narrated his dream to Birbal and asked him to interpret it. He also told him what the astrologers had told him.

Birbal thought for a while and said, “It means, Alampanah, you will live a longer & more fulfilled life than any of your relatives.”

Akbar cheered up when he heard Birbal’s version and rewarded him handsomely.

Birbal had also conveyed the same thing as the astrologers to the Emperor, but in an intelligent manner.

Read more Akbar Birbal stories here.

For more such interesting stories for kids, click here.

Bamboo Forest, Japan

Where is the bamboo forest located?

The Sagano Bamboo forest is one of the most attractive natural environments in entire Japan. The forest is 16 sq. Km in area and has been a popular destination for tourists’ right from the noble era, when nobles would come and enjoy this serene beauty.

Beauty of Sagano Bamboo Forest

When the wind blows amongst its many bamboo trees, it makes a beautiful, musical sound. This sound has been voted as one of the ‘one hundred must be preserved sounds of Japan’. The bamboo grove has been made accessible for all. There has been made a path that cuts through the grove for making trekking across the forest possible. These tall bamboo tress provide an ideal walking environment and people can come and also stop to look at the temples built within. The bamboo forest paths are often illuminated at night and are frequently used as filming locations for movies and TV serials. There is a railing on the side of the road to enhance the pathway. This railing is made from old, dry and fallen parts of bamboo. Such bamboos are also used to make products like cups, boxes, baskets or mats.

3 Interesting facts about Sagano Bamboo Forest

  1. The forest is planted with a bamboo species called ‘Moso’. These are trees which originated in China and are considered to have unique abilities. It takes only 1 month for a young plant to reach a height of 20 meters. The largest bamboo stalk can grow up to 40 meters in height.
  2. The Japanese believe that the bamboo trees protect them from evil spirits, so they serve as guards for many temples.
  3. The entire forest can be covered in a 20 minute walk. The forest is a cultural treasure and the walk will leave one relaxed and bring one closer to the beauty of nature.

Note: Don’t forget to check out 6 Interesting Facts about Japan.

African Folk Tales: Why Anansi Has Eight Thin Legs

A very long time ago, there lived a spider and his wife in a village. The spider was called Anansi. Though Anansi’s wife was an excellent cook, nevertheless he loved tasting food cooked by others in the village.

One day, while his wife was busy cooking lunch, he went out for a walk. On his way he visited the rabbit’s house. “Oh,the greens in your pot look amazing!” Anansi said staring into the pot in which the rabbit was cooking his food. “Oh, they are almost done; if you wait for a while you can have lunch with me,” the rabbit said. Anansi knew that if he stayed back the rabbit would ask him to help out in the house work. Anansi thought for a while and said, “Actually, I have some work to finish, but I can come back for lunch. I can spin a web and tie one end of it to your pot and the other to one of my legs. As soon as the food is cooked, you can tug on my web and I will come back immediately.” The rabbit liked the idea and agreed to do so.

Anansi started walking again. He could smell the aroma of deliciously cooked beans. “Ah, I can smell beans. They must taste lovely,” Anansi said while stopping at the monkey’s place. The monkey welcomed Anansi and said, “Please come and have some; they will be done in a minute or two.” “Oh thank you, Father Monkey. I will come back soon,” Anansi replied and suggested that he should tie one end of his web to the beans pot and one end around his leg. The monkey agreed to give him a tug. Anansi started walking again.

“Oh,this is the most amazing sweet potato that I have ever smelled! I can also smell honey!” Anansi exclaimed. The hog who was cooking the potatoes offered him some. Anansi suggested the same idea to him and he too agreed to it.

Anansi visited a few more places and, by the time he reached the river, he had one web tied to each of his eight legs.

Anansi was thinking about all the food that he was about to eat when suddenly he felt a tug on one of his legs. “This must be the rabbit,” Anansi said and just when he was about to leave, he felt another tug, and then another one. By now he was being pulled from four different directions. Soon, one by one,h is other four legs also started feeling the pressure of the pulls. The pull continued and he felt the stretch on all his eight legs. The animals continued to pull and Anansi’s legs started stretching, becoming thinner and thinner. Anansi jumped into the river to save himself from the pain. After all the webs were washed out, he slowly climbed out of the river.

“Oh God,this was certainly not a great idea,” Anansi said. Since that day, the spider has had eight thin legs.

Anansi, however, did not manage to get any food that day.

For more interesting Indian Folk Tales for kids, go to: Indian Folk Tales

Read more about 19 Interesting Facts about Spiders.

Akbar Birbal: A little Lesser And A Little More

One day, Birbal’s ten years old daughter accompanied him to the royal court. When Emperor Akbar saw her, he lovingly called her near him and called for gifts and sweets for her.
While conversing with her, the Emperor asked, “Do you know Persian, O little girl?”

“A little lesser and a little more, Sir” The girl replied.
Akbar was puzzled with her reply and asked Birbal what his daughter meant.

Birbal said, “Huzoor, She knows Persian a little more than those who do not know Persian, and knows a little lesser than those who know Persian well.”
Akbar understood that Birbal’s daughter had the same wits as her father.

Click here for more Akbar Birbal Stories.

For other interesting short stories for kids, click here.


What does “Onomatopoeia” mean?

Onomatopoeia is a noun which is generally used for a literary effect. It refers to the formation of a word reflected by a sound made by or associated with its referent. Words such as hiss, boom, buzz, bang, sizzle, cuckoo, meow, quack, woof are examples of onomatopoeia.

To read and download more Wordling HERE.

Seven earth like planets discovered orbiting nearby star!

Astronomers have long been exploring the outer space world in search for other planets orbiting stars and for life on other planets. Recently an international research team discovered a solar system 40 light years away and it has seven Earth like planets orbiting around a small star.

Why is this discovery important?

This discovery has thrilled astronomers and has now raised hopes of having life beyond earth. It is the very first time that so many earth size planets have been found and the discovery also suggests that our Milky Way maybe filled with such worlds that in many aspect resemble our very own planet earth.

What suggests there could be life on these planets?

These seven planets orbit around a dwarf star named Trappist 1, which at 39 light years away makes this system a prime object for search of life beyond earth. This star is just marginally larger than Jupiter and shines with a feeble light which is 2000 times fainter than the sun. This makes the star cold and its small size makes the planets orbiting it temperate which means they could have some liquid or water and maybe life. However, the planets are in tight orbits and at that proximity they show only one side to the star. Some of the planets among the seven are thought to be of the right temperature to host oceans of water and have a favourable atmosphere.

So, let us hope to find some life beyond our planet as well!

Read here Exoplanets: Facts and Information.

Why is w called a double u?

Emma: Hey, there goes Kim..Wohoo (Emma is waving at someone)
Em: You mean, Uuhoo (pronounced as yuuhoo)
Emma: Err..what? I mean wohoo.
Em: That’s what I said..Uuhoo (again pronounced as yuuhoo)
Emma: What is wrong with you?
Em: What is wrong with “u-u”. I mean, the alphabet “W”. If it is double u, why is it made of two v’s?

Why is the letter “w” called “double u” and not “double v”?

The ancient Roman alphabet did not have a letter “w” or the letter “v”. However, the sound was represented by 2 Us – literally a double “u”.
The English language evolved and gave birth to the letter “w” but it never lost its original name..double u!

Em – And Reason, why are u-u here?
Reason: You mean “W”?
Emma – Both of you, please leave.

Discovery of cause of disease

How was the cause of disease discovered?

It was a commonly believed notion that germs generated spontaneously. Nobody knew what exactly caused a disease. It was only in 1860s that a French chemist, Louis Pasteur began experimenting with bacteria. In one of these experiments he proved that germs can be generated in a controlled environment too. He showed that food went off because of contamination by microbes in the air. He went on to argue that these could cause diseases. His discovery of the cause of disease led to development of antiseptics and changed healthcare forever.

