Thursday, December 31, 2020

Leading Wheel

We just learned about the Driving Wheel.

Another part of a steam locomotive is the Leading Wheel.

These wheels are in the front of the train, and are used to help hold up the front part of the locomotive.

They are not the driving wheels that are moved around by the steam engine, they just roll along when the driving wheels push the train along, and help hold up the train.

(from: wikipedia - leading wheel)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Valve Spring

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Ojos Azules

We just learned about the type of cat called the Egyptian Mau.

Another type of cat is the Ojos Azules.

This is a type of cat from Mexico, that has big blue eyes.
The name of the cat means "blue eyes".

They can have any color fur, and they usually have white on the ends of their nose, tail and paws.

(from: wikipedia - ojos azules)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Jellyfish Polyps

Tuesday, December 29, 2020


We just learned about the Pathogen.

Another part of how the body fights sickness is an Antigen, also called "Ag".

An antigen is a part of a pathogen disease that the body can use to figure out what kind of disease it is.
It's almost like the disease is wearing a type of sign, mark or color that tells the body what it is.

Once the body knows what kind of disease it is, it can use the right types of white blood cells like T cells or NK cells to go kill the bad disease.

The antigens are made up of things called proteins, peptines or polysaccarides.
Those are just fancy words for chemicals on a disease that look like a sign to our virus fighting immune system.

(from: wikipedia - antigen)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Opthalmic Artery

Monday, December 28, 2020

Czech Republic

We just learned about the country of Cyprus

Let's learn a little about the country of Czech Republic, also called Czechia!

This is a small country in the middle of Europe, that borders Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
It is about 30,000 square miles, and 10 million people live there.

The country has had many names through the years, but one of the most famous was "Bohemia".
One of the leaders long ago was named Wenceslas, and was the person in the famous old song Good King Wenceslas.

(from: wikipedia - czech republic)

The flag of the Czech Republic is a blue triangle on the left, and a white and red stripe.
The blue is for loyalty, the white is for peace and the red is for courage.

(from: wikipedia - flag of the czech republic)

To eat in the Czech Republic you might have svíčková, which is steak with vegetables, spices and boiled in cream.

(from: wikipedia - svíčková)

Visiting the Czech Republic you might go see the famous city of Prague.

(from: wikipedia - prague)

Built in 930 AD, the St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest church in the country.

(from: wikipedia - st. vitus cathedral)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Antarctic Ice Sheet

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Luther Bible

We just learned about the Ninety-Five Theses.

Another part of early Christianity was the Luther Bible.

Just like the Wycliffe's Bible that we learned about being translated into English, Martin Luther worked to make a Bible that was in German for the people of Germany.

Historians think that there were about 200,000 of Luther's Bibles printed, which made a big difference in the way that people could read and study the Bible outside of just going to church.

They didn't have to learn Hebrew, Latin or Greek, and they could have the books at schools and libraries.

(from: wikipedia - luther bible)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Christian Nations in 600 AD

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Cubi VI - David Smith

We just learned about the sculpture of Winged Man by Richard Hunt.

Another famous American sculpture is CUBI VI by David Smith made in 1963.

In the 1960s in America, a lot of artists started making more abstract art.
Artist Roland David Smith was born in Indiana, and went to college for art, worked in a factory for a while, and then met some other famous artists.

In 1965 he started making a set of "Cubi" sculptures made out of stainless steel.
They are mostly just a bunch of shapes, but they also look like people in different positions.

There are 28 different CUBI sculptures, all numbered with roman numerals from Cubi I to Cubi XXVII.

(from: wikipedia - david smith (sculptor))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Doctor John Witherspoon - Couper

Friday, December 25, 2020

Swahili - Red, Orange, Yellow

We just learned about the alphabet in Swahili.

Now let's learn some colors!

red - nyekundu - sounds like n-yeh-koo-n-doo - 文A

orange - machungwa - sounds like mah-ch-oo-n-g-wah - 文A

yellow - manjano - sounds like mah-n-jah-noh - 文A

(from: wikipedia - swahili language)

Russian: красный (krasnyy), оранжевый (oranzhevyy), желтый (zheltyy)

Norwegian: rød, oransje, gul

Greek: κόκκινο, πορτοκαλί, κίτρινο

ASL: red, orange, yellow

Italian: rosso, arancione, giallo

German: rot, orange, gelb

Spanish: rojo, naranja, amarillo

French: rouge, orange, jaune

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Driving Wheel

We just learned about the Leaf Spring.

