They found what?
Joe Schepman and his brother were digging a sewer line on their farm. They turned up heavy, stony, old bones. These were too big to belong to a cow. So they took photos and sent them to Ron Richards at the Indiana State Museum. He said the bones are from a mastodon! Those animals looked like an elephant and lived in North America long ago. Mastodons ate leaves and twigs. God says in Genesis 1:30, “And to every beast of the Earth, I have given every green plant for food.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• A five-pound tooth the size of a man’s fist rolled down a hill on a farm in Claverack, New York, 314 years ago. The farmer traded it with a man who gave it to the governor of New York. The governor called it “Tooth of a Giant” and sent it off to London, England.
• People there did not know what animal it came from. They called it “incognitum,” meaning “unknown.” Others called it “mammoth,” thinking it was the same as larger woolly mammoths. But the name “mastodon” came about because of the animal’s teeth.
• Mastodons have deep grooves in their teeth. These helped to mash the leaves and twigs that they ate. Woolly mammoth teeth were like bony cheese graters. They ground up the tough grasses those animals ate.
• Mastodons had long, straight tusks and low shoulders. Mammoth tusks are curved and their shoulders are high. Mastodons lived by themselves or with only a few others. So people find bones of only one mastodon at a time. Woolly mammoths tended to herd together. Heaps of mammoth bones are found together too.
• Thomas Jefferson stored collections of mastodon and other bones in the White House when he was president. He wanted people in Europe to know that the creatures that lived in North America were every bit as big as the animals Europeans knew about—like hippos, rhinoceroses, and elephants.
No penguins waddled here.
Halley Bay, Antarctica, used to have up to fifty thousand Emperor penguins each year. It has been a safe place for the birds to lay eggs and hatch chicks. Scientists wonder what has happened to the penguins. Some moved to a nearby place. But the numbers are still low. Scientists want to know why. People cannot see where all the penguins have gone. But God sees. Read Matthew 10:29-31.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Antarctica is very cold and windy. Summer in Antarctica is from November to March. It is almost always light during those months. But it is almost always dark during winter. See if you can find out why.
• These amazing birds that do not fly were created perfectly to live in this cold place. They have four layers of scale-like feathers to keep body heat in. They are great swimmers. And they can dive deeper than any other bird.
• They are about as tall as you are. But they weigh two times more. They need lots of fat to keep warm!
• The penguins make a 50-mile trip from the sea to their breeding grounds each year. There they mate and the females lay one egg each. Mama then gives the egg to Papa and heads out to sea. She will be gone until the chick hatches.
• Papa penguin balances the egg on his feet and covers it with a layer of feathered skin. It is called a “brood pouch.” Mama returns and takes over so that Papa can go out to sea and eat again! She cares for the chick until it is ready to swim and fish on its own.
Everyone needs a mailbox.
The Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia is a post office. It gives mail service to homeless people. Guests use the ministry’s address as their own. They get necessary letters in the mail. One guest says, “Mail is so important.” Having an address helps people get jobs. Everyone needs a way to get mail! Matthew 6:8 says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Some people have a mailbox at their house. Other people have a mailbox at the post office. There are post offices in countries around the world. The largest post office in the United States is the James Farley Post Office in New York City. Another huge post office is the General Post Office of Mumbai, India.
• The Broad Street Ministry has served as a post office for nine years. More than 3,200 people get mail there. The ministry delivered 154,000 pieces of mail last year. People also get meals, medical care, and other help at the Broad Street Ministry.
• The director of the Broad Street Ministry is Mike Dahl. He knows mail is important. He has 3,000 volunteers help sort mail every year. They make sure that the right envelopes get to the right people. What is the best thing you have ever received in the mail?
• People cannot send mail from the Broad Street Ministry post office. No guests can buy stamps or send a package. They only may receive mail. The mail is handed out weekdays between 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. What time is your mail delivered?