How do you kill germs in food and drink?

Louis Pasteur invented a process to kill germs, which went on to be called Pasteurization.
Due to the urban growth caused by industrialization, the period between production and consumption of milk increased widely. This became one of the crucial source of diseases like tuberculosis. It was the process of pasteurization which finally helped milk to be one of the safest foods.

How is milk pasteurized?

When milk is heated to 72 °C (161 °F) for 15 seconds, it causes the germs in the milk to stop functioning without affecting the nutritional value of the milk.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Hello friends! The picturesque castle you see behind me is the Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland, one of the most photographed castles in the country!

History behind the island of Donan

Eilean Donan means ‘the island of Donan’. The small island and castle of Donan is named after a 7th century Irish priest, Donan of Eigg, who was killed on the nearby island of Eigg. Donan, the priest, had travelled to the West coast of Scotland to try and convert the pagan inhabitants into Christianity. Though there is no evidence as to how Donan was killed, he is traditionally said to be buried in Kildonan on Arran. The island was fortified before written records existed. It was Alexander III who gave the castle to the Mackenzies. The struggle for controlling the island and the castle went on between the Mackenzies and the Earl of Ross for decades but in the end the Mackenzies gained control over it all. It was after 200 years that John Macrae-Gilstrap (descendent to the Macraes who acted as constables to the Mackenzie) restored the castle and rebuilt the beautiful bridge that linked the castle to the shore.

Inside Eilean Donan Castle and visitor centre

There is a huge parking area and a modern visitor centre on the shore as this castle is a famous tourist attraction. Inside the rooms of the castle one can find period furniture, Jacobean artefacts, displays of weapons and fine arts. There are informed guides who can give you a thorough tour of the castle.
The castle also has fun filled attractions for children. You can swing a Claymore, spy through the spy holes, lift cannon balls, explore the ancient battlements or have fun with the surrounding wildlife with regular viewings of porpoise, dolphins, otters and numerous species of birds.

Oxygen Cycle Steps

You know that oxygen is a must for life. Oxygen gas makes up about 30% of the earth and about 21% of the air in the earth’s atmosphere. It is also the most common element of the human body. It makes up about 65% of the mass of the human body.

What is the oxygen cycle?

Oxygen is constantly used and created by different processes on planet Earth. All these processes together make up the oxygen cycle. The oxygen cycle is thus a biogeochemical cycle that describes the movement of oxygen within the earth’s three main reservoirs – the lithosphere (land), the hydrosphere (water), and the atmosphere (air), which make up the earth’s biosphere.

We now know that the oxygen cycle is a process by which oxygen is generated and used. What are these processes?

Oxygen is Produced by :

1. Plants – Plants produce oxygen via photosynthesis.
2. Sunlight – Some oxygen is produced when sunlight reacts with water vapour in the atmosphere.

Oxygen is used up in :

  • Respiration – All organisms use oxygen for respiration.
  • Decomposing – When plants and animals die, they decompose. This process uses up oxygen and releases carbon di oxide into the air.
  • Rusting – Also called oxidation, this process causes metals to rust. Also a process which uses up oxygen.
  • Combustion – The process by which fire is generated also requires oxygen, along with heat and fuel. This process also uses up oxygen and releases carbon di oxide into the atmosphere.

How the Oxygen Cycle takes place

It starts, of course, with plants and photosynthesis.

1. Photosynthesis :–

  • During the day, plants take energy from the sun, carbon di oxide from the air, and water from the soil to make their food. Their food is simple – glucose. This process is called photosynthesis. Oxygen is released into the air as a by-product of photosynthesis.
  • During the night, plants take in oxygen and release carbon di oxide, to maintain their metabolism. Which is why it is not a good idea to sleep under trees at night.

2. Respiration :–

  • The oxygen that is released by plants is used by humans, animals, and other organisms for respiration, i.e. breathing. We use oxygen to break down simple sugars and generate energy to sustain ourselves. During respiration, organisms take in oxygen and release carbon di oxide into the air.

3. Repeat :–

  • This carbon di oxide is again, taken up by plants, for photosynthesis.
  • Thus, we see that our life force is generated chiefly by plants. Which is why it is super important to preserve plant life on earth.

Related Article:

Read here Facts about Oxygen, visit :

Epcot Theme Park, Orlando, Florida

Hello friends, today I am at a magical world to have some fun. The place you see behind me is the famous Walt Disney theme park in Florida named- Epcot.

History of Epcot

Epcot is an acronym of Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a utopian city. Originally Epcot was supposed to be a test city model with home to twenty thousand residents. But this vision of Walt Disney never came true and after his death the officials decided to take this park into a different direction. The theme park opened in 1982 and consisted of Future World and World Showcases. Future World was dedicated to new technology that was being developed.  World Showcase was developed to be a separate park that showed the customs and cultures of other countries.  The park was not known as we know it today until 1996, when the park was officially rebranded Epcot. The attractions inside the park keep changing according to changes in technology.

What are the various parts of Epcot?

The Park consists of Future World and World Showcases.

Epcot Future World

Future world is technology based and has innovative aspects. The enormous metal sphere you see behind me is the main attraction here and is called the Spaceship Earth. It is a time machine ride through the history of human beings from cave-dwelling times to modern day. Innovations provide several rooms full of frequently-updated new technology and machinery to play with and learn about.

Epcot World Showcase

The World Showcase pavilions are a series of 11 sections each is designed to represent the customs, décor and cuisine of different countries. There is a Norway pavilion, American Pavilion, Japanese Pavilion and many more selling various cuisines from different regions of the world. There is an American Adventure which is a theatre-like exhibition of the past 200 years of America, narrated by Ben Franklin and Mark Twain.

Epcot center attractions

Epcot is an amalgamation of the festivities of the world’s culture and selection of 3d and laser shows. The attractions range from one of the fastest Disney attractions to gentle boat rides, from a thrilling hang-gliding experience to interactive play areas which are fun and imaginative for kids. The park offers live shows, concerts, character meet and greets; acrobats, fireworks, musicians, mimes, dancers, drummers, and comedians. There are also special events on holidays and festivals.

Here’s more about Disneyland Park Facts and Secrets.

Matamata Town, New Zealand

Matamata: The Real Hobbit Village

Hi children! I am at the beautiful Matamata town in New Zealand today. It is known for its industries, dairy farming heritage, historic firth tower museum and the real life Hobbit movie set!

History of Matamata

Matamata is a small agricultural town located at the base of the Kaimai ranges, in the heart of Waikato region and is a part of the Matamata Piako district. Phiilip Tapsell was the first European to have visited this town in 1830. The town was shut around 1835 when an intertribal warfare broke out. In 1865 Josia Firth leased a large area of the town and constructed a dray road to Cambridge and cleared the Waihou River so that his small boats could pass. His estates later failed and were divided into dairy farm units. It became an independent town district only in 1919. In 1989, Matamata became a part of the Matamata- Piako district.

5 Things you need to know about Matamata

Some of the must visit attractions in this beautiful town are as follows:

  1. The Hobbiton Movie Set- This is the Matamata’s main attraction from the film industry after the Alexander Brother’s farm became the Shire in The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  2. The Alexander’s have made their region into a traditional New Zealand sheep and beef farm. This is the permanent set in the Hobbit movie trilogy.
  3. Firth Tower Museum- This gives an insight into the town’s history and is worth visiting with its beautiful parks and surrounding.
  4. Wairere falls- Set amidst the natural scenery this hidden gem is 153 meter high and is a perfect place for clicking lovely pictures!
  5. Opal hot springs- This is right next to the town’s golf course and one can soak a swim in the naturally hot waters.