Another part of a steam locomotive is the Driving Wheel.

When the steam power moves the pistons, it is connected to rods that turn the wheels.
Only some of the wheels are connected to these rods, and they are called the driving wheels.
The other wheels are just holding up the train and they turn just because the driving wheels are pulling the train along.

This is the same for most other things with wheels too, like the pedals on a bicycle usually only turn the back wheel of the bike.

(from: wikipedia - driving wheel)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Gasket

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Egyptian Mau

We just learned about the Asian Semi-longhair.

Another type of cat is the Egyptian Mau.

These cats can be lots of different colors, like grey, black, brown, yellow, or even blue.
They all have green eyes, spots on their fur, and a long black line that goes down their back.
On their head they can either have the M shape like a tabby cat, or a shape that some people think looks like a scarab beetle.

Egyptian Maus are one of the oldest types of cats, and many people think they are where other house cats came from.
They have long back legs, which helps them run fast.
These are the fastest cats in the world, running over 30 miles per hour!

(from: wikipedia - egyptian mau)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Amebocyte

Tuesday, December 22, 2020


We just learned about the Thymus.

All of these parts of the lymphatic system help fight against bad things called Pathogens.

A pathogen is a living thing that can cause you to get sick.
It could be a virus, bacteria or other type of living thing that can get into your body.

The different types of cells in the lymphatic system like T cells or all work together to fight these pathogens, and keep your body healthy.

The science of these living things is called a microbioly, and the science for how these living things can hurt the body is called pathology.
(from: wikipedia - pathogen)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Eye Movement

Monday, December 21, 2020


We just learned about the country of Croatia

Let's learn a little about the country of Cyprus!

This country is an island that is in the Mediterranean sea, off the southern coast of Turkey.

A little over a million people live in Cyprus, and it is only about 3,500 square miles.

The people living on this island are mostly either Greek or Turkish.
In Greek, the name for the island was Kupros, and there was so much copper on the island, that the word "copper" we use comes from the name of the island.

A person living on this island would be called a Cypriot.

(from: wikipedia - cyprus)

~ The flag of Cyprus has the shape of the island in orange, the color of copper that is mined in Cyprus.
It also has olive branches, for the peace they want to have between the Greek and Turkish people.

(from: wikipedia - flag of cyprus)

To eat in Cyprus you might have haloumi, which is a type of cheese made from goat and sheep's milk.

(from: wikipedia - cypriot cuisine)

One of the oldest schools still in use in the world is the Pancyprian Gymnasium made in 1812.

(from: wikipedia - pancyprian gymnasium)

Another famous place in Cyprus is the Church of Christ Antiphonitis, that was built before 1200 AD.

(from: wikipedia - antiphonitis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Mount Erebus

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Ninety-Five Theses

We just learned about the Swiss Guard.

Another part of early Christianity is the Ninety-Five Theses.

In the year 1517, a man named Martin Luther who was a monk and a priest disagreed with some of the things that the Catholic Church was doing.

In those days if someone sinned, they had to ask for forgiveness, but also pay money to the church, and this was called an indulgence.
Luther did not think it was right for people to pay money for sins, so he wrote a paper with his ideas as to why it was wrong, and called it his 95 theses.

He took them to the church and nailed them to the door, which was what people usually did when they wanted to talk about a problem.
His paper caused a lot of people to fight about his ideas, and many people were very upset with him for writing this paper, and demanded that he take it back.
He did not, and that caused a lot of changes in the future of the church.

(from: wikipedia - ninety-five theses)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Saint David

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Winged Man - Richard Hunt

We just learned about the Dogon Mother and Child by Jerry Harris.

Another famous American sculpture is Winged Man - Richard Hunt.

Hunt was born in Chicago, and grew up learning about art.
He started making sculptures in the 1960s when it was a difficult time for African American people to be allowed to make public sculptures.