• Did you know there is a postal museum? You can learn the history of mail delivery here. It also has lots of cool stamps! The museum shows how letters travel around the world. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum is in Washington, D.C. It is free to visit!
Would you like to camp in this?
Mr. and Mrs. Steinman had a big idea. Covered wagon camping! They built a fancy wagon. It is comfortable. It has space to sleep and eat. It even has electricity! The wagon is like a motel on wheels. The Steinmans plan to build more wagons. Would you camp in a covered wagon? What a fun way to spend time in God’s creation. The Old Testament is filled with stories about camping. Moses camped. David camped. The Israelites camped. Who else camped in the Bible? Read Joshua 1:10-11.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Covered wagons were invented two hundred years ago. Pioneers traveled to explore our country. They filled covered wagons with their belongings. Oxen pulled the wagons across the United States.
• Original covered wagons had a front seat, but no back seats. They were not comfy! They bounced and jiggled as they rolled. Riders were squashed in the back. Canvas was stretched over the top of the wagon. It kept things inside safe from bad weather.
• Covered wagons looked like ships sailing across the sea. They weren’t boats! But the wagons were designed to float a little. Pioneers crossed many rivers with their wagons. The wagon’s wheels were five or six feet high. They kept it from getting stuck in mud.
• Have you heard the word “glamping?” It is a new word that means “glamorous (fancy) camping.” People like spending time outdoors. But some people do not like getting dirty. Glamping is an easy way to camp. This kind of camping has comfy beds and electricity. Which would you choose? Camping or glamping?
• Mr. and Mrs. Steinman have a new idea for an old object. People can rent a covered wagon for glamping. They can feel like they’re sleeping in a hotel room. The pioneers camped in covered wagons. Now you can too!
What birds are your favorites?
Justin Schuetz and Alison Johnston studied ten years of Google searches for kinds of birds. Americans like whooping cranes, common ravens, and peregrine falcons—even if we have never seen one. “Stranger” birds were the ones that were hardly ever looked up on the internet. The two scientists hope this study will help us pay more attention to the birds where we live. Deuteronomy 14:16 mentions the “little owl and the short-eared owl, the barn owl, and the tawny owl.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• “People seem to have an [unusual] fascination with owls,” says Dr. Schuetz. “Celebrity” birds are those that got attention even from people who live in places where the birds do not. Have you ever seen a barn owl or a whooping crane?
• You will recognize a barn owl by its white face. But it only comes out at night. And it has a raspy call, unlike the hoo-hoots of other owls.
• You probably weigh more than a whooping crane. But you may not be as tall. It stands five feet high! One U.S. flock of these birds migrates from Florida to Wisconsin and back. The other flies from Texas to Canada and back again each year.
• “Cheery up, cheerio,” chirps the American robin. Do you ever notice robins where you live? Sit quietly in your backyard. Listen for bird songs. Then look in the direction that sound comes from. Which birds are “neighbors” to you?
• Perhaps birds that are just “neighbors” or “strangers” need more help to stay alive than those more popular with Americans. The scientists want us to be proud of the birds in our own backyards.
One, two, three, LIFT!
“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might,” says Ephesians 6:10. Rocks are often hidden in the farmland of northern Spain. Basque [bask] farmers learn how to lift and move those rocks. They become strong. A contest called “Harri-jasotze” [ahree-hat-SO-zay] is held in towns. Local men, and some women, come to test their strength. One man set a record 18 years ago. He lifted one stone that weighed 725 pounds!
DID YOU KNOW?
• Basques live in parts of Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains near the Bay of Biscay. They speak their own language, called Euskara. It is not related to any other language known in the world.
• Each Basque family has always had a fixed home place. A family is known by the location of the house where its ancestors lived. Common Basque last names can mean things like “top of the hill” or “by the river.”
• Basque blacksmiths long ago had to carry their anvils with them. Now men and women lift a 22 to 40-pound anvil up to touch a piece of metal someone else holds above his or her head and then brings the anvil down to touch the ground.