The town has a number of places to stay and also offers a variety of food and dining options.

Ever wondered what does “Hobbit” mean?

The Discovery of Oxygen

When did we discover we needed oxygen for respiration?

We can’t live without oxygen…literally. Of course, everybody knows that. However, that wasn’t the case in the mid-1700s. People were unaware of a substance called “oxygen” that supported respiration.

Who discovered oxygen?

“Oxygen” was discovered almost simultaneously in three parts of the world. So, there is a lot of contention regarding who discovered it first. The major credit though goes to Joseph Priestley as he was the first one to publish his findings.

Here is the series of events that let the discovery of “oxygen” as we know it now.

Timeline of discovery of oxygen

In 1772 Carl W. Scheele from Sweden heated several compounds including potassium nitrate, manganese oxide, and mercury oxide, and found they released a gas which enhanced combustion. He called this gas “fire air,” but did not publish his findings.

How was oxygen discovered as an element?

Then, in 1774 Joseph Priestly, an English chemist, independently conducted an experiment using a 12-inch-wide glass “burning lens,” with which he focused sunlight on a lump of reddish mercuric oxide in an inverted glass container. He found that the gas emitted, was “five or six times as good as common air.” He called this gas “dephlogisticated air”. In later tests, it caused a flame to burn intensely and kept a mouse alive about four times as long as a similar quantity of air. He published his findings in the same year.

How did oxygen get its name?

Later, Antoine Lavoisier, a French chemist, also conducted experiments which lead him to the discovery of “oxygen”. In 1775, he was the first to recognize it as an element, and coined its name “oxygen”- which comes from a Greek word that means “acid-former”.

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Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

When was the Notre Dame cathedral built?

The Notre Dame Cathedral was built during two centuries, between 1163 and 1345. It is one of the oldest buildings having Gothic architecture in France. Notre Dame is still a functioning Catholic church and is visited by millions of visitors every year.

The architecture of Notre Dame

This ancient church is almost 400 feet long and 140 feet wide. The famous twin towers in the front have almost 387 steps to the top! Most of the building has been built of stone but Notre Dame is sometimes known as ‘The Forest’ because almost 1300 trees were also used in its construction. The roof is made from 1000 lead tiles. In French, the Notre Dame Cathedral is called Notre-Dame de Paris which means ‘Our lady of Paris’. The interiors of the Cathedral are breathtaking. The stained glass windows are beautiful and almost all of them date back to the 13th century. The two rose windows are among the biggest in Europe. The bronze plate in the portico before the cathedral is the origin of all road distances in France calculated from Paris. The South Tower of Notre Dame has the largest bell known as the Emmanuel Bell and it weighs 13 tons. Notre Dame also has one of the most revered of religious artefacts- the crown of thorns. Many statues can be seen on the outside walls of Notre Dame.

Why is the Cathedral of Notre Dame so famous?

The Notre Dame Cathedral is so famous that it beats the number of visitors visiting the Eiffel tower in Paris. One of the most well read books in the world- Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame was set mostly in the Cathedral. It was written to increase the appreciation for the building.

The unflappable albatross

The wandering albatross can travel 500 to 600 miles in a single day without even flapping its wings. It can maintain speeds higher than 127 km/hour for more than eight hours. This is the skill of dynamic soaring imbibed in the albatross.

What makes albatross fly high without flapping?

Scientists have proved that an elbow lock system allowed the albatross to keep its wings open at no energy. But researchers have been observing albatross for years and have now gained an insight into what makes them go high without flapping.

The soaring secrets of the albatross

The albatross gains height by angling their wings while flying into the wind. Then they turn and sweep along for about 100 meters. This is known as dynamic soaring. First they climb along the wind, then they turn from windward to leeward when they are at their flying peak, then they slightly make a leeward descent and finally a curve from the leeward to windward at an angle which makes them soar without flapping. This dynamic soaring allows for sustained flight. They can actually fly much faster than wind speed.

Why is an idea mostly associated with a light bulb?

Why does a light bulb represent an idea?

  • When active, Our brain produces electrical currents due to nearly 100,000 chemical reactions occurring in it per second.
  • These chemical reactions are carried out in our brain by tiny cells called neurons.
  • Neurons process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals that they pass on to each other.
  • They pass this information at the speed of 420 km/hr.
  • Which is faster than the speed of a race car!
  • After processing this information, when we arrive at an insight, our brain literally lights up!
  • That is why an “idea” is usually associated with a light bulb.
  • The moment when we get an idea, is also referred to as an ‘Aha’, ‘Eureka’ or ‘light bulb’ moment.

More Information –
Click here to know how a light bulb works.


What does “Karma” mean?

“Karma” is a Sanskrit word which means deed, work or action. It mainly means that the actions or intent of an individual will determine his or her future, and is the spiritual principle of cause and effect. If you do good, then you can expect good to happen to you, but if you do bad, you can only expect bad to happen to you. Basically the word “Karma” confirms to the saying, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Cows transfixed by saxophone sound!

Sam Greenfield played his saxophone to attract the attention of cows at the New York State Animal sanctuary.

Do cows like music?

The cows- Jesse and Amos, were grazing and were not in sync with their surroundings. When Sam came there with his saxophone; initially the cows were sceptical of the moves and sounds but eventually walked up to Sam for a close up view of him and his soothing saxophone music. The cows seemed calm and rather in love with the music being played. In fact, one of the cows showed appreciation by licking Sam’s face after he stopped playing the saxophone.

Seems like even cows have developed a love for the musical instrument!

Forbidden City, Beijing

Hello Children, today I am at Beijing and this large arcade of red walls and yellow glazed roof tiles you see behind me is the Forbidden City.

History of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City was built between 1406 and 1420 under the orders of the powerful Yongle Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. It was built to protect the Emperor and his family. It is a micro city in its own. For 500 years this Forbidden City was the political and ritual center of china. It was home to 24 emperors, their families and servants. The city had been home to 24 Chinese Emperors. In 1925 the precinct was transformed into the Palace Museum and the last emperor, Puyi was expelled. It still remains a cultural heritage site and is one of the most famous tourist attractions in China.

Features of the Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is surrounded by a 26 feet high wall and 170 feet wide moat. It is composed of more than 90 palace compounds and 98 buildings all aligned in a straight line from north to south. Each corner of the palace has a tall guard tower where soldiers were kept to keep a watch for enemies. The main gate of the city is the Meridian gate to the south. Each side of the city has one gate. The southern part of the palace is known as the outer court where the emperor used to conduct official ceremonies. Towards the north is the inner court where the emperor and his family lived. The emperor slept in a building called Palace of Heavenly Purity and the empress lived in a building called the Palace of Earthly Tranquillity.

3 Interesting facts about Forbidden City

  1. The Forbidden City is home to curated collection of Chinese historical artefacts. I saw an array of ancient treasures, porcelain and jade, gardens and plazas.
  2. The imperial dishes were created by the chefs at the Forbidden City. You can too enjoy and dine like an imperial ruler. Many restaurants located near the Forbidden City offer you great cuisine.
  3. You can visit the Forbidden City without a Visa and that too for 3 days! Beijing became 72 hours Visa free in 2013.

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What does “Phosphene” mean?

Have you ever closed your eyes and then pressed your eyelids with your fingers? Most of us have done it. What happens when we do that is, we feel a sensation of lights. Each of us might see these lights in different ways. Some might see them as spots while some might see them as lines, floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals or squiggles. Everyone sees them is different colours too! So, phosphene can be called a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light entering the eye.

To read and download more Wordling HERE.