There are many of his sculptures all over Chicago and the US, like the Winged Man sculpture made in 1987 in Chicago.

(from: wikipedia - richard hunt (sculptor))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Statue of Charles Sumner - Thomas Ball

Friday, December 18, 2020

Swahili Alphabet

We just learned how to Count to ten in Swahili.

The Swahili alphabet looks pretty much like the English one, but there are some letters missing, and some grouped letters that sound different.

Swahili does not use the letters q or x, and the letter c is always grouped with the letter h for a ch sound like in the word chew.

The grouped letters are ch, dh, gh, kh, ng', ny, sh, th and ts.

ch - like "ch" in chew
dh - like "th" in they.
gh - like the French "r" letter, which is made by almost closing up the back of your throat and then making a sound.
kh - like a cat hissing sound with the back of the throat.
ng' - like "ng" in ringer.
ny - like saying nyah nyah.
sh - like "sh" in shed.
th - like "th" in thumb.

(from: wikipedia - swahili language)

The Russian alphabet: Аа, Бб, Вв, Гг, Дд, Ее, Ёё, Жж, Зз, Ии, Йй, Кк, Лл, Мм, Нн, Оо, Пп, Рр, Сс, Тт, Уу, Фф, Хх, Цц, Чч, Шш, Щщ, Ыы, Ээ, Юю, Яя

The Norwegian alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z, Æ, Ø, Å The Greek alphabet: Α, Β, Γ, Δ, Ε, Ζ, Η, Θ, Ι, Κ, Λ, Μ, Ν, Ξ, Ο, Π, Ρ, Σ, Τ, Υ, Φ, Χ, Ψ, Ω

ASL alphabet: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

The Italian alphabet looks the same as the English alphabet.

The German alphabet has the letters ä, ö, ü, ß

The Spanish alphabet:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G H, I, J, K, L, LL, M, N, Ñ O, P, Q, R, RR, S, T, U V, W, X, Y, Z

The French alphabet:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G H, I, J, K, L, M, N O, P, Q, R, S, T, U V, W, X, Y, Z

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Leaf Spring

We just learned about the Blastpipe.

Another part of a steam locomotive is the Leaf Spring.

When a train bounces up and down when it hits a bumpy part of a track, these leaf springs help make it less bouncy.
Just like the shocks in a car that help the car not bounce around so much, these springs make a smoother train ride.

Leaf springs are made up of a bunch of flat metal pieces with different lengths all stacked on top of each other, bent in a shape so that when the train hits a bump it will use the bent shape to help smooth out the bump.
The spring will flatten out to help absorb the bump, and then after the bump it will go back to its bent shape.

(from: wikipedia - leaf spring)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Valve Stem

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Asian Semi-longhair

We just learned about the Cyprus Cat.

Another type of cat is the Asian Semi-longhair.

This cat is also sometimes called by the name of Tiffanie.

It is a gentle cat that has a lot of energy and personality.
These cats love their owners so much that they get jealous if other cats come around, and they will meow a lot if they do not get enough attention from their owner.

(from: wikipedia - asian semi-longhair)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Velarium

Tuesday, December 15, 2020


We just learned about the Phagocytosis.

Another part of the immune system is the Thymus.

We learned before about the type of lymphocyte white blood cells called T cells that go to the thymus to grow.

The thymus is only a few inches long and wide, but it is very important.
When young T cells leave the bone marrow to go to the thymus they are called thymocytes.

The thymocytes get to the thymus and then they are put to the antigen test.
Antigens are things that are part of the human body, but also part of viruses.
We want our T cells to fight against virus antigens, but not human body antigents.
So this thing called the MHC tests to see if the young thymocyte is a virus fighter.

If it is a virus fighter, this is called "positive selection" and it gets to grow up to a T cell and leave the thymus.
If not, this is caled "negative selection" then it has to be destroyed or it could hurt the body.

(from: wikipedia - thymus)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Fovea

Monday, December 14, 2020


We just learned about the country of Bulgaria

Let's learn a little about the country of Croatia!

Croatia is in central eastern Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. It is across the sea from Italy.
There are about 4 million people in Croatia, and it is about 57,000 square miles.