• The Basque version of Tug-of-War has two teams of eight pulling against one another. Each team must have a certain combined weight as they pull against each other two times.
• Basques have learned to invent games based on what they do in everyday life. Rocks for lifting, wood for chopping, milk pails for carrying, all are used in games. Look around. What things do you see in your house or yard that you could use to play a game?
These kittens have a brave mother.
A wildfire burned the bobcat’s land. The fire did not hurt Mama. Wildlife officials found her and her kittens. She has one boy and three girls. The bobcat family is safe. “We’re happy to see her thriving,” says an official. A bobcat is in the cat family. So is a lion. Do you know a Bible story about a den of lions? Read Daniel 6:16-23.
DID YOU KNOW?
• A bobcat is named for its short tail. Bobcat kittens are born with lots of fur. They are also born with spots. Bobcats have whiskers, pointy ears, and yellow eyes with black pupils. Their eyes help them see in the dark.
• People don’t usually see bobcats. Why? They are nocturnal, which means they are awake at night. They also like to hide. They are excellent climbers—even in the dark!
• Bobcats can jump almost as high as a traffic light. They run very fast. They can go about 34 miles per hour. That’s as fast as a car on a city street!
• A family of kittens is called a litter. Bobcats can have between one and six kittens in a litter. Babies usually are born between April and May. Bobcat kittens stay inside the den for three months.
• Older kittens explore nature with their mother. They follow her around as she looks for food. The kittens need their mother to keep them safe and teach them how to hunt. They live with her for almost one year. Bobcats often live to be 12 or 13 years old.
It caught fire!
The Cathedral of Notre Dame was built on a small island in the Seine River in Paris. Its architecture is beautiful. Millions of people visit it every year. Copper statues of the twelve apostles had been taken down for cleaning. Workers were repairing parts of the church. It caught fire a week before Easter. People still don’t know what caused the fire. But God does. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” He keeps watch over everything.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Notre Dame means “Our Lady.” It is called a cathedral because it is the church where the Archbishop of Paris serves. The seventh King Louis of France (there were 18 of them!) was reigning when building began. It took 182 years for the cathedral to be finished.
• The building nearly was torn down in the early 1800s. But a man named Victor Hugo wrote a book called The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It made the cathedral more famous. Restoration was begun.
• The spire was rebuilt. The outside sculptures were restored. The Great Organ was replaced. And three stained glass “Rose” windows were repaired.
• People and companies all over the world have already sent money to France for rebuilding Notre Dame. Full restoration could take ten to fifteen years.
Who won the race?
A horse named Maximum Security won the Kentucky Derby. But he blocked the paths of other horses in the race. That isn’t fair! The race officials disqualified him. That means he didn’t win the race. The second place horse became the first place winner! Winning a race is hard work. It takes self-control. Racers must obey the rules. Galatians 5:7 says, “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?”
DID YOU KNOW?
• The Kentucky Derby is held in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May. Horses that run in the Kentucky Derby must be three years old. Twenty of the world’s fastest horses raced one-and-one-fourth miles on a muddy track on May 4.
• A jockey is someone who rides a horse in a race. “Riders up,” announcers say to the jockeys. This signals them to get on their horses. The jockey guides his horse around the racetrack. It is the jockey’s job to keep the horse in its lane.
• The Kentucky Derby is called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” People love it! It is like a big party. Many people dress up. Lots of women wear big, fancy hats.
• “Run for the Roses” is a nickname for the Kentucky Derby. A blanket of roses is put on the winner. The winner also gets a large sum of prize money called the “purse.” The purse is divided among the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place winners. The purse was two million dollars this year.
• The Kentucky Derby has been run every year for 144 years. This year’s race had a sad ending. The winner did not obey the rules. Maximum Security cut off other horses. His jockey let him run wildly. This was not safe or fair. Maximum Security was not given any prize.
People want to see this king’s treasures.