Natural Holi Colors

Make Natural Holi Colours with Einstein Iyengar

The school was abuzz with the coming Holi holidays. The children were extremely excited to celebrate the festival of colors, much to the dismay of the environmental science teacher of Eeshan. During class he said “Holi is a wonderful festival that brings people of different race, color and kind, together. But over the years the use of harmful colors and wastage of water has made Holi a threat to the environment and people.”

“But Sir, are you saying we shouldn’t celebrate the festival at all?, asked Eeshan

“No Martin. But there is an alternative. We can use less of water during celebrations and natural colors. Colors that are made of natural things and do not harm our skin. They can also be taken off easily.” Said the professor.

Martin said “What is Holi without the water balloons and the strong colors Sir? We aren’t old, we are young and energetic!” the class cheered when Martin spoke.

The teacher continued “Do you know traditionally Holi was celebrated with colors that were good for the skin and had medicinal value as well. It celebrates the advent of spring and the trees that blossom and give the plants that helped in making the colors. I agree it is a festival which is meant for fun, but why can’t we have fun with colors that are naturally made? The synthetic colors are not just harmful to our skin, but also have a harmful effect on water resources, soil fertility and millions of animals and microorganisms. Would you want to harm all these things just for a few hours of fun Martin?”

Martin was speechless. Eeshan spoke, “Sir, What if we celebrate Holi in the school premises? We can have an activity of making as many colors naturally as possible and also get to play! I am sure the principal will encourage us to celebrate the festival in a natural way.”

“That’s a great idea Eeshan! Let me talk to the principal.” Said the teacher positively.

When the children found out that the principal had given the permission to celebrate Holi in the school premises, right before the holiday, they were overjoyed. The teacher asked “So how are we going to make the colors children?”

Martin spoke first, “We can use turmeric powder as yellow color! It smells nice and is great for the skin!”

“That’s great Martin!” acknowledged the teacher

Eeshan spoke next, “We can use dry hibiscus flowers and powder them. They will give a lovely red color. They are used in many shampoos as an ingredient for making hair softer. So we can use it to color everyone’s hair as well.”

The children were excited at the prospect of playing Holi as wildly as they did, but with colors that would not have a bad aftermath.

Many colors were made on the day of Holi and displayed on plates on a huge table. The colorful display made school a vibrant place that day with the principal also joining in to play with the students. Mehendi was used to make the color green, the Jacaranda flowers were dried and crushed to give a lovely blue color, the vegetable Beat Root was sliced and grated to give a lovely magenta and all the colors were mixed with water to make them wet. Kattha, used in the Pan was mixed in water to give a brown color and Amla was boiled and dried to give the color black.

The children had more fun playing with their teachers and the principal, more so because they didn’t have to rub generous amounts of oil before playing Holi this year. The oil, their mothers said, would help in removing the hard synthetic colors of Holi, when they took a bath. This Holi, was naturally fun!

More facts about Holi festival

 For more environment related articles and videos, visit: Environment for Kids category.

Jojo’s Unholy Holi

Lighten Up, Its Holi!

At school, Jojo was standing in the cafeteria when Karan stood behind him. While Jojo was busy eating an ice cream, Karan threw a water balloon at the cafeteria head and hid behind the chair. Unaware of the whole scenario, Jojo continued eating his ice cream when the head of the cafeteria stormed towards him.

“Are you trying to act smart?” said the cafeteria head “I will take you to the principal!”“For what? For eating an ice cream?” said Jojo, puzzled by the reaction.
“You threw a water balloon at me!” said the man “No, I did not!” argued Jojo

“I will make sure you get punished Jojo!” said the man adamantly, and left.

Karan came put of his hiding place and started laughing. Its when Jojo realized what had happened and said “So it was you! “

You have troubled me since long Karan. It has to stop now!”“Or what?” said Karan and continued “Look, it’s Holi! Lighten up a little Jojo!”

The last period of the day went on and Jojo was more than happy to get back to home. He was extremely irritated with Karan after what had happened. The bell rang to summon the end of the day and Jojo got up to leave. He could hear the class laughing behind him and looked puzzled.

Nikhil screamed “Jojo! Your trousers are all colored!”Jojo noticed a paper where he had been sitting and traces of ‘gulal’ on the paper. He saw Karan laughing at the back with the other children and stormed towards him.

Karan kept laughing with no remorse and told Jojo again to lighten up as it was Holi. When Jojo picked up the paper in which the color was kept, it read the same lines as Karan had been saying all day.

Jojo was extremely upset with how the day had turned out and hung his head in sorrow. Nikhil tried to cheer his friend up and said “Cheer up Jojo! It is Holi, Karan should lighten up as well!”

Jojo’s eyes lit up as an idea crossed his mind and he said “Nikhil! I know just how we can get back at him!”
The next day, the first period was that of their strict class teacher Mr. Sharma. When he opened the class cupboard to get some chalk, a paper on top of the half open cupboard dropped on his head. To his horror it was filled with ‘gulal’ which spill all over his face. The class started to laugh

Mr. Sharma picked up the paper and looked at the class angrily. “Who has done this? I will punish you all, if you don’t tell me who did this” The class went into absolute silence on realizing what had happened.

Mr. Sharma read what was written on the paper out loud. It read “Lighten up, its Holi!” The children in the class immediately said “That’s what Karan has been saying all this week!”

Before Karan could realize what had happened the whole class was pointing fingers at him and Mr. Sharma knew he had caught the prankster. He took Karan to the principal’s room and he was asked to spend three hours after school in detention till the end of the week.

Jojo and Nikhil walked past the classroom window and saw an angry and upset Karan sitting on the bench. Jojo laughed and said “Oh come on Karan! Lighten up! It is Holi!”

For more comic stories, go to: Comic Stories for Kids.

For more such interesting stories for kids, go to: Stories for Kids

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.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

“At last the mighty task is done. Resplendent in the western sun,” these are words from the poem ‘The Mighty Task is Done’, written about the Golden Gate Bridge by Joseph P. Strauss, the Chief Engineer of the Bridge.

So, as you might have guessed, I am at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California which is an iconic piece of architecture.

History of the Golden Gate Bridge

Did you know it was called “the bridge that couldn’t be built,” before its construction began on January 5, 1933? After four years of relentless struggle against winds, fog, rocks and treacherous tides, today it stands 227 meters in height and 2,737 in length. It opened on May 27, 1937 and instantly become a much-loved symbol of the city.

The bridge was built at a cost of $35 million in principal and $39 million in interest. It was the world’s longest bridge until 1964, when Verrazano Narrows Suspension Bridge in New York City was built 60 feet longer. The Golden Gate is now the world’s ninth longest bridge.

The bridge is painted in the colour ‘International Orange’. However, this was not the first colour preference. Proposed colors for the bridge included carbon gray, aluminum, or black. The U.S. Navy wanted black with yellow stripes for greater visibility; not so attractive right?. Finally inspired by the red primer the steel beams had been coated in at the factories where they were made, the bridge was given an International Orange colour. Thank god for that! It truly complements the bridge’s natural surroundings and helps the structure stand out from the sea and sky.

The bridge has only been closed a few times since it opened. Three times due to due to high winds gusting close to or over 70 miles per hour, then for visits from dignitaries like President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Charles de Gaulle of France. It was also closed on its 50th and 75th Anniversaries.

3 Interesting facts about the Golden Gate Bridge

  1. The Golden Gate Bridge has lost 7,500 tons (in weight) since it opened in 1937.
  2. It is estimated that 5,000 – 10,000 gallons of paint are used to repaint the Golden Gate Bridge each year.
  3. Toll collectors have let various cars pass without paying the toll, but collected some unusual things in its place, like canes, shoes and even false teeth.

It has been featured in many popular movies like Ant-Man (2015), Big Hero 6 (2014), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and Hulk (2003) to name a few.


What does “Cruciverbalist” mean?