(from: wikipedia - croatia)

The flag of Croatia is red, white, and blue with the coat of arms of Croatia on the middle.
The colors are for the three old kingdoms of Croatia:
- Red and white - Croatia
- Blue and white - Slavonia
- Blue and yellow - Dalmatia

The coat of arms has a red and white checkerboard for the old kingdom of Croatia, and then five small shield shapes for the history of the different people that lived in Croatia: - Croatia - A gold star over a crescent moon on a blue background
- Dubrovnik - Two red stripes on a dark sheild
- Dalmatia - Three yellow crowned leopard heads
- Istria - A golden goat on a blue background
- Slavonia - A gold star over a picture of a black marten with a red and white background

(from: wikipedia - flag of croatia)

To eat in Croatia you might have pašticada, which is like beef stew with bacon, garlic, onions and spices.

(from: wikipedia - pašticada)

Diocletian's palace is an ancient palace built around 500 AD for the Roman emperor Diocletian.

(from: wikipedia - diocletian's palace)

There is an ancient Roman arena that was made around 27 BC, and is the only Roman ampitheater that still has all of its four side towers.

(from: wikipedia - pula arena)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Transantarctic Mountains

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Swiss Guard

We just learned about the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Another part of early Christianity is the Swiss Guard.

In 1505 AD, the Pope asked for the Switzerland to send guards to help protect the Pope and where he lived.
For hundreds of years, the people that guard the Pope have been a group of soldiers from Switzerland, making up the Swiss guard.

Their uniforms are blue, red, orange and yellow, and they usually carry a long staff called a halberd, and also some other weapons.

(from: wikipedia - swiss guard)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Gregorian Chant

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Dogon Mother and Child - Jerry Harris

We just learned about the sculpture Bearing Witness by Martin Puryear.

Another famous American sculpture is Dogon Mother and Child by Jerry Harris.

Jerry Harris was an artist who made sculptures in abstract art, using mostly wood and metal.
He was born in Pennsylvania in 1945, and then later moved to England and Sweden to learn more about art.
When he was 53 years old he moved back to America.

His sculpture is an abstract picture of an African Dogon woman and her child.

(from: wikipedia - jerry harris (artist))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: The Rescue - Horatio Greenough

Friday, December 11, 2020

Swahili - Six, seven, eight, nine, ten

We learned in Swahili that 1-5 is moja, mbili, tatu, nne, tano.
Now let's count up to ten!

6 sita - sounds like see-tah - 文A

7 saba - sounds sah-bah - 文A

8 nane - sounds like nah-nay - 文A

9 tisa - sounds like tee-sah - 文A

10 kumi - sounds like koo-mee - 文A

(from: wikipedia - swahili language)

Do you remember how to say it in other languages?

Russian: шесть (shest'), семь (sem'), восемь (vosem'), девять (devyat'), десять (desyat')

Norwegian: seks, syv, åtte, ni, ti

Greek: έξι, εφτά, οχτώ, εννέα, δέκα

ASL: Six, seven, eight, nine, ten

Italian: sei, setto, otto, nove, dieci

German: seis, sieben, acht, neun, zehn

Spanish: seis, siete, ocho, nueve, diez

French: six, sept, huit, neuf, dix

Thursday, December 10, 2020


We just learned about the Brake Hose.

Another part of a steam locomotive is the Blastpipe.

Remember we learned about the firebox where the coal burns, and the boiler where the water heats up and makes steam.

For the fire to keep burning, it needs fresh air.
The blastpipe is connected to the boiler and the firebox and the chimney.
When the boiler lets off steam, it helps pull air through the firebox, and then all of the smoke and steam goes shooting out the chimney.

(from: wikipedia - blastpipe)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Valve Seat

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Cyprus Cat

We just learned about the Chantilly-Tiffany cat.

Another type of cat is the Cyprus Cat.

In the country of Cyprus there is a grave from almost 10,000 years ago with a person buried next to their pet cat.
It is the oldest grave anyone has found showing that humans kept cats as pets.

Some people say that this type of cat came from that line of original pets.

Other people think they came from in 328 AD when Saint Helen the mother of Emperor Constantine sent hundreds of cats to a monastery in Cyprus to help control the snake problem they were having.