Treasures filled King Tut’s tomb. Go to the museum to see the precious things. See Egyptian jewelry. Look at King Tut’s furniture. Stare at his gold face mask. “Please see them, visit them, before they return to Egypt forever,” says an Egyptian leader. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:21 to store treasures in heaven, not on Earth. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• A king in Egypt was called Pharaoh. King Tut became a pharaoh when he was nine years old! His full name was King Tutankhamen. He died when he was 18 or 19 years old.
• Pharaohs were buried in a tomb inside a pyramid. King Tut’s was large. It was sealed shut. No one opened it for 3,245 years. Howard Carter discovered it one hundred years ago.
• A pharaoh was buried with his riches. King Tut’s tomb held more than 5,000 things! There were weapons, tools, and jewelry. There were walking sticks, clothes, and chariots!
• Egyptian leaders want people to see King Tut’s treasures. Egypt is sending 150 of the objects around the world. People in the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and South Korea can see the old items before they are returned to Egypt.
• Can you think of any pharaohs in the Bible? One pharaoh made Joseph a leader in Egypt. Another pharaoh’s daughter adopted baby Moses. God rescued his people from a pharaoh.
What can tiny “water bears” teach us?
Colossians 1:16 reminds us that, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible.” Would you have created a one-eyed, eight-footed, alien-like creature almost impossible to kill? Aren’t you glad that God did? Biologist Thomas Boothby wants to make blood last longer than six weeks. Could soldiers take their own dried blood with them into battle? Could the same process help vaccines last longer too?
DID YOU KNOW?
• The word “tardigrade” means “slow stepper.” These creatures are also called “pipsqueaks” and “moss piglets.” German pastor Johann August Ephraim Goeze discovered tardigrades. He might have called them “slow steppers” because six feet face forward and two face backward!
• More than 1,000 kinds of tardigrades have been discovered. These creatures can live in saltwater or fresh water. They can live in hot springs and under layers of solid ice. You can find them on stone walls and on roofs.
• One scientist found a new species of water bear in the parking lot of his apartment building. Its round eggs have tiny bowl-shaped knobs that are topped with spaghetti-like threads. He thinks these help the eggs attach to the surface where they are laid.
• Tardigrades can be found on moss. It is a group of fuzzy plants called “Bryophyta.” There are thousands of kinds of mosses in the world. They usually grow in shady, damp places. And that is where you should look if you want to find some tardigrades.
• Find a small patch of moss. Wet it with tap water and wait 20 minutes. Then squeeze the water out onto a flat glass dish. Let the mud settle. Look at the moss through a hand magnifier or a microscope.
Rodeos aren’t just for grownups!
Kids from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Colorado want to be in the Annual AJRA National Finals Rodeo held in Sweetwater, Texas, in July. They get points for how well they do in rodeos like this one. Families travel to rodeos on the weekends. Kids as young as five and up to the age of 15 can take part in these rodeos. They help keep customs of the West alive. Rodeo horses must run fast, like the war horses in Joel 2:4.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Rodeos have many fun events for kids and their horses. Children your age may ride sheep or calves, run their horses around poles, and tie goats, among other things.
• In “Mutton Bustin’,” a sheep is loaded into a chute. An eager cowboy climbs onto the sheep’s back and wraps his hands around a clump of wool. The chute is opened, the sheep runs full-tilt across the arena, and the child hangs on for dear life. The rider that stays on the longest is the winner.
• Peewee pole bending requires each horse and rider to weave around a set of six poles in the shortest time possible. A goat or calf scramble requires a contestant to run to a goat or calf that is tied to a stake in the middle of the arena. She grabs a ribbon from the animal’s tail and runs back across the finish line.
• Some youth rodeos also let kids try to dress a goat! They are given a shirt and a pair of shorts. The kids go out as a team. They catch the goat, dress it, and get it back across the finish line. But the winning goat must still be wearing the clothes!
• Older kids take part in more riding contests, like racing around barrels. All kids may wear cowboy hats in some events. But they must wear a helmet for any kind of riding. Do you take part in rodeos? Would you like to?