Solving crossword puzzles is fun and many people enjoy it. There are some people who don’t just enjoy it but strive to excel at it and with practice become skilled at solving crossword puzzles. There are so many people who take solving crossword puzzles and acing it seriously, that there is a word to describe them! It is “Cruciverbalist”. Cruciverbalist is a Latin word pronounced as Cru-civer-ba-list.

Discovery and Control of fire by early humans

Discovery of fire by early man

Contrary to popular belief fire was not invented but discovered and tamed by man. When lightning struck a forest and created fire, it probably intrigued and amazed the early man. Many scientists believe that the controlled use of fire was most likely first achieved by our ancient human ancestor known as Homo erectus, and not Homo sapiens or Neanderthal as commonly believed. Homo erectus became the first hominin to master flames by accident, possibly in order to cook their food.

How did the control of fire lead to human evolution?

The control and manipulation of fire was a turning point for human evolution. It gave birth to cooked food. Cooking allowed the early man to consume more calories and, as a result, to develop larger brains.

Control of fire also helped one to ward off predators and venture into harsh climates. It also had important social and behavioral implications, like encouraging groups of people to gather together and stay up late.

Rats laugh when tickled!

Do rats laugh? Do rats get tickled?

Rats can laugh when tickled was known by the year 2000, but the new discovery states that they can laugh only when they are in the mood for it.

What happens when rats get tickled?

Scientists have located parts of rat’s brains that respond to tickling. The brain region also plays a role in forming rats’ moods. So a rat will laugh when tickled only if it is already in a good mood. This laughter is caused at high frequencies but is inaudible to humans. When tickled on their back, stomach and tail; rats have high pitched vocalisation laughter. The tickled rats also display a behaviour called ‘joy jumps’ where their front and back legs move in tandem.

So next time you see a rat at home and are in no mood to poison it; you can maybe tickle it and keep them as a pet!

Inside a Cricket Ball

What is a cricket ball made of?

A cricket ball is made up of layers of yarn wounded around a cork core. All this is inside a red or white colour leather shell. Cricket balls are entirely made up of organic material.

What makes the cricket ball swing?

Six rows of stitching and a raised seam gives the cricket balls unique qualities which make them spin, cut and swing.

The cork core gives the ball its shape and density. This core is then wounded with twine layers which gives flexibility to the leather surface. The leather surface provides durability but changes during the course of the game due to usage. The seam is hand stitched on the leather parts from both hemispheres. The seam on the leather surface provides the bowler with some control over the ball, helping with the swing and spin. The final ball is sprayed with nitrocellulose lacquer giving it the required colour of red or white.

Conditions of a ball

The condition of the ball is very important during the game. There are certain ways to clean the ball, polish or dry off the mud from the ball. The condition of the ball deteriorates during the course of the game. Only one ball can be used during the game. If the ball is damaged or lost then it can be replaced by a ball of the same condition.

Related Article


What does “Hobbit” mean?

An imaginary human like creature with hairy legs. Who is probably a resident of the Middle Earth. We’re talking about a hobbit of course. Pronounced [haw-bit], a hobbit is a fictional character created by author J.R.R Tolkien for his book by the same name. Its literal meaning is “hole dweller” Have you read the book?

Why do roses have thorns?

One of the most beautiful flowers in the world is roses. They are a symbol of love and friendship and have an amazing fragrance. Roses are red, pink, white; in fact, there are over 100 species of roses around the world!

The Purpose of Thorns

Roses come with sharp spikes or thorns. Botanists call them ‘prickles’. These are small outgrowths from a plant’s epidermis or the outer layer. Prickles are similar to thorns but unlike thorns, prickles are easier to remove. Scientists believe that roses have thorns to protect them from being eaten by animals who might be attracted to them due to their sweet fragrance.

Story of Roses and Thorns – Native American Tribes

The Native Americans believe that many years ago the rose bush had no thorns. They were just pretty pink roses with leaves and a smooth stem, emanating sweet smelling fragrance. But they made an easy catch for the rabbits and other predators that ate up entire bushes many times. The rose bushes met and decided to go to Nanahboozoo, a man who had magical powers. He was angry as the rose bush planted by him had also been eaten by rabbits. The rose bushes who came to see him, told him their story and Nanahboozoo gave them small thorn like prickles to cover their body so that no predator would eat them.

So roses are able to grow bigger and prettier each year by using their prickles to scare off animals who intend to eat them up.

Learn how to draw a rose in a simple and interactive way.

Anaconda – The World’s Largest Snakes

There are many reptiles on this earth. Of all the reptiles the most commonly found ones, in all shapes and size, are Snakes. Amongst them, there is one snake which is the largest in the world- the Anaconda. The name Anaconda is used to name a group of snakes, but usually it refers to only one species of Anaconda; i.e.; the common Green Anaconda or Eunectes murinus, its scientific name.

Where do Anacondas Live?

They are the largest and heaviest snakes on earth. They are usually found in damn places, commonly seen in the tropical rain forests, lakes and swamps of South America. They are found in large numbers in near the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.

Types of Anacondas

There are 4 types of Anacondas but they are difficult to find because they hide in the water. The Green Anaconda is the largest specie. The Yellow Anaconda is a small specie, found in southern Brazil, Paraguay and northeastern Argentina. Then there is the darkly spotted anaconda which is a very rare species. The Bolivian Anaconda is the most recently found species.

Special Features of Anaconda

  • Family : Anacondas belong to the Boa Constrictor family. Anacondas like to live alone. When in danger they escape beneath water- this is their defense mechanism.
  • Length and weight : Considering both- the length and weight these snakes can reach up to a length of 30 feet. They can weigh up to 227 kilograms, almost the weight of 11 children together.
  • Color and what they eat : Anacondas are usually green in color; they have white marks on their sides and two rows of black spots on their backs. They eat animals like frogs, toads, fish, birds, ducks, wild pigs, small crocodiles and turtles.
  • Face features : Anacondas have their eyes and nostrils on top of their heads. So it helps them to look out for their prey while their entire body is underneath the water. Anacondas give birth to 24-35 young ones at a time.

5 Amazing Anaconda Facts

  1. Hunting for anaconda is both- legal and illegal. They are hunted for their skin which is an illegal pet trade.
  2. Most snakes are killed because people are afraid of them or dislike them.
  3. Anacondas are difficult for scientists to study and find because they are extremely quiet snakes and leave no trails. Also because they spend most of their time under water.
  4. When anacondas get small meals they can eat up to 40 pounds of food every day.
  5. Anaconda spends most of its time underwater than on the ground, so that it is easier for it to move around, as its huge size seems less bulky under water.

Two Headed Snakes

A normal, single-headed snake can give most people the creeps, but add to it another head, and it’s a whole new level of creepiness. It almost sounds made up, doesn’t it? But it’s not. As bizarre as it sounds, two headed snakes do exist. In fact, two headed snakes are much more common than any other two headed creatures.

Why do some Snakes have two heads?

Let’s find out more about this seemingly bizarre phenomenon.
Two headed snakes are a result of what is known as bicephaly, meaning the phenomenon of an organism being born with two heads. This is the same process that causes conjoined twins to be born. The birth of Siamese or conjoined twins occur when the embryo splits while developing and growing into identical twins, but for some reason does not complete the process of splitting before they are born. The point at which the embryo stops separating varies with each birth therefore, snakes can be joined at any part of the body. They are thus, two beings that share organs, and one of them is a parasitic head.

Knowing about the life of a two headed snake has been made possible by studies of captured specimens, although it has been found that just like conjoined humans, the life of most two headed snakes is also quite difficult.