There is even still an old monastery in the Cyprus town of Akrotiri called the Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats.

Wherever they came from, the Cyprus cats have thick hair and have lots of energy and are very good at jumping and running.
They can have different types of white or brown fur, but no spots, and their ears stick out in a V shape instead of straight up.

(from: wikipedia - cyprus cat)

(from: wikipedia - akrotiri (village))

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Jellyfish Statocyst

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


We just learned about the Spleen.

Another part of the lymphatic system is the Phagocytosis.

Some of the white blood cells we learned about get rid of bad things in our body in different ways.
One of the ways they do this is by using phagocytosis, which is wrapping their whole body around the bad bacteria, almost like they are eating it.
Then once the bad thing is surrounded, they break it down into pieces and get rid of it.

(from: wikipedia - phagocytosis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Photoreceptor Cells

Monday, December 7, 2020


We just learned about the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Let's learn a little about the country of Bulgaria.

It is a small country in the eastern part of Europe, bordered by Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and the Black Sea.
There are about 7 million people living there, and it is about 42,000 square miles.

(from: wikipedia - bulgaria)

The flag of Bulgaria is horizontal stripes of white, green, red.
The white is for peace, the green is for farming, and the red is for courage.

(from: wikipedia - flag of bulgaria)

To eat in Bulgaria you might have Tarator, which is a cold yogurt soup with other vegetables mixed in like cucumber or dill.

(from: wikipedia - bulgarian cuisine)

Visiting Bulgaria you might go to Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which is one of the biggest churches in the world, made back in 1912.

(from: wikipedia - alexander nevsky cathedral, sofia)

During some holiday parades in Bulgaria, people dress up in furry costumes with masks and bells on and dance around to scare away evil spirits in the town.

(from: wikipedia - kukeri)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Antarctic Peninsula

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Bonfire of the Vanities

We just learned about Christianity in the New World.

Another part of early Christianity is the Bonfire of the Vanities.

In 1497 one of the church leaders named Friar Girolamo Savonarola said that there were a lot of things out there that might make people sin, and he wanted to get rid of them.

Some of these things were like mirrors, makeup or pretty dresses that might make someone be vain, or think about wanting to be pretty instead of thinking about God.

Other things were like paintings, games, musical instruments or books.

He thought they were bad because if someone played a game, sang a song or read a book and it wasn't about God then it must be bad and should be destroyed.

So he made a big fire and had thousands of these things burned up.
Some things were just owned by people who lived in the town, but other things were famous paintings and sculptures that were destroyed by this fire.

(from: wikipedia - bonfire of the vanities)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Christianity in Britain

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Bearing Witness - Martin Puryear

We just learned about the sculpture of Students Aspire by Elizabeth Catlett.

Another famous American sculpture is Bearing Witness by Martin Puryear made in 1998 in Washington D.C.

This sulpture is 40 feet tall and weighs 20,000 pounds.
It is made out of sheets of bronze metal, wrapped on a steel sculpture underneath to hold it up.

Puryear was famous for sculpting abstract art.
He liked to use big shapes and simple things like metal to make sculptures taht could really stand out.

He grew up in Washington D.C, went to college for art, and then went into the peace Corps and traveled to Sierra Leone and Sweden where he learned some other kinds of art.

(from: wikipedia - martin puryear)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Statue of Freedom by Thomas Crawford

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Brake Hose

We just learned about the locomotive Headlight.

Another part of a steam locomotive is the Brake Hose.

Remember we learned before that when the engineer wants to stop the train he pulls a lever that uses the high pressure air brakes to push the brake shoe and stop the train.

When a train has a lot of passenger or supply cars behind the main engine, they can have brake shoes to help slow them down too.

The high pressure air brakes have tubes that go from car to car to bring the air pressure that closes the brake shoes to slow down the train.

(from: wikipedia - gladhand connector)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Valve Disc

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


We just learned about the Bengal Cat.

Another type of cat is the Chantilly-Tiffany.

This type of cat has a long full coat with soft and silky fur.
They have golden eyes that get brighter as they get older.

These cats usually are in a chocolate brown color, but they can also be blue, light brown or even tabby.

(from: wikipedia - chantilly-tiffany)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Ocelli