4 Interesting Facts about Two-Headed Snakes

Two headed snakes are basically two snakes with a common body, each unaware of the other’s existence. Thus, you can imagine the difficulties they face –

  1. They fight each other for food.
  2. If one of them eats, both of them feel full, and this causes confusion, for the one that didn’t eat.
  3. They have two brains, each giving them directions to go in. This again, causes confusion, and often results in the dominant one dragging along the other one.
  4. When attacked, their survival instincts are often different. This causes them to lose time before taking action, and in many cases, costs them their safety.
    Thus, survival in the wild is a major issue for two headed snakes. In captivity, however, they can live upto 20 years, with the right head usually being the dominant head and the decision maker. Many zoos and circuses have these on show, and certain museums have preserved specimen on display.

Related Articles –

Boa Constrictor

What’s green and bouncy and can hug you to death?

A Boa constrictor!

The Boa constrictor is a species of large, heavy-bodied snake. Boas are non-poisonous but still deadly. They ambush their prey, which means that they hide and wait for something delicious to go by and then spring a surprise attack on it. They have a flicking tongue, which they use to pick up on scents. As their name suggests, they coil their bodies around the prey and with each breath of the prey they constrict, or squeeze their coils just a little tighter until the animal can no longer breathe. It’s literally a “Hug of death”
The ones they usually “hug” to death are birds, lizards, frogs and small mammals. Larger Boas even make meals of monkeys, pigs or deer.

They live on the ground as well as on trees.

Related Article:

  • Don’t forget to check our Snake Island (Ilha da Queimada Grande) – Brazil

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

Supreme Court of India

I’m in New Delhi, India, and behind me is the building of the Supreme Court, the highest judicial forum of the Republic of India!

When was the Supreme Court of India established?

The Supreme Court of India was established in January 1950, is the final court of appeal for the Republic of India, the highest constitutional court and the highest judicial forum. It primarily takes up appeals and cases against the verdicts of the various state high courts and other courts and tribunals. Its motto is “ Yato dharmas tatojayah”, a Sanskrit phrase which means “whence justice, thence victory”.

History of the Supreme Court of India

The main building of the Supreme Court of India is an impressive structure designed in an Indo – British style by architect Ganesh Bhikaji Deolalikar, who was the first Indian to head the Central Public Works Department. The building design symbolizes the scales of justice with two court halls on each side and the center-beam being the Central Wing of the building comprising the Chief Justice’s court, the largest of the courtrooms.  The building houses a total of 15 court rooms in its various wings. The Right Wing of the structure has the bar – room, the offices of the Attorney General of India and other law officers as well as the vast library of the court. The Left Wing has the offices of the court.

Another unique monument in this building is the bronze sculpture of Mother India with the young Republic of India. The symbolic statue was designed by the renowned artist Chintamoni Kar.

Justice in India

The supreme court of India has played a pivotal role in upholding justice in India, and for its purposes, engages the services of a Chief Justice and 30 judges. These judges are appointed after a careful and meticulous screening process that includes, among other factors, meeting certain eligibility criteria such as –

Qualifications for the judge of the Supreme Court

  1. They must be a citizen of India.
  2. They must be a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years.
  3. An advocate there, for at least ten years.
  4. A distinguished jurist in the opinion of the President.

Only a person who meets the above criteria earns the honor and responsibility of becoming a Supreme Court Judge and serve the country till their tenure ends at the age of 65.

The Supreme Court Museum

I’ve learned a lot about the Indian Judicial system in my visit here, especially from the Supreme Court Museum, a small, but very informative building in the Supreme Court premises. A must visit for anybody who is interested in learning about the history and development of the Indian Judicial system.

Penguin receives Norwegian Knighthood!

Why was a penguin knighted by Norwegian Army?

The knighted Penguin in Edinburgh has already been a corporal, a sergeant, a sergeant major and a colonel in chief. The history of Nils Olav goes back to 1972 when the Norwegian King’s guards visited the Edinburgh zoo. They were looking at the Penguins in the zoo and were so thrilled to see the penguins that the Major at the time decided that he had like to adopt one penguin.

The adopted Penguin was named Nils Olav, after the Norwegian King at the time. Later in 1982 the Kings guards returned to Edinburgh and decided to make the penguin their mascot by giving him the rank of lance corporal. Unfortunately, he died shortly after his promotion to sergeant. But he was lovingly replaced by Nils Olav II, his two-year-old near-double.

It was Nils Olav II who was awarded the knighthood. And a third penguin, Nils Olav III took over between 2008 and 2016 and has been promoted to Brigadier.

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Why do we celebrate Republic Day?

Origin and History of Republic Day of India

India had to fight really hard to drive the British out of the country. We managed to drive them out on 15th August 1947. Even though we became independent, we did not have a constitution of our own.

A constitution has the basic rules and principles for running a nation. So, India had a government at the time of Independence, but it did not have a constitution.

Republic Day was first celebrated when India’s constitution came into existence- on 26th January, 1950. India became a republic on this day. Like in a democracy, in a republic too, the people elect representatives to run the government. However, this government can’t take away our rights, which are protected by the constitution. That’s the difference between a democracy and a republic.

During the period between 1947 and 1950, without the Constitution, India was headed by King George VI. But on the first Republic Day, Dr. Rajendra Prasad became our first President. It was also on this day in 1950, that the Declaration of Independence from the British rule was made.

Did you think that Republic day is celebrated only in India?

Here are some other nations that celebrate it :

  • Pakistan – our neighbor, Pakistan declared itself an Islamic Republic on 23rd March, 1956. They celebrate their Republic Day on this date every year.
  • Nepal – became a republic recently, in 2008.
  • Italy – Ruled by cruel monarchs for 85 years, Italy finally became a republic on June 2, 1946.
  • Turkey – Turkey was ruled by the Ottoman Empire but on October 29, 1923, Turkey became a Republic.
  • China – The People’s Republic of China was formed on 1st October 1949. Since then, China celebrates this day as the National Day of the People’s Republic of China.

Republic Day of India

When did India become a Republic?

Republic Day in India is celebrated on January 26 to commemorate the day on which the Constitution of India came into effect. The Indian Constitution was put into effect in the year 1950 in place of the Government of India Act. Even though India obtained independence from British rule in 1947, it took a special Drafting Committee headed by Babasaheb Ambedkar, 166 sessions over the next 3 years to finalise the document and put it into effect.

The newly established Indian nation chose to adopt the constitution on January 26 because it is a symbol for the Indian Freedom Struggle. In 1930, well before Indian independence the Indian National Congress led by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru declared Purna Swaraj or complete independence. He did this by hoisting the Indian flag on the banks of the Ravi river (now in Pakistan).

Why did they choose 26th January?

The date of 26th January was important to the Indian struggle for independence. In 1930, the Indian National Congress had declared ‘Purna Swaraj’ or complete independence on this day, by hoisting the Indian flag on the banks of the Ravi river.

Republic Day Celebrations in India

In Delhi, the seat of the Indian government, there is a grand parade to mark the importance of Republic Day. Before the parade begins the Prime Minister places a wreath at a memorial called Amar Jawan Jyoti, dedicated to the unknown soldiers that died fighting for India’s freedom. This act is followed by 2 minutes of silence in honour of these unnamed soldiers.

The Prime Minister then takes his place in the president’s box along with other Indian officials and foreign dignitaries to witness the parade. The ceremonies begin with a 21 gun salute once the flag is hoisted accompanied by the Indian National Anthem.

The Indian National Anthem

The Indian National Anthem was written in a highly Sanskritized form of Bengali called Tatsama. It is taken from the Brahmo hymn composed by Guru Rabindranath Tagore and was first sung as in a session by the Indian National Congress in Calcutta in 1911. Jana Gana Mana was only officially adopted as the national anthem years later in 1950.

Click here to listen to it!

After the national anthem is played the President gives awards for bravery and varied acts of valour to men and women in the armed forces. This is finally followed by a parade of regiments from the armed forces and floats representing the various cultures of India. The parade ends with a fly-past by Indian Air Force jets.

Ceremonies are also held in all the state capitals and flag-hoisting ceremonies are organised by all schools that are compulsory for all children to attend.

Beating of the Retreat

The words beating and retreat in the same sentence sounds very un-republic day-like but actually has nothing to do with beating or retreating. The beating of the retreat which takes place on the 29th of January at Raisina Hill and the adjacent Vijay Chork in New Delhi marks the end of the Republic day celebrations. The chief guest to the event is always the President of India who arrives with a cavalry unit. The ceremony and fanfare involves dispalys by the bands of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. There is also a drummer’s solo, followed by a solemn ceremony where the Indian national flag is taken down to the hymn Abide With Me. The procession ends with a bugle call to retreat where all other flags are taken down and the bands march out to the tune of Sare Jahan Se Achcha.

The Indian Flag

Before the British Raj, India was ruled by different princely states which all had their own symbols to represent the kingdom. However after the rebellion of 1857, which resulted in the establishment of direct imperial rule in the colony of India, the first flag reflected the fact that India was very much under British rule. It was a regular Union Jack defaced in the center with the Star of India with the image of the Tudor crown above it.

There were many variations of a flag that represented the Indian people put forth by various factions of the Indian freedom struggle. By the time of the Non-cooperation movement of the early 1920’s a full-fledged campaign had taken shape surrounding the right of Indians to hoist their own flag thereby challenging British rule and the laws that prohibited flying nationalist flags. This was a tricolour with the charkha or spinning wheel at its center.

The rendering of the Indian flag as we see it today was a modified version of the the earlier tricolour. The charkha in the center was replaced with the Chakra to borrow from the idea of law and dharma that it represents on the Lion capital of Ashoka. The chakra has 24 spokes to represent the 24 hours of progress within the day; the saffron colour represents courage and sacrifice; white – truth and purity; green – peace and prosperity.

There are rules that govern how and for what an Indian flag can be used for. Here are some of them:

  • There is currently only one licensed flag production and supply unit in India that follow the strict guidelines of producing an Indian flag. An Indian flag must be made of khadi cloth of silk or cotton and each roll of cloth that eventually turns into a flag is sent to a lab to be tested for quality.
  • The flag must never touch the ground or water, or be used as a drapery in any form.
  • The flag may not be placed intentionally upside down, dipped in anything or hold any objects other than flower petals before unfurling. When the flag is flown horizontally it must also be flipped 90 degrees so that it reads left to right, like a book.
  • The original flag code restricted private citizens to flying the flag only on national holidays such as Republic day and Independence day. In 2001 Naveen Jindal flew an Indian flag outside his office building, which was promptly foniscated and he was warned of prosecution. Mr. Jindal filed suit in the High Court of Delhi seeking to strike down the restriction on the use of the flag by private citizens, arguing that it was his right as a citizen of India to hoist his national colours.
  • No complete representation of the flag can appear below the waist on clothing, or on undergarments.
  • Damaged flags must be disposed of in private by burning or any other method consistent with the dignity of the flag.


Did you know that there are many monuments dedicated to soldiers who died in battle. Can you find such monuments around the world?


Holy Moly,

Where am I?

What’s small, pretty and cold as ice?

A Snowflake!

A flake of snow is essentially a feathery ice crystal. All snowflakes only have six sides.

How do Snowflakes form?

A snowflake begins to form when an extremely cold water droplet freezes onto a pollen or dust particle in the sky. This creates an ice crystal. Ice crystals form in mostly cold places where its snows a lot. Snowflakes are so delicate that when we touch a snow flake with our bare hands it starts to melt right away.

Can you imagine the number of snowflakes that need to stick together to even make a snowball? Before I crash into the snowman, I should get out of here!

Indian Army Day

We are safe in our homes because there are men protecting us, guarding the borders of our nation and keeping the enemies away- yes, they are the Indian Army men.

They are courageous men in olive green who have made the nation proud and filled our heart with pride and gratitude.

When was Indian Army formed?

The Indian Army was formed in 1776 under the British Government. It originated from the armies of the East India Company, which eventually became the British India Army. It was only in 1949 when Lt. General Cariappa (later Field Marshal) took over as the Commander-in- chief from the British Government that the Indian Army was formed and Army Day was celebrated.

On this day parades and military shows take place in the National Capital- New Delhi. This special day also marks a day to salute all valiant, heroic soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our nation and the people of this country.


What does “Iktsuarpok” mean?

You know that feeling when you’re waiting for someone to arrive and you feel so impatient that you keep checking the door to see if they’re here yet? Sometimes it’s a friend, and sometimes it’s something you’ve ordered and you just can’t wait for it to be delivered! Well there’s a useful word for this in the Inuit dictionary. It’s Itskuarpok (pronounced eek-soow-uhr-pohk), and it’s just perfect to describe that heady impatient feeling of waiting for something to arrive!

Why can’t we feel the earth spinning?

Why we don’t feel earth’s rotation?

Every 23 hours and 56 minutes our planet earth completes a full turn around its axis. It spins at a constant rate. The atmosphere, along with the earth and everything else on the planet is moving at the same speed. But still we cannot feel the spinning movement of the earth.

What is Earth’s Axis?

An axis is an invisible straight line that runs through an object from one end to the other. The earth and all other planets and satellites in the universe have an invisible axis. The earth rotates on its axis and completes one day. The next day it starts a whole new spin. The earth travels at a constant speed. It doesn’t slow down or accelerate all of a sudden. If the earth would suddenly increase speed or put on brakes we would definitely feel that movement!

It’s like moving in a car. If you are sitting in a car riding through a highway, you do not feel the movement. Of course you feel it when you see outside your window and see things moving away. But you feel the movement only when the car slows down or puts sudden breaks.

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What does “Luftmensch” mean?

Some people just have their heads in clouds. They seem to be free from the worries of life, often seeking and finding solace in their own little worlds. They wander off into their own dreams, and sometimes end up being completely impractical! There’s a Yiddish word for people such as these, and it’s Luftmensch, pronounced [loohft-men-t-sh]. It literally translates to air person, and refers to people who have a tendency to be dreamers, and who end up in impractical situations due to this habit. Do you know any Luftmensch around you?

Makar Sankranti Celebration in India

Tilgul Ghya Aani God God Bola

“Til-gul ghyaa, aani goad-goad bola” –meaning, take this sweet and say sweet things. I’m back in India at the right time it seems! Sweet tooth that I am, I’m happy to be here in India to celebrate Makar Sankranti. Also called Uttarayan (or the day on which the sun begins its northward journey), it’s a festival celebrated on January 14, every year. All other Indian festivals are celebrated as per the lunar calendar, which make their days of celebration on the solar calendar vary every year. It is the only Indian festival celebrated on a fixed calendric day of the solar calendar.

Makar Sankranti in Maharashtra

Makar Sankranti is known by different names and celebrated with different customs in different parts of the country, and marks the arrival of spring in India. I’m in Maharashtra right now, where the custom is to wear black, and exchange sweets known as ‘til-gul’. Another interesting tradition they have in multiple parts of the country is to fly colourful kites. Quite a group activity it is! Kids and adults alike fly brightly coloured kites. There are even kite flying competitions! So much fun isn’t it?

Asking around, I found out that in India, during this festivals, farmers typically plan their future crop cycles along with celebrating the current harvest. And the best part about this is that the farm animals are also a part of the meeting! That’s kind of sweet isn’t it?

The one thing I love about traveling all over the world is that I always stumble upon such fascinating and fun customs and traditions! And the oh-so-delicious food, that is always a given with the festivities. And trips to India are always accompanied by lip-smacking food!

Related Article:

Read all about Makar Sankranti, the festival of kites, visit:

Makar Sankranti – Festival Facts

Makar Sankranti is when the sun starts its journey north bound; increasing sun light time on Earth. It is the starting of warmer days on Earth. Makar Sankranti or the Festival of Nature falls on the 14th of January.

The Festival of Kites

Colorful and creative kites decorate the sky as they are flown high in the sky by children. The free flowing kites symbolize the freedom from diseases like cold, caused by winter, from the body. After a heavy lunch, which consist of dahi chuda, red pumpkin curry, and a sweet made from jaggery, sesame seeds and rice (showing unity); people join together to fly kites. When they cut someone else’s kite, they exclaim phirko vet phirko.

How is Makar Sankranti celebrated in different states of India?

Men and women are seen offering sweets to the man and his colorfully dressed cow while he sings songs in praise of Lord Vishnu. History says this festival sends a message from the Sun God to all children to reach out and enjoy daylight and goodwill. People in Bengal dip their bodies in the Ganges to purify themselves. In Kerala it is said that if the milk spills over than pan, then it means that nature will offer plenty of goods. This festival also marks the beginning of the harvest season in Punjab.

Playing tekeli bhonga (pot breaking), or stealing firewood for amusement, or drumming the dhol, or dancing the naati dance (Himachal Pradesh folk dance), or making a muggulu (colorful rangoli with colored rice) or just decorating the cattle and parading it around; there are plenty of games to play on this day.

People donate their old clothes. Some people burn their old furniture etc. Young children get gifts from their elders. Hugs are exchanged all around.

Now take a piece of paper. Draw a kite. Paint it, color it, and stick pieces of paper on it with some glitters. Attach a string to it and let it fly on Makar Sankranti this year.

More Festival details

How to Make a Kite

Easy Paper Kite for Kids

What You Need

  • 8.5 inches x 11 inches thick piece of paper
  • A wooden skewer/straight drinking straw
  • Kite string/ light strong string
  • Wide ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Tape

15 Steps to make a Kite

  1. Fold the paper in half
  2. Mark a point on the paper’s top, about an inch from the fold.
  3. Similarly, mark a point on the bottom of the paper, an inch from the open side.
  4. Draw a dotted line connecting these points.
  5. Fold the paper’s top corner along the line that you drew.
  6. Then, turn the paper and fold the other side down, in the same way as the side you just folded.
  7. Again, turn the paper so that it looks like it did in Step 5.
  8. Put pieces of tape on the middle crease.
  9. Put a skewer across the kite, as shown. Tape that too.
  10. Turn the kite. Straighten its ‘spine.’
  11. Mark a spot one third of the way down the spine, half an inch from the edge. Put tape over it, on both sides.
  12. With your scissors, make a hole in this spot.
  13. Tie your kite string through this hole with a strong knot.
  14. Tape an end of the ribbon at the bottom of the back of the kite.
  15. Keep the ribbon tail of the kite between six to ten feet. If it feels the kite can’t hold the ribbon’s weight, cut it shorter.

Have fun flying your kite! A light breeze will be perfect, it might not do well if it’s very windy.

To know how to fly a kite visit

Kite Flying

How to Fly a Kite?

Kite flying is a lot of fun, especially on a windy day. Selecting an open field is the best place to fly a kite.

To fly a kite you need a friend to be with you to help get the kite up in the air. By holding the ball of the string, ask your friend to hold the kite or vice-versa. Unwind anywhere between 20-30 metres of string, depending upon how strong the wind is blowing.

When you think the conditions are ideal, signal to your friend to release the kite and when this is done, pull on the string to launch the kite into the air. Pay close attention to where the wind is blowing.

If you want your kite to go even higher, release some more string. To lower the kite, simply pull back on the string.

More Information :
Here’s a fun craft activity lesson on how to make a kite.

Resolution? What Resolution?!

Keeping a new year resolution is a common western tradition. But it has now caught the attention of everyone worldwide. More of a fashion statement now, here are some interesting facts about new year’s resolution :

Fun Facts about New Year’s Resolutions

  • Almost 4000 years ago it was the Babylonians who promised their Gods that they will pay their debts at the beginning of every year.
  • Then the Romans also began each year by making promises to their Gods. Thus started the resolution parade.
  • Studies show that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions.
  • Almost 30 percent of people never make new years resolutions because they know they won’t be able to keep it.
  • But people who make new year’s resolution are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than the ones who don’t.

Click here and get more New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Kids.

New Year’s Eve in Copacabana

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

Hollaa amigos! Can you guess where I am? I’m at Rio de Janerio to start my new year with a big bang! Music and passion are always in fashion at the Copa..Copa Cabaaannaa..! Have you heard the song? After Carnaval, this is the biggest party of the year at Copacabana in Rio! So exciting!

And it’s also very interesting. On December 31st, in the daytime, flowers and candles are sent out onto the ocean as offerings to honor ‘Iemanja’, the Afro-Brazilian sea goddess of fertility and motherhood. Around 7pm, along the Copacabana beach, New Years’ Eve officially kick-starts, with live shows by artists, bands and DJs alike.

Come midnight, the New Year is welcomed with a 20 minute display of spectacular fireworks. From then on, it’s the start of an all-night party. I’m here with over a million people, and all of us strangers are happily sharing champagne and celebrating the arrival of the New Year together. These brilliant festivities, and food and accommodation are all organized by the major beach hotels at Rio de Janerio.

You may be wondering if there’s a dress code. Well, everyone wears white here. And a smile. They tell me white signifies good luck and romance, and I want both in my life so I’m going to follow suit. Boy am I glad I got here well ahead of time – most roads are blocked past afternoon, even though the authorities have organized transportation very well. The Metro has a special schedule, with pre-booked tickets, and urban bus rides are free!

I am so happy ad grateful to be celebrating at this amazing party!! Happy New Year to you!!

Related Article:

New Year Celebrations Around the World, visit:


What does “Pelinti” mean?

Do you know that moment when you’ve just put something delicious in your mouth and you realize that it’s so hot that you can only taste its temperature? And if you can’t spit it out, what do you do? Just kind of awkwardly move it around in your mouth, leaving your mouth slightly open for the heat to escape. The Ghanians have a word for this, and it’s Pelinti (pronounced Pah-lin-tee), and it literally means “to move hot food in your mouth”. Has this ever happened to you?

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

Why does the New Year Start on January 1st?

The history of New Year’s Day celebration

In the ancient times, people from all over the world had their own calendars. So, different countries celebrated the New Year on different dates.

Where did New Year celebrations start?

  • Celebration of the New Year started in ancient Babylon, (part of Iraq today) some 4000 years ago.
  • The Babylonians did not have a written calendar of their own. Still, they celebrated the New Year on March 23rd.
  • The month of March was considered a good month for New Year celebrations because it was when spring began and new crops were planted.

When did the New Year shift to January 1st?

The Romans celebrated their New Year on March 25 Different emperors kept adding and subtracting days to match the seasons.

In 46 B.C., came Julius Caesar, the Roman General, who synchronised the calendar with the earth’s revolution around the sun, so there were 365 and a quarter days in a year.

He established January 1 as New Year’s Day. To do so, he had to let that year go on for 445 days!

This calendar was named after Julius Caesar, so it was called the Julian calendar.

The Julian calendar had an error of 1 day in 128 years.

By the 15th century, it was a week behind the solar calendar. So, in 1582, Pope Gregory VII, Head of the Catholic Church, shifted the Julian calendar a week ahead and named it after himself.

To avoid future errors, the Gregorian calendar only counts century years as leap years if they are divisible by 400.

The Protestant church opposed the Gregorian calendar at first.

As time passed, countries around the world began using it. Now, the New Year is celebrated on January 1 around the world.